Jay Cooke State Park

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Jay Cooke State Park is located in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota near Carlton and Cloquet. 


Jay Cooke State Park

How to Get to Jay Cooke State Park: Drive 3 miles east from Carlton on State Highway 210.

Park Highlights:

  • The land for this 8,818-acre park was donated by the family of financier Jay Cooke in 1915. The river and rocky outcroppings make this one of the most beautiful state parks in the area.
  • A major attraction is the swinging suspension bridge high above the river built by CCC workers during the Depression years. The same workers constructed several beautiful buildings that are still striking features of the park.

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Jay Cooke’s Natural Attractions: The wild and rapids-filled St. Louis River winds through the park, cutting a deep and scenic gorge that attracts hikers and sight-seers. Just a few of the many birds and animals that make this park their home are black bears, timber wolves, coyotes, pileated woodpeckers, marsh hawks, and great blue herons. A park naturalist conducts programs year-round.


Things to Do in Jay Cooke State Park: Hike high above the St. Louis River on the swinging suspension bridge. Explore the gorge at Thompson Dam. Drive the Rushing Rapids Parkway for scenic views of the area. Watch, or join, the kayakers shooting the rapids. Some people come here to cliff-dive from the rocks along the river. 

Fifty miles of hiking trails wind through the park. You will also find 8 miles of bike trails that connect to the Willard Munger State Trail, and 6 miles of horse trails. The Visitor Center has a large room with a fireplace, and there are two large picnic areas. In winter you will find 32 miles of cross-country ski trails, 6 miles of snowshoe trails, and a warming house.

Camping in Jay Cooke State Park: There are 79 drive-in campsites for tents and RVs; 21 sites have electrical hookups. There are also 4 backpack sites, 3 walk-in sites, and 2 group campsites that each accommodates up to 25 people. Five camper cabins are available; call the park for reservation information. Campsite amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, showers, flush and vault toilets, and a dump station.

More Attractions in This Region: Visit Hinckley Minnesota on your way up to the park. Nearby Carlton is now known primarily for the Black Bear Casino. Larger Cloquet Minnesota is worth a visit, if only to see the Lindholm Service Station designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Make a stop at Gordy’s High Hat for their nationally famous burgers and malts. If you have time, drive the few miles into Duluth and explore a bit of the city and the North Shore of Lake Superior

Other State Parks in This Region of Minnesota: Moose Lake State Park > Savanna Portage State Park > Banning State Park > Saint Croix State Park

State Parks Guidebooks and Gear


780 Highway 210
Carlton, MN 55718
Phone: 218-384-4610
Email: jaycooke.statepark@state.mn.us

Related Links:

Minnesota Camping

Minnesota State Parks Maps, Reservations and Reviews 

Campgrounds in Minnesota 

Minnesota Campgrounds 

Minnesota RV Campgrounds

Minnesota Campground Directory

Camping List

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