You need to check out Franz Jevne State Park in Northern Minnesota. This park is the most underrated park with plenty of things to do for your day trip.
Aside from a few rare exceptions, Franz Jevne State Park is the furthest north you can get and still be considered in the United States.
The only thing separating you from Canada is the Rainy River. It also has the distinction of being one of the smallest Minnesota State Park. Rumors of Moose and black bears live in the area. One thing I’ll guarantee is the picturesque views.
Things to do at Franz Jevne State Park
Hiking Club Trail
Miles: 1.3 miles
Total Miles Hiked: 132.5 miles
Aside from camping, or dropping in a boat, the primary people who swing by Franz Jevne State Park are those completing the Hiking Club Trail or wanting their passports stamped. I’m not going to lie, this was what drew me to the park as well.
We visited on an interesting day. When most people talk about the park, all I hear about bugs. While bugs thrive in some conditions over others, the location usually is not a determining factor.
Most of it is based on the humidity levels, standing water, and if there is a breeze. This summer, we didn’t have much of a problem at all. Franz Jevne State Park was no exception.
There are a few places to park your vehicle. The primary location is near the rapids. It’s designed for multiple cars. The other location is a two-car spot between sites 12 and 14.
It’s right next to the start of the hiking club trail. Before parking here, check with the campground host to make sure it’s not designated for a camper.
Compared to many of the other hikes we’d done on our adventures, this was the first park that had some hills. The hiking trail hills were nothing compared to the north shore.
The trail, while wooded and grown, it had a defined path. There were multiple opportunities to view the Rainy River and even walk out onto the island, more on that later.
The hiking club trail ends with a beautiful view of the river, complete with a picnic table to rest at before heading back.
Don’t forget to stop by Zipple Bay State Park. It’s another great board park with some fun things to do.
This is the perfect park to escape. When most of the parks are struggling to find room for all their occupants, Franz Jevne State Park is trying to get people to come.
If you have a camper, I recommend staying at Zippel Bay State Park. The reason is that as soon as you get past the first parking area, the road gets steep and a lot tighter.
The sites, are perfect for backroads but not maintained at all for tow vehicles. The Park has a 30 ft tow limit, but even that seems long for my liking.
For those looking to tent, or hammock, this place is ideal. The sites have a backwoods feel and even come with their own Adirondack-style shelters.
Download your Franz Jevne State Park Map before you leave. In this part of the state, cellphone coverage is sketchy and you can’t guarantee that a printed map will be there onsite for you. Avena Maps has a free GeoPDF Map from MNDNR that track your position at all times.
Find a border marker
There are two along the hiking trails within the park. The first is near the rapids. Take the trail east, close to walk-in site 4. The second is a little further west on the hiking club trail. It’s near walk-in site number 15.
Do some fishing
Sitting along the Rainy River the park is a great spot for some fishing. The river has a few interesting areas to note. First is the rapids.
As depicted on the map, the rapids are more of a ripple in the water, enough to make any boater nervous. But you can swing wide around them enjoy the rest of the river.
The other interesting area is the island. There is a small island near the hiking club. In low water levels, you can walk right over to it. Otherwise, the island is only accessible by boat.
Fish For Free in Minnesota State Parks
Did you know if you have a Minnesota driver’s License you can fish for free in Minnesota State Parks? The only expectation is if the body of water requires a trout stamp, or if you are in a Recreation Area. To fish for free you must be:
1. Fishing from shore or wading in water within the state park; or
2. Fishing through the ice, from a boat or a float on a designated lake that is completely encompassed within a Minnesota state park.
Click here for the official statue.
Walk to your own island
Franz Jevne State Park has its very own island. The small island is normally only visible and reachable from a boat, or swimmable. During low water conditions, you can walk right over to it.
The island is a fun place to explore with nothing developed. But it’s a good spot to drop a line in if you don’t have a boat.
Find the Rock Outcropping
Near site 18 is a rock outcropping. It’s a good place for a picnic, birdwatching, and during the right season, blueberry picking. When we asked about this area with the camp host, he did bring it up as something to see.
But getting to it is a little difficult. There is no clear trail, and it’s covered in moss, making it slippery. If you have the weekend to spend there, I would recommend checking it out.
Another great park close by is Big Bog State Recreation Area. It’s absolutely stunning. We used it as our base camp before heading up here.
How much does it cost to visit Franz Jevne State Park?
All Minnesota State Parks are free with an annual permit. You can buy them in person or online for $35. If you are planning to visit for the day, expect to pay around $7. Throughout the year, there are a few free days and other discounts you can check out too.
Camping costs anywhere from $25-35 a night.
Pro Tip: Visit any State Park during one of their free days. Check out Minnesota State Park Pass Hacks, Tips, and Free Days to find all the days
Would I go back to Franz Jevne State Park?
Yes, I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a remote experience that I was living up to. I enjoyed getting to explore all of the parts of the park and having it all to myself. If you were looking to partner up a couple of parks, this would be one you could easily day trip to.