I think one of the coolest areas to go see any time of the year within a 30-minute drive of the Twin Cities is Willow River State Park in Western Wisconsin. The park is set in beautiful lush forest land with Oaks and Maples and surrounded by prairie. This time of year, for those looking to enjoy the outdoors, Willow River State Park in Hudson is the place to be this winter. With more than five miles of multi-use trails for hiking and snowshoeing and 14 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, the park has something for everyone. Winter camping is also available. Approximately 1.9 miles of the multi-use trail is wider and snow-packed, which makes it ideal for dog sledding or skijoring, which involves being pulled on skis by a dog.
The multi-level waterfall near Hudson has been attracting people since the town was settled in the mid-19th century. Today the cascade is part of the third-most visited state park in Wisconsin. The nearly 3,000-acre park is well worth a visit it is just four miles off I-94 east of Hudson. One of the highlights of this park is the waterfall, which drops 45 feet over a handful of ledges in a narrow limestone gorge along the Willow River. The waterfall is wide — about 100 feet — and the drops range from 5 to 15 feet.
There are at least 11 separate trails at Willow River State Park, some stretches are flat and easy, others are hilly and strenuous.
There are three campgrounds within Willow River State Park, with each one getting progressively more wooded. The 100 Loop Campground is mostly open prairie with a few trees here and there. It is well-suited to large RVs and campers. This campground is closest to the park entrance and office. The 200 Loop Campground is slightly more wooded and is suited to RVs, campers, and tents. The 300 Loop Campground is the oldest and is quite heavily wooded. The sites are generally separated by 20 to 40 feet of trees and thicket. The Willow Falls trailhead is located in this loop near site 312. This campground is the closest to the boat launch, swimming beach, and picnic area.
The camp has 154 camping sites. 95 sites are non electric back-in sites. 55 our standard electric with a mixture of back in and pull through sites. There are also four group camping areas that will allow 30 to 40 people groups to go camping together. There are flush toilets and single stall showers available May 1 through October 1.
Based on https://freecampsites.net/#!Hudson,+WI,+USA there are four free campsites within 50 miles of Hudson Wisconsin. Three of the sites are in Minnesota and the closest one is in Wisconsin.
—-Hiking & Biking—-
Willow River State Park Campground has a 4-mile loop trail located near Hudson, Wisconsin that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.
—-Things to Do—-
There are all kinds of things to do in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota just 30 minutes to the west of Willow River State Park.The Mall of America is located in Bloomington, MN. just to the south of the Twin Cities area. Or if you prefer the quiet countryside stay at the campground and tour Hudson, Wisconsin.