We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Another great Minnesota state park and campground”

Jay Cooke State Park
Ranked #2 of 6 things to do in Carlton
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Another great Minnesota state park and campground”
Reviewed June 28, 2014

This was the final stop on the way back home for our North Shore vacation. This campsite is about 20-25 minutes south on the interstate from Duluth. Though recently ravaged by floods in 2012, it's a beautiful area. The iconic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River is now repaired, so the trails on the opposite side of the river are now back in play. The geology here is really something else... lots of rock formations you won't see at other sites.

Another neat spot is the Thomson Pioneer Cemetery. If you don't want to hike all the way there you can park just off the highway at it's base and walk up the staircase. There are a decent amount of gravesites, and a lot of the headstones have decayed, broken down or been destroyed. There are a few still standing, and the dates of death range from the 1850's to late 1800's. The ground is also sunken in many spots, which we assumed to be the actual burial sites. An interesting trip through history here.

The campsites were great. Each one was nestled in a bank of trees, and ours was located right near a large rock formation. Really cool to be nestled next to natural earth crust formations. The restrooms and showers (4 in both the men's and women's) are modern and well kept.

Would definitely visit again. Would have loved to have done more hiking but after doing so much in the first days of our trip at other state parks, we were a little worn down. Overall, another great Minnesota state park.

Visited June 2014
4 Thank Nic H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

135 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Prior Lake, Minnesota
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Visit when the water is high”
Reviewed May 31, 2014

Snow melt and spring rains turn the St. Louis River into an impressive torrent that's well worth the price of the daily five dollar park admission fee per car, for those who don't already have a Minnesota State Park permit. Visitors will want to spend some time seeing the small but informative interpretive center in the picnic shelter building, and allow a little time for hiking.

Visited May 2014
Thank Dennis P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
77 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Fabulous hike”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

We love Jay Cooke - and the trails are fantastic. The wild river, heavy woods, and well marked trails are diverse and beautiful. Whether you are going for a short walk (across the suspension bridge!) or a long hike - nothing here disappoints.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank amigolucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
342 reviews
159 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 255 helpful votes
“I Love this Park!”
Reviewed January 29, 2014

I came here once in October for my first time here and hiked the Eastern part of the park, that was okay. On November first 2013 the famous swinging bridge finally reopened. I came for all of the festivities that day. The hiking here is actually quite epic. The way the geology of the area is layed out is unique and unlike anything I have ever seen anywhere. The river underneath the bridge is flowing through some amazing layers of strata that is jutting out in all directions. It is quite amazing and beautiful. I have heard the camp sights are all pretty unique with large pieces of earth's crust popping out all over the place. I spent about 2 hours just exploring the rocks south of the swinging bridge. I can't wait to return for some more great hiking and amazing pictures.

Visited November 2013
Thank Justin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cloquet, Minnesota
Level 4 Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Beautiful park & great camping year-round!”
Reviewed January 22, 2014

We love love love this park any time of year! Hiking, backpacking, snow shoeing, xcountry skiing, family camping - it's a great place for it all, especially now that the swinging bridge is open again. Camp cabins are great summer or winter - be sure to make reservations for cabins though as they can be hard to get, they book so quickly (wish they had a couple more!) We have spent many family camping trips here and have made so many memories. I recommend Oldenburg Point area and Ogantz trail- beautiful views, and a quieter peaceful hike, we've seen many deer hiking there too. You really can't go wrong choosing a trail to hike in Jay Cooke though, they're all pretty great!

Visited May 2013
2 Thank kyj147
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Jay Cooke State Park also viewed


Been to Jay Cooke State Park? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing