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Savanna Portage State Park

Park Info

Savanna Portage has almost 16,000 acres of rolling hills, lakes, forests, and bogs making it a diverse wilderness retreat. This park houses the Continental Divide, where the water flows west into the Mighty Mississippi and east into Lady Lake Superior. It is also known for the Savanna Portage Trail, which was travelled by fur traders, Dakota and Ojibwe people, and
explorers over 200 years ago. Historically, the trail required a six mile portage across different types of terrain, to get to the West Savanna River. This portage took an average of five days (Can you imagine?!).

When it comes to activities, Savanna Portage offers options for just about everyone. If you’re into hiking, there are 27 miles of trails to explore, including the Continental Divide. If you’re lucky, while out on the trails, you’ll see some of the wildlife native to this area, including deer,
bear, skunk (maybe not so lucky…), wolves, moose, and coyotes. Biking more your style? There are both dirt and road trails to explore.

What about fishing and swimming? Well, Loon Lake offers swimming in the summer months and there are four fishing lakes plus a river to catch that perfect trout, bass, or panfish. In the winter months, snowmobilers have 32 miles of trails to play on, as well as groomed trails for snowshoers and cross country skiers. Bird watching more your thing? The bogs attract songbirds and the lakes house migrating loons and other water birds.

There is so much to see and learn about this amazing park, so please check
out the website and check out the park office when you go!

All of this info came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, so credit where credit is due. Click here to view the original source.

Accessibility of Facilities

  • Parking for the trails was available near all of the trail heads I saw while out and about. The place I went had handicap spots for those who needed them.
  • Bathrooms were at the beginning of the trail I went on in a cool looking building in the picnic area (which according to the website is wheelchair accessible. I didn’t investigate, but form afar, it looked to be. I didn’t see door switches for the bathrooms, so that may be an issue if you need them).
  • Bathrooms at the campground were big enough to be accessible, with modern toilets, sinks, grab bars, and showers with seats. However, there are no door switches and the area leading up to the cement slab was gravel (or a walking trail if you’re on the other side).
  • Getting to this trail took a lot of dirt road driving. The roads were nicely maintained and easy to drive on with signs pointing in the right direction.
  • Camping area was back in and on a gravel pad. This was fine for me, but it could be difficult for those who have trouble maneuvering that type of terrain.

Trail Info

Loon Lake Loop aka Remote Trail, what can I say other than you’re called remote trail for a reason. The trail runs around Loon Lake and is maintained like a backwoods trail and connects to a few others in the area. It is 1.3 miles long with an elevation of 19 feet. The terrain is narrow, uneven, and has lots of roots, rocks, inclines, and a few trees to maneuver around. If you have mobility issues or are unsteady on your feet, I would advise against this one. You may just end up in the drink.

Gonna keep it real with you, I almost quit this trail 0.10 of a mile into it (thanks AllTrails for the navigation). The bugs were horrendous, which I expected, but my repellant methods were no match for their swarms. One even tried to be swallowed…that’s what I call a no thank you. I also encountered four snakes, two I saw and the others I just heard, also a no thank you. Snakes scare me mainly because they like to jump out at me, so I asked them not to and ran past.

There were benches about halfway through on both sides, but there was not sitting for long. I am pretty sure I sounded like the big bad wolf having an asthma attack since I had to haul ass through the woods. Silver linings, I almost made healthy Seleana time and got my cardio in for the day. I was definitely spent by the end of it and was never so glad to see my car and the blasting AC.

The canoers that I met said the bugs were non-existent on the water, so if there is no substitute for you, probably just stick to boating while here…at least during mosquito season. While I was bound and determined to make it through this trail, I decided the other one on my list was a hard pass. The continental divide trail was going to have to wait until things calm down a little around here. All of this being said, this trail would fall in the moderate category on my rating scale. Rougher and narrow terrain had me huffing and puffing.

Camping Experience

I stayed at the campground in the park and was pleased with my choice of reservation. I was literally across from the modern restrooms and showers, with water access feet away. The site was a little smaller than I anticipated, but it worked for my needs. I stayed at an electric site so I could use and charge my medical equipment whenever needed. It had a dirt pad, fire ring with grate, and picnic table. I just backed in my car and didn’t have to worry about hauling anything more than a few feet.

Setting up camp was an exercise in determination as well. It started off okay, minus fighting with the footprint for under my tent. Rain was in the forecast and thunder in the air, so I figured a little extra protection was important. I got the tent almost completely set up (I was super proud at my speed and efficiency), but didn’t stake it down fast enough and a big gust of wind came and tried to take the tent right as I finished pulling the last pole up (I’m betting it looked hilarious). I stopped it, but it crumpled into a heap and got tangled up.

This was an issue I had encountered before, but I was not the one to figure out how to fix it. With no cell service, I had to problem solve and eventually did figure it out, but with the heat, humidity, and disgusting number of bugs I almost cried and went home (I struggled at first with how to get the bug repellant working too or this part may not have been as bad). It took three tries of starting over completely and a few curses under my breath though. After that, getting myself settled was a breeze.

Once the bug stuff I brought kicked in, things improved in that area too. I’m glad my mom gave me the outside one and I kept mine inside to get the bugs that were able to sneak in (with the windows open for ventilation), especially on the first night. That being said, I did sit outside as minimally as possible, but did open all the windows in my tent to feel the breeze and see nature. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t sit outside much since it was a full moon. I wanted to do full moon stuff, but alas, it will have to wait until next month.

If you’re tenting it, like me, during these hot summer months, make sure to keep hydrated. I brought Liquid IV with me and most of my food required no cooking. Also, bring layers because it still gets cold at night. I ended up sleeping in a sweatshirt and my under 30*F sleeping bag.

Seleana's black hoodie with white lettering that reads Life ain't all burritos and strippers, my friend.

If you’ve made it this far, you know that the theme of this trip was perseverance and determination. The shirt says it all.

In the words of the currently unnamed Cardybear, Stay strong and remember to always keep fighting.

Be safe out there! Comment below with your favorite photo and let me know if you’d like more of my personal antics around here 🙂


(If you’re wondering about the bear and what the heck is going on, head on over to my Instagram and find his post 🙂

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