Baker Park Reserve

Located on scenic Lake Independence, Baker Park Reserve offers 2,700 acres of natural landscape and accommodations for almost any activity from golfing to camping to cross-country skiing, and so much more. No matter the season, there’s always something fun to do.

No-Wake Restriction on Lake Independence

There is a temporary lake-wide no-wake restriction in effect on Lake Independence due to high water levels. See the City of Medina's website for updates and more information.

Plan Your Visit

30 Minutes

For a quick getaway in the woods, hike the 1.1-mile paved loop near Baker Campground. Park near the campground office and head north on the paved trail. Tip: Go in the evening and enjoy sunset views over Lake Independence.

2 Hours

Bring your bike and ride the 12.5 miles of paved trails⁠—including a 6.2-mile loop—over rolling hills and bask in scenic views of the big woods along the trail. Pack a picnic and park at a rest stop along the way for lunch. Want to bring the whole family? Child bike trailers may be rented on weekends and holidays from the Baker Campground office.

All Day

Start the day with a hike on the turf trail near Marshview Group Camp. Park at the trailhead on the north side of County Road 24, across from the Near-Wilderness Settlement entrance. Stroll the grassy trail and take in the fall colors of maples and basswood trees. Watch for wildlife like eagles soaring overhead, birds flitting through tree canopies and pond critters in the marsh.

Bring lunch and enjoy a picnic at the family picnic area on the eastern shore of Lake Independence, near the recreation entrance. Enjoy tranquil and colorful autumn views reflected on the lake.

See 30-minute, 2-hour and all-day ideas for more parks!

things to do

Bike Trail


Biker on paved trail

12.5 miles of trails

Enjoy the rolling hills and the scenic views along the trails at Baker Park Reserve. There are rest stops, and child trailers may be rented from the campground office.

Boat Launch


Boating on lake

917 acres of water

Please note: There is a temporary lake-wide no-wake restriction in effect on Lake Independence due to high water levels.

A paved boat launch is available at Lake Independence. An unpaved boat launch is located at Spurzem Lake, and a carry-in access is available at Half Moon Lake. No wake at Half Moon and Spurzem. Gas motors are allowed at Spurzem.

Rent paddleboats, rowboats, canoes and kayaks on Lake Independence, south of the main beach. Call for boat rental hours.



Camp fire and tent

203 campsites

There is more than one way to camp. Baker Park Reserve offers a traditional campground as well as camper cabins and group campsites. The campground offers sites with and without electrical hookups. Five camper cabins sleep 5-6 people; two are accessible for people with disabilities. All camper cabins feature screened-in porches, tables, bunks, electricity and heat. The campground and camper cabins have access to modern restrooms facilities with showers and access to drinking water. There are five group campsites that offer a range of amenities from simple open air to sites with shelter and electricity, water and flush toilets. The Half Moon Group Campsite is available year round. All camping requires reservations.

Reserve a campsite.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing

Skiers climbing hill

9.1 miles of trails

Baker offers high-quality trails for skiers of all abilities. Trails are groomed for traditional touring and skate skiing.


The chalet (Baker National Clubhouse) at the Baker Winter Trailhead offers classic and skate cross-country skis, sit-skis for persons with disabilities and child pulks for rent. See pricing.


A Three Rivers Park District Cross-Country Ski Pass is required for skiers ages 12 and older. Passes may be purchased at the chalet. For more information, call 763.694.7660. Check trail conditions.


Dog Trails - On Leash

Dog Trails

Dogs on leash with companions

12.5 miles of trails

Dogs are allowed on all paved trails with a six-foot, non-retractable leash. During the winter, the multi-use trails provide access for dog sleds and skijor. Owners must pick-up after their dog.

Fishing / Fishing Pier


Children on dock

943 acres of water

Write your own fish story from a fishing pier on the south end of the beach on Lake Independence or Half Moon Lake. The pier is wheelchair accessible. In the winter, Independence, Half Moon and Spurzem Lakes provide access for ice fishing. Anglers must have a valid Minnesota fishing license.



GPS units on table

Geocaching is a family-friendly, high-tech treasure hunt that combines respect for the environment with a sense of adventure. This activity involves placing or looking for a cache using global positioning system (GPS) equipment. GPS units with pre-loaded geocaches are available to check-out for free at the campground office on a first-come, first-served basis. Units may only be used in the park and must be returned before closing.



Golfer by red barn

18 holes and 9 holes

Baker National is one of the finest public golf courses in the Twin Cities. This facility features a challenging 18-hole championship golf course, a nine-hole executive course, driving range, practice facilities and concessions. Lessons and leagues are available. Designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary from Audubon International. Baker National demonstrates efforts to improve environmental quality, through habitat and water quality management.

Reserve your tee time online for the Championship Course and Evergreen Course or by calling 763.694.7670.



Man walking on wooded trail

19.8 miles of trails

The Timber Trail is for turf hiking only and is accessible near the Marshview Group Camp. Hiking is also encouraged on the paved bike trail and turf horse trails. Although these trails are closed in the winter, visitors can enjoy miles of hiking on the winter multi-use trail or on the plowed path at the Baker Campground. GPS units are available to check out for free at the campground office during office hours.

Horse Trails

Horseback Riding

Rider on horse

9 miles of trails

Baker offers scenic mowed trails for horseback riders, and trailer parking is available off of Homestead Trail. Trails are closed during the winter season. Check the Horseback Riding page for trail status updates. Three Rivers Park District does not rent horses.


Mountain Bike Trail

Mountain Biking

Person riding fat bike on snowy trail

5.2 miles of trails

This winter-only, multi-use trail is open 5:00 AM–10:00 PM as snow conditions permit. A pass is not required. Click below to check trail conditions and learn more about mountain biking in Three Rivers.

Nature Education

Nature Education

a log cabin at the baker near-wilderness settlement in the fall

Rediscover the natural world and indulge in the simple joys. Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement offers you and your family a unique opportunity to reconnect with the natural world. Cultivate camaraderie with friends and family by staying in one of eight comfortable cabins or meeting in the expansive multipurpose lodge. Site is only accessible during a program or by reservations.



Children in a canoe

945 acres of water

Baker Park offers numerous lakes for paddling. Rent a canoe, kayak, paddleboat, rowboat or stand-up paddleboard at Baker Campground and explore Lake Independence, or launch your own boat on Independence, Half Moon or Spurzem lakes.

Rental Hours:

10 AM-8 PM Saturday, Sunday and holidays, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day

See pricing for watercraft rentals.

Picnic Area

Picnic Areas

Man grilling food

Soak in the rays and the gorgeous vista of Lake Independence. Three Rivers offers picnic areas in beautiful, natural settings and Baker has some of the best. A spacious, first-come, first-served family picnic area and four reservation picnic sites are available for your needs.

Play Area

Play Areas

Child on tire swing


Remember the fun of playing on a playground? Climbing, sliding, swinging higher and higher. Baker Play Area is just the right size for younger kids. For group reservations, please call 763.559.6700.

The Baker Play Area is being redesigned and will be closed for construction in 2020. 

Skijoring and Dog Sledding

Skijoring & Dog Sledding

Skijourer with dog

5.2 miles of trails

Skijoring is permitted on the multi-use trail and does not require a ski pass. Access the trail off of Homestead Trail.



Child on sled

Baker sledding hill is groomed and offers lots of space for excitement. Access the hill from the cross-country chalet, where you can warm up with a warm cocoa and snacks. Snowboards, tubes or railed sleds are not permitted.

Snowmobile Trail


Snowmobilers on wooded trail

Baker provides links through the park along the west boundary to state Grants-in-Aid snowmobile trails. Snowmobile trailer parking is available at the Recreation Area. A daily or season trailer parking pass is required.



Children snowshoeing in the woods

6.3 miles of trails

Opportunities abound for snowshoeing at Baker! You can rent snowshoes and hit the designated trails at the cross-country ski chalet. See pricing. Or those looking to venture on their own can travel along the multi-use trail or go off trail at Baker Campground.



Children swimming in lake


It’s hot, the sun is shining, and it’s a beautiful day! Baker Park has two swimming beaches on Lake Independence with spectacular views of the lake. The water is regularly monitored to ensure safe water quality. The beaches are unguarded and free. Hours are 9:00 AM-8:00 PM.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 21 | Crow-Hassan
Celebrate the oldest and largest restored prairie in the Twin Cities! Learn about prairie plants and insects, enjoy a wagon ride, and take a tour of the prairie with the hosts of The Wandering Naturalist podcast.

Sept. 29 | Near-Wilderness Settlement
Bring your friends and family to cook and eat your way from one campfire ring to the next during this wilderness feast. 

Oct. 12 | Elm Creek
From hard-core distance runners to casual walkers, this annual event offers a 10K, 5K & 1K—something for everyone!

All Programs and Events

Find an event or program at Baker Park Reserve!

2019/2020 Restroom and Boat Rental Construction

The restroom buildings at Baker Park Reserve Recreation Area are being replaced. Construction will extend through fall 2020 and will impact use of the recreation area, including the use of swim beaches, picnic areas, creative play area, fishing pier, and boat rental. Learn more.

Baker Play Area Closed in 2020

The Baker Play Area will be closed for construction in 2020. A new play area is coming soon!

Baker Master Plan

Three Rivers Park District is beginning the process of creating a new master plan for Baker Park Reserve. The master plan will inform future decisions related to recreation areas, the campground, golf course, trails, and natural resources management. Visit the Master Plan page to learn more.

Natural Resources

Three Rivers takes great care to preserve the natural beauty of this park through the efforts of the Natural Resources division. Trumpeter swans, once endangered, can be seen at Baker Park Reserve today because of these efforts.


Volunteers are an important part of the operations at Baker Park Reserve. Learn more about volunteering at Three Rivers.

With more than 200 sites to choose from, you may have trouble picking your favorite spot. Camper cabins and sites with or without electrical hookups are available with shower and restroom facilities nearby. 

The Wandering Naturalist

Episodes 25–28: 50 Years of Environmental Stewardship

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Lowry Nature Center and the prairie at Crow-Hassan Park Reserve. Learn how Three Rivers has helped paved the way for environmental stewardship over the last 50-plus years.

Related Blog Posts

September 03, 2019

Friday is National Read a Book Day. To help you prepare, Mary Magers, bookseller at Minneapolis independent bookstore Magers & Quinn, agreed to share some of her favorite books about the natural world. From pollinators to weather to winter survival and more, read on to find your next page-turner.

August 26, 2019

Believe it or not, fall bird migration is already starting! From ospreys to owls to waterfowl, read all about what birds pass through our area of Minnesota and where in Three Rivers you can expect to see them. 

August 05, 2019

Saturday is National S'mores Day! Read on to find fun takes on the classic camping dessert, alternatives for dietary restrictions and ways to celebrate with Three Rivers. 

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