It’s official, the 2021 camping season has begun and the first camping trip is already in the books! I have camp sites booked on weekends from May through October but this one wasn’t even on the calendar. Spontaneous bonus trip! That’s to be expected though since the weather can be so unpredictable, evident by the frost advisories this entire week. Being a weekend in May with a nice forecast, we took advantage and booked a site.
The season started at Pike Lake, one of the numerous units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. This park is an easy 45 minute drive from Milwaukee and an hour and twenty minute drive from Madison.
The first thing I noticed about the park was it’s proximity to Hartford, Wisconsin. This town is small, but not that small, and is immediately outside the park’s boundary. (See the map below.) It’s so close that a gas station and strip mall are visible from one of the hiking trails. This location is either a plus or minus, depending on your view and what you’re looking for in a camping location. The town is right there if you need anything but also right there so you’re camping a minute outside a town. Some of our campground neighbors took advantage of the proximity and left their breakfast and campfire coffee to Dunkin’ Donuts.
The park is divided into a few separate areas, all accessible by car or hiking trail. The campground has 32 campsites, with 24 wooded and eight open. There is also a separate area for backpack camping. Campsites on the inside of the loop are electric while campsites on the outside of the loop are not.
You might notice by looking at the map that there is only one bathroom. This is indeed accurate, there is only one bathroom and it is a flush toilet bathroom. You can bet many of the campsites occupied by RVs will use their own bathrooms, so the lone bathroom was never crowded.
We bought our firewood from the campsite host for $6 a bundle. There was a firewood shed near the entrance to the campground but it was unclear if this was closed because of COVID or if it’s always closed.
We stayed at site #3, which was one of the open sites, meaning there was limited shade. We had neighbors on two sides, to our left and across the road. The other two sides are secluded by vegetation.
This picture looks like it could be an ad for the Hyundai Tucson but it was intended to showcase the firepit and proximity to the road.
This is the view of the right side of the campsite (if you’re facing the road.) This side it totally private.
This is a view of the left side of the campsite. The gravel is the driveway. While they weren’t there yet, this side was completely open to the views and sounds of our neighbors.
Looking down the driveway the view of their picnic table is unobstructed.
This is the back and right side of the campsite, the two private sides.
Overall this site was….pretty okay. Is that a descriptive enough adjective? The site was fine. Not my favorite but not the worst site I’ve ever stayed at either. The campground as a whole was generally quiet and well kept. While the neighbors (when we were there) were quiet and respectful, I could see them whenever they were outside. Although I’m pleased when I find it, I never go into a state park expecting total privacy. This site was a little too “show and tell” for my liking. If I went back, I think site #5 would be my top choice.