Lake Maria State Park is located in a maple and oak forest 40 west of Minneapolis. The park features hiking and horse trails in summer, and snow shoeing and groomed cross-country ski trails in the winter. The park has 3 camper cabins available year around. There are also 17 backpacker campsites scattered throughout the park. The camper cabins are very popular year around. We made reservations for our March stay in September. At that time most winter weekends were already booked.
After checking in at the park office and picking up the cabin key, we parked and hiked approximately 1 mile to the cabin. Because we arrived in late afternoon we didn’t have much time to hike and explore the park.
After arriving at the cabin and unpacking sleeping bags, food, and kitchen items, we built a fire in the wood burning stove to heat the cabin. Starting the fire was easy, and within an hour the cabin was warming up nicely. Outside temperatures hovered around 30.
The cabins do not have either plumbing or water, so we brought a 5-liter bladder of drinking water. A surprisingly clean, but cold, outhouse was located within feet from the cabin.
We had brought a propane stove for cooking, but realized that we didn’t need it as we were able to cook on the wood burning stove. We made a delicious chicken & vegetable stir-fry with rice.
After dinner and clean-up we played cards and made popcorn on the stove. We enjoyed reading entries in the cabin log book, learning about trolls peeking in the windows at night and dragons lurking in the nearby pond…
The cabin had 2 bunk beds; large bottom beds, twin size top. Sleeping capacity is listed as 6 people, but 4 would be more realistic and comfortable.
By the time we went to bed, the cabin was nearly too hot, and we adjusted the stove air intake for slower burn. During night we added wood twice to keep the fire going.
By morning the fire was still glowing, and our shoes had dried nicely next to the hot stove. We had Cliff Bars for breakfast, but the stove would have been hot enough to cook breakfast.
After cleaning the cabin according to instructions posted by the park office, we hiked back to our vehicle and returned the cabin key to the park office.
We are going back again in October, looking forward to more hiking and another overnight in the cabin!
Key items to bring:
- Sleeping bag + pillow (down jacket in pillow case)
- Cooking set
- Board games, cards, books