Enjoy camping at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park in the new Shipwreck Creek Campground. It is one of Minnesota’s newest state park campgrounds.
When planning our Lake Superior summer camping trip, I made reservations for Gooseberry Falls State Park and noted to check out Split Rock Lighthouse State Park just to the north. In addition to the lighthouse, we wanted to check out the new Split Rock Wilds Mountain Bike Trails.
In the meantime, I stumbled upon an announcement that a modern campground would soon be opening next to the mountain bike trails at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. I stalked the Minnesota DNR reservation site and was able to book a campsite as soon as the reservations began. I then canceled our nights at Gooseberry Falls.
Shipwreck Creek Campground Review
The Shipwreck Creek Campground opened on June 1, 2022. This modern campground is located up the hill from the Split Rock Lighthouse on the other side of Highway 61. We stayed at this beautiful new campground from July 25-27.
The campground has 46 campsites. Most of the sites can handle large RVs. 30 and 50-amp electricity and a picnic table and fire ring are on each site. There is a grassy area for tents and screen rooms. There are five accessible sites available.
The driveways are gravel, but not entirely level. We were in site 304, one of the longest sites in the park, and we had to use leveling blocks. Our small motorhome was tucked so far from the road that we felt like we were by ourselves.
The campground is laid out nicely. Each site is separated by vegetation. The driveways are angled so you do not look right at your neighbors. Each site has quite a bit of sun as the trees are cut back around each site.
The campground is built up around a large hill, so expect some steep walks or bike rides.
Well-planned drainage throughout the campground keeps it from flooding. It rained pretty hard when we were there, and we saw no standing water in the spaces where people were set up. There was some water running down around the perimeters of some campsites.
Bathroom Facilities at the New Campground
The shower building is located at the front of the campground. It includes a bathroom with toilets and sinks for men and women, two individual accessible bathrooms with showers, and four individual shower rooms, two of which are accessible.
The shower water pressure was excellent. It goes on and off by pushing a button. The water lasts a decent amount of time for each push. There are several wall hooks and a bench in each shower room.
There is a dishwashing station with two sinks on the backside of the shower house.
Primitive toilets are located throughout the campground. They are cleaned frequently.
Shipwreck Creek Campground FAQ
Reservations are STRONGLY encouraged at this popular campground, particularly on weekends. Sites can be reserved 120 days in advance.
No, it is open May through October.
While designed for recreation vehicles, it is OK to camp in a tent at Shipwreck Creek.
There is no dump station or RV water filling station in the park. Numerous water spigots are positioned throughout the campground, but they do not have a hose hook-up, and the signage states no RV filling.
An annual MN State Park permit allows you to use sanitation stations in any park, so fill and dump at nearby Gooseberry Falls SP or Tettegouche SP.
There are no full hookups. 30 and 50 amp electrical plugins exist on all sites at the new drive-in campground. There are no sewage or water hookups.
Yes, there are trash dumpsters and recycling bins near the entrance to the campground.
There are no bad sites at the new modern campground. A few sites have an additional grassy area accessible by a few stairs, but all have plenty of room for your RV, a tent, and a screen room or more.
If you want to camp near friends or family, book sites across the road from each other not back to back. Sites in the 100s and 300s that look back to back are actually separated by a steep rocky slope and vegetation.
We did not get photos of each site, but we did take a video of the entire campground. Check out that video on YouTube.
We were able to get coverage up by the shower building, which is at the top of the hill. The best coverage is around sites 101-118, which are positioned high in the campground. The strongest signal was near site 106. Connectivity was spotty during our stay on site 304.
There are no views from the new campground, although there is a small view of the lake from the shower house. You can drive, walk, or bike down the hill to see the lighthouse or lake. There are overlooks throughout the rest of the state park.
Some of the backpacking campsites and cart-in campground sites have views of the lake and/or lighthouse.
No. The Split Rock Lighthouse is run by the Minnesota Historical Society and charges a separate fee. We thought it was well worth the admission to see the museum, lighthouse, and grounds.
Yes. Minnesota requires a vehicle permit in their parks, even if you have paid camping fees.
Day passes are available, but the year-round permit is the best deal if you will be staying several nights or visiting numerous parks.
No. As with all Minnesota State Parks, you must purchase wood within each park or from local vendors that sell wood approved for the specific park. No gathering of wood to burn within the park is allowed.
Firewood is not sold in the campground.
Yes. The ranger station, where you check in, sells ice, firewood, snacks, and souvenirs.
There are no laundry facilities in the state park.
Yes. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a 6-foot leash. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pets. They are not allowed in buildings or at the beach.
Yes, there are numerous paths throughout the park including Split Rock Wilds Mountain Biking Trail System, paved paths, shared hike and bike trails, and the Gitchi Gumi State Trail. This state trail runs along the North Shore from Two Harbors to Grand Marias.
The park is in bear country, but bear sightings are rare. You are required to keep a clean campsite with food and coolers inside a locked vehicle. Bear-proof trash bins are located throughout the park.
The cart-in campground has bear boxes at each campsite.
Two to three nights is enough time to check out the entire park.
We enjoyed Shipwreck Creek Campground and all of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. It is easy to see why the lighthouse is one of the most photographed in the world.
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