Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, five new camper cabins will be open to visitors at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance, starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 2.
The cabins can be reserved online or by calling 866-857-2757. They will rent for $55 nightly Sunday-Thursday and $60 nightly Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 31, then $60 on weeknights and $70 on weekends starting in 2015.
The five “cart-in” cabins, two of which are wheelchair accessible, were built a short distance from the park’s main campground, with wagons available near the parking lot.
“Overnight visitors can load up their gear in the wagons and haul it to their cabins, which are just 150 to 530 feet down the trail,” explained Mark White, park manager. “Each of the cabins has a name and theme,” he added, “with interpretive information posted inside.” Visitors have their choice of the Trout, Owl, Mink, Pine or Lily cabin.
Set in the blufflands of southeastern Minnesota, the park is a popular destination for fishing in spring-fed trout streams, horseback riding and cave tours. Mystery Cave is the longest cave in Minnesota, spanning more than 13 miles underground. Scenic tours, led by park naturalists, provide opportunities to see stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone fossils and beautiful underground pools.
Camper cabins are now available at about a third of Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas. Go to the camper cabins website for a statewide map. The one-room cabins provide a basic shelter for visitors who want a “camping out” experience but may not have the necessary equipment for typical camping. The 12-foot by 16-foot wooden cabins come furnished with a table, benches and wooden bunk-bed frames with mattresses. The cabins at Forestville also have screened porches and can be heated for winter use.
Visitors staying at camper cabins need to bring their own sleeping bags or other bedding. They cook meals outside over a fire ring just like at regular campsites. The cabins have electricity but no indoor plumbing. Drinking water and vault toilets are available year-round. At Forestville, the cabins are “an easy walking distance” from the showers and flush toilets in the main campground, White said.
The park is located near Preston, about 120 miles southeast of the Twin Cities metro area. For more information about the cave tour and the park, including directions and an interactive virtual tour, visit the Forestville park website.