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Camden State Park

By Jim Umhoefer
The narrow, steep Redwood River Valley is blanketed with dense woods, blessed with free-flowing spring water and provided refuge for Native Americans, settlers and travelers. The powerful prairie winds still blast across the open land and barrel up the river valley and in present-day Camden State Park, visitors come to explore and learn about the history of this place.

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View of the Redwood River Valley at Camden State Park

View of the Redwood River Valley

Park Office at Camden State Park

Park Office

The Camden Regional Trail connects the park to Marshall

The Camden Regional Trail connects the park to Marshall

 
 
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Trails
People visit Camden State Park to go hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Hikers like to explore about 16 miles of trails ranging from relatively flat walks in the restored open prairie to more challenging and rugged paths in the river valley. The park has about 5 miles of trails available for mountain biking and 10 miles of horse trails and most trails are shared use with each group. There’s also 1.7 miles of self-guided trails at Camden, including a prairie interpretive trail. A paved one-mile trail connects to the 9-mile paved Camden Regional Trail into nearby Marshall.

The edge of the woods marks the beginning of the valley at Camden State Park

The edge of the woods marks the beginning of the valley

Camping
Camden’s upper and lower campgrounds are located at opposite ends of the park and offer a total of 80 sites. The upper campground, perched on top of the valley in the prairie is fairly open and the lower campground is near the Redwood River and popular swimming beach in denser woods. The park has a group camp with room for 50 and a horse camp with 12 sites.

Campsite at the upper campground at Camden State Park

Campsite at the upper campground

History
The park has three historic sites: The first site at Camden is the Sioux Lookout, where Native Americans had a commanding view of the river valley. The second one is the site of an American Fur Company trading post. Fur Trader Joseph LaFramboise, was the first white settler in this area in the 1830s. In 1874 the village of Camden was established and turned into a bustling town with shops and a sawmill. Camden faded away in the 1930s and today the third historic site at Camden State Park marks the location of the Jones Mill.

The Jones Mill site at Camden State Park

The Jones Mill site

More photos

Jones Mill Trail in the lush river valley at Camden State Park

Jones Mill Trail in the lush river valley

A short interpretive trail in restored prairie at Camden State Park

A short interpretive trail in restored prairie

Purple Coneflower on the prairie walk at Camden State Park

Purple Coneflower on the prairie walk

Playing in the Redwood River at Camden State Park

Playing in the Redwood River

The swimming beach and changing house at Camden State Park

The swimming beach and changing house

Hiking through the prairie in the spring at Camden State Park

Hiking through the prairie in the spring

Spring landscape on top of the river valley at Camden State Park

Spring landscape on top of the river valley

Winter
The park is open to hiking and snowshoeing and skiing, but no groomed trails are available.

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