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Outdoor fun at Andes Tower Hills continues year round with new camping options

45 RV sites and a rustic cabin recently opened for reservations over Labor Day weekend.

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A rustic cabin available for weekend renting sits along the shores of Issac Lake on the Andes Tower Hills property.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press
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KENSINGTON — Nearly 20 miles west of Alexandria, tucked away among the wooded rolling hills of Minnesota's midwest, is Andes Tower Hills . A place that has served as a popular site for winter fun since 1980. Now, the fun will continue all year round.

After nearly two years of planning and a summer's worth of construction, Andes debuted its newest addition over Labor Day weekend. 45 RV sites fitted with 50 amp electric shore power outlets, sewer connection, and water hookups next to a five stall bath house and a trailhead leading to 10 miles of backcountry hiking and biking.

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While each RV site is operational for water, sewer and electricity, not all of them are yet fitted with a picnic table and fire ring.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

"Our owners have been looking for something for quite a while to keep us kind of a year-round destination for people," said Jessah Hale, operation manager for Andes. "I think this was just one that they decided was really a good adventure to go into."

If you follow the winding scenic trail system — only available to campers — through nearly 800 acres of wooded terrain, you will find another new addition available in the summer. An open-space rustic cabin with no running water and no electricity. Only two full beds and a propane camping stove.

It's nestled right on the private shores of Issac Lake. General Manager of Andes, Tom Anderson, says the lake is perfect for kayaking — which can be rented on site — and fishing for crappies, sunnies, and bass.

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The trailhead leading to Issac Lake puts hikers and bikers on a path through 10 miles of wooded surroundings.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

Outside of the cabin is a porta potty, fire ring, and picnic table. The cabin was built by Timber Arched out of Osakis, which produces hand-crafted cabins from locally sourced oak timbers.

A two-night minimum reservation is required for the cabin and rates begin at $75 a night Sunday through Thursday and $100 a night Friday and Saturday. RV sites also require a two-night minimum stay at $45 a night during the week and $55 on the weekend. Monthly stays start at $850 a month.

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A map highlights the various cross-country ski trails that become hiking and biking trails at Andes Tower Hills.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

Hale is confident in their being a need for additional camping options in the county. She said when she was calling around to other campgrounds in the area, a lot of them were having trouble meeting campers' needs due to a lack of sites.

Hale figured this was due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushing more people to do more outside activities, but apparently, the other campgrounds were having the same issue prior to the pandemic.

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Two full beds nearly fill the back half of the remote cabin located next to Issac Lake.
Thalen Zimmerman / Alexandria Echo Press

According to Explore Alexandria Tourism , there are 14 campgrounds in Douglas County. Some campgrounds also feature a limited amount of weekend sites available with seasonal campers that are there year round taking up many lots.

The RV sites and cabin are just the start of summer activities at Andes. Eventually, tent camping sites will be added along with a spot for disc golfing.

Thalen Zimmerman of Alexandria joined the Echo Press team as a full-time reporter in Aug. 2021, after graduating from Bemidji State University with a bachelor of science degree in mass communication in May of 2021.
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