Backcountry Camping

at Hawn State Park

Whispering Pine Trail Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping can be the ultimate experience for hikers who want to have an overnight experience along Whispering Pine Trail at Hawn State Park.

The trail provides the opportunity for day hikes of varying lengths or a longer backpacking trip. It meanders through a beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest, which is home to a variety of animals, such as bobcat and wild turkey. Extensive exposures of sandstone and granite can be explored along the banks of Pickle Creek and the River Aux Vases.

Water is not available at the trailhead, but can be obtained at the park office or the campground. Water from Pickle Creek or the River Aux Vases may be used for drinking while on the trail, but it should always be treated before consumption. The trail is signed in a counterclockwise direction with colored arrows. Red arrows identify the north loop, while blue arrows mark the south loop. Additional markers are used to indicate spur trails leading to the camp areas.

Whispering Pine Trail backcountry campsite locations

Additional trail details

Spanish Land Grant Trail Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping can be the ultimate experience for hikers who want to have an overnight experience along Spanish Land Grant Trail at Hawn State Park. This trail includes two regular backcountry sites and one backcountry group site that has a maximum occupancy of 16 campers.

The trail provides the opportunity for a day hike or a short backpacking trip. It crosses several wet-weather creeks and has scenic views of sandstone glades along Pickle Creek. It travels through a beautiful dry-mesic sandstone woodland community composed of old-growth shortleaf pine, oak and hickory. This area is home to white-tailed deer, wild turkey and other animals.  

Water is not available at the trailhead, but can be obtained at the park office or in the campground. Water from Pickle Creek may be used for drinking while on the trail, but it should always be treated before consumption. The trail is signed in a counterclockwise direction with yellow arrows.

Additional trail details

Backcountry Campsite Details

Camping is limited to three designated sites on Spanish Land Grant Trail and 10 designated sites on Whispering Pine Trail and White Connector 3. The nightly rate is $10 for the backcountry sites and $20 for the backcountry group site. Standard reservation, cancellation and modification policy for campsites is applied.

Campers can reserve their backcountry camping site in advance by:

  1. Visiting the online reservation system and reserving a site no later than 7 p.m. CST the day of arrival. You must have a customer account to make your reservation.
  2. Calling the reservation call center at 877-422-6766 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT daily

When making a reservation online at icampmo.com, the visitor can easily view campsites to determine which campsites are available with an easy-to-use map and the ability to see multiple photos for each site. Same-day reservations are accepted March through November online at icampmo.com or by phone at 877-422-6766 up until 7 p.m. the day of your planned arrival. Any site not reserved remains available for walk-up registration by contacting the park office or camp host at the check station in the campground.

The maximum group size at the backcountry campsites is six hikers. The maximum group size for the backcountry group campsite is 16 hikers. The regular backcountry sites are numbered 1-12, and the backcountry group site is numbered BG1. Sites 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 and BG1 are close to water. Overnight parking for hikers is allowed at the trailhead, with a maximum of two vehicles per backcountry campsite and four vehicles for the backcountry group campsite.

Backcountry Camping Rules

As with any backpacking trip, trail users should be considerate of wear and tear on the trail, taking only photographs and leaving only footprints. The impact of fire rings and wood gathering for campfires in wilderness areas have led to the prohibition of backcountry campfires.

  • Check-in time is 3 p.m. Checkout time is 2 p.m. on day of departure.
  • Camping is self-check-in. If you are unable to check in due to lack of cellphone service, you can check in at the office or with a campground host.
  • Hikers may visit the office or campground hosts if they have questions.
  • Fires are allowed only in the metal fire rings found at each site – please do not burn trash. Camping stoves are recommended for cooking.
  • Cutting implements such as saws and hatchets are not allowed on the trail.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Dispose of waste properly. The top 6 to 8 inches of soil provides a system of biologic disposers that decompose organic material. For pet or human waste, select a spot at least 200 feet from any open water. Dig a small hole no deeper than 6 or 8 inches. After use, fill the hole with loose soil and tramp in the sod. Nature will do the rest.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times. Dispose of pet waste by burying as above or packing out in bags.