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Where can I go camping and be completely isolated?

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Question: Where can I go camping and be completely isolated?

Would you know of any places to go camping where you would be completely isolated? I have looked into many national parks, but I am interested in a place where I won't see another person, or manmade object. And hopefully somewhere in northern Wisconsin, Minnesota or southern Canada. Any information you could give me that would aid in my search would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

I yearn for the camping experience you describe, and yet it is getting harder to find. But it does exist and such a campsite can be found with a little ingenuity, map reading, proper equipment and knowledge of its use, and a willingness to head to the back country.

Here's what I suggest:

  • Pick a national forest or park in Wisconsin or Minnesota that you'd like to visit. Here's information for Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • After you've chosen a destination that you find attractive, you need to get a topo map for the area you wish to visit, either a national forest or national park with some backcountry. You can usually get these maps at the visitors center of the parks, or the regional forest service office. Or search the Web. I've seen places to order them from the Web, but none to download.
  • Using these maps, plot a course to an isolated spot to use as a home base for camping and day trips. Learn to identify the fire roads on the maps. National forests have them everywhere and are great to use for driving back rather than walking, provided you have a proper vehicle for the roads which can get rough or cross streams or creeks at times.
  • You can camp ANYWHERE in the national forests, no permit required, but be sure to observe any fire restrictions and observe "leave no trace" ethics when off road.
  • You can camp at many isolated backcountry sites in the national parks, but permits are usually required and can be obtained at the park visitor center.
  • Remember that any tourist sites or visitor brochures will guide you to popular attractions. To find isolation, you must get to know the area, read maps fluently, and practice self-sufficiency.
With the proper skills and gear, this can be a most rewarding outdoor experience. I've had several such adventures in my lifetime and they have left me with the most wonderful memories.

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