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giddyup
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11/01/2020 09:27PM  
I'm planning a trip to Sawbill Campground next year, towing a small camper trailer. I’m planning just day trips on Sawbill Lake. I’d like to reserve a site as soon as reservations open up. Does anyone with experience have favorite sites at Sawbill Campground, or even a least favorite site? And what makes it your favorite or least favorite site? Which part of the campground is nicer, reservable or non-reservable? My priorities would be water front, quiet, somewhat private or secluded from neighbors. Any suggestions?
 
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11/02/2020 01:21AM  
You should message Twins87. They have a teardrop trailer and have spent lots of time at Sawbill Campground with it.
giddyup
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11/02/2020 07:33AM  
Thanks for the suggestion!
TuscaroraBorealis
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11/02/2020 10:08AM  
Its been several years but, I seem to remember site #5 being pretty nice.
11/02/2020 10:43AM  
I stayed there once and it's all pretty nice
cyclones30
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11/02/2020 01:18PM  
I think the recreation.gov site has a map with all the sites labeled. At least you could see what's close to the lake, away from the showers, or whatever you wanted your priorities to be.
11/02/2020 02:11PM  
There's one on the Sawbill site, too. I've stayed there overnight several times, but couldn't tell you what site or anything.
Michwall2
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11/02/2020 04:23PM  
What is your goal for the week? Do you want to see others or be more secluded? Lakeside or closer to the outfitter? Close to the put ins or further from all the hubbub?

The lakeside sites are generally more open and a little closer together. You will be looking into each other's campsites. As you get away from lakeside, there are more campsites with some vegetation screening between the sites. As I recall the north end has more privacy than the south end. As you get further from the lake you get closer to the main road. Those sites have a tendency to have more road noise from the back side. However the east and south sites are closer to the outfitter (think WIFI) if you need those services regularly. About half the sites are reservable at recreation.gov. I would recommend that approach if you know when you are going. There are pictures of the campsites at recreation.gov.

Site 5 - Sawbill Campground

The range of view is pretty limited but you will get an idea of what it looks like.
giddyup
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11/02/2020 04:39PM  
Thanks, everyone. I do plan to reserve ahead. Peace and quiet, as well as privacy/seclusion are more important than lake view. I do plan to paddle daily but I don’t think I mind being a ways from the put in, bathrooms or outfitter. I’ll check out site #5, as well as the reservation site.
fishnfreak
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11/02/2020 05:55PM  
#5 and #8

#5 is the one I shoot for, #8 is also good

Five is lake front but high off the lake. fairly close to the bathroom and fairly close to the canoe landing. large area with multiple flat spots for tents.
jhb8426
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11/02/2020 10:48PM  
With the exception of site 1 all of the lakeside sites are high on the hill overlooking the lake and do not have direct lake access, only a view. Site 1 is across the road from the landing and boat storage area. It is not suitable for a trailer unless you are happy camping in the parking spot on the road. You cannot get a vehicle into the site. It is tent only which is why it is a non reservable site (to avoid disappointment). It is also in a high traffic area. Someone above mentioned wifi. It is available but only withing about 20 feet of the store. It doesn't reach any site. As mentioned, all of the lakeside sites are close together though looking at the map they appear to be separated. There is pretty much a clear view of the adjacent site. Not to say they are not nice, most of them are. The sites away from the lake are better separated (at least by trees). I don't like sites 21-26 much at all. They are more like a parking lot than a campsite. 24, 25 and 26 are the least desirable sites in the campground.
Northwoodsman
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11/03/2020 07:56AM  
I like 8,10, and 12 - all lakeside. It's more like a lake view because it's a steep hill down to the lake. All three are relatively close to the outhouse and water spigot.
giddyup
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11/03/2020 08:58AM  
I agree, the map makes most of them look a nice distance apart. Sounds like that’s not really true. #28 looks pretty secluded, anyone agree or disagree. Number 5 looks great. Thanks for all of the suggestions, lots of information to go on.
mjmkjun
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11/03/2020 10:19AM  
# 28 is my favorite because of its location on the loop(s). When I was there this past trip, all the undergrowth between 27 and 28 was all cut down (Why?) which made it less private than it was before. Pit toilet nearby and water spigot too. Good locations on that north end. Since they removed the smelly garbage bin adjacent to site 27 I'd recommend that one too. I also like #25. lakeside and it's ideal for a small camper. It's an unreservable site, though. I've stayed at all the above and liked them all. The only problem I had with site #27 was folks slamming the lid and not bothering to rehook the chain (bearproofing). Now that's not a problem. Bin is gone.

Really, you can't go wrong with most of Sawbill's sites. There aren't but 4 sites I would not book due to proximity to fellow campers. Way too close for my preferences.
One more consideration to mention is if you go in the heat of the summer those lakeside sites catch a breeze on both sides of that lane--while the sites more inland do not. At any other time of year, 98% of all sites are good.
You are welcomed to shoot me an email if you've any questions/inquiries.
giddyup
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11/04/2020 04:02PM  
Thank you so much, mjm and everyone who responded. That’s all very helpful information.
mjmkjun
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11/08/2020 07:54AM  
Hey, Giddyup, I goofed. Go for site #25; not # 18. Site18 is marginally OK; #25 is far better situated for private/lake breezes. 25 has a steep decline to the lake so if you have toddlers gotta watch 'em.
giddyup
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11/08/2020 05:02PM  
Thanks for the update!
gotwins
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11/16/2020 08:36PM  
I've stayed at #27. It was a nice site, and I was there when the dumpster was still there. Now that it's gone, I'd stay there again.

I've also stayed at #10, which is really pretty, overlooking the lake with big red pines. Great for hammocks and walking down to the lake.

I have a copy of "best tent camping in Minnesota" by Tom Watson. His recommendations are for sites 6-9 - big pines,19-21, more big pines, 22 &23, open but occluded, good privacy, he likes 26 for privacy. 30-39 are long and narrow, understory dominated by balsam fir. Avoid 35 (small) and 36 (open and in a clearing). Stay away from 49 as it backs up to 6. 50 is a big site alone among the pines.

I really like this book, and would recommend it for anyone who is interested in some of the more quiet campgrounds in Minnesota.
giddyup
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11/16/2020 10:19PM  
Wow, gotwins! Thank you, that’s a lot of really good info in addition to what others have said.

I’m very interested in getting a copy of the book but are most of the campgrounds in the book for tent camping only? I will have a small camping trailer, smaller than many family tents and will be able to boondock without power if I need to. Would this book still be beneficial for trailer camping?
gotwins
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11/17/2020 06:50AM  
Most of the campgrounds in the book have both tent and RV camping, so I’d say it’s worth it, especially for your small camper. I have even used it to look up info for my dad and his giant 5th wheel RV!
giddyup
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11/17/2020 09:43PM  
I ordered it, thanks for letting me know about it. I see they have the same book available for lots of states.
gotwins
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11/17/2020 10:00PM  
I checked out the Wisconsin one from the Library, it was good too!
Sawbill Canoe Outfitters
 
11/24/2020 11:18PM  
The hosts (who are generally there from mid-June through early October) always occupy site 17. So the closer you are to them, the quieter it is likely to be, although most campers here are conscientious. If you reserve a site but see a more desirable one that is open once you arrive, you can usually move - no problem. Just check in at the Sawbill store and we can let you know if it's available!
giddyup
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11/26/2020 09:15PM  
Thank you so much for the information. I’ll see you in 2021!
thanhan
 
11/30/2020 09:51PM  
I ordered it, thanks for letting me know about it
 
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