Gull Lake, Minnesota, USA

Also known as:  Brainerd Lakes

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Gull Lake MN.

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Gull Lake MN visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Central -

Gull Lake, located in the Central Region of Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, boasts 9,418 surface acres and 38 miles of pristine shoreline. The deep, crystal clear waters of Gull Lake are part of the Brainerd Chain of Lakes. The lake was created in 1913 by construction of the Gull Lake Dam on the Gull River near the community of Nisswa, about an hour and a half north of St. Cloud. Nestled in a nature lover’s paradise surrounded by regal pine forest, visitors to Gull Lake will enjoy many recreational activities including nature watching, fishing, boating, and hiking.

Gull Lake is part of a chain of lakes including Upper Gull Lake, Nisswa Lake, Spring Lake, Love Lake, Round Lake, Bass Lake, Steamboat Bay, Wilson’s Bay, Roy Lake, Margaret Lake, and Spider Lake. Gull Lake Dam was constructed to control the waters of the ten lakes in the Gull Lake Chain. Gull Lake Dam was designed by Col. Francis R. Shunk and George Freeman who also designed Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. In the early 1900s, the basin which now holds the waters of Gull Lake provided water for navigation for loggers. Since construction of the dam, Gull Lake has provided flood control, wildlife preservation, and recreation.

The Gull Lake Dam site has 12 complete and several partial burial mounds from a prehistoric Woodland Culture that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An interpretive center located near the dam provides information for visitors about the permanent established villages that were in the area in 800 B.C. to 200 A.D. as well as 600 A.D. to 900 A.D. Also of interest and eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the dam tender’s house. The seven-room house was completed in 1912 and is a good example of the brick, stucco, and frame Craftsman style of houses built in the towns and cities of Minnesota between 1905 and 1920.

Lakefront development on Gull Lake includes numerous resorts as well as residential properties for sale or for rent. Many of the resorts feature amenities such as spas, fitness rooms, indoor pools and restaurants. Gull Lake visitors who want a more rustic experience can enjoy picturesque camp settings. The Gull Lake Recreation Area located 10 miles northwest of Brainerd, Minnesota offers boating, swimming, interpretive hiking trails, hot showers, in addition to camping.

Whether visitors are enjoying a luxurious resort stay or a relaxing outdoor experience, they will share a common interest in nearby attractions. Golfers will enjoy over 520 holes of golf at 20 different golf courses. Three of the courses are championship courses. Hikers will enjoy the Paul Bunyan Trail which is mainly level and is wheelchair accessible. Once completed, it will consist of 110 miles. The developed portions of the Paul Bunyan Trail are opened hiking, in-line skating, and bicycling. In the winter the primary use for the trail is snowmobiling. Other places of interest are the Paul Bunyan Land, The Pioneer Village, Crow Wing County Historical Society and Museum, and the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, all located nearby Gull Lake.

Fishing is most the most noted pastime on Gull Lake. Often referred to as one of the best fishing sites in the state of Minnesota, Gull Lake is plentiful in largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, panfish, and northern pike. Along the shores of Gull Lake boaters may spot white-tailed deer, eagles, otters, or even a moose. Whether visitors spend the day kayaking, canoeing, or just sunbathing on the beach, they will find that Gull Lake is the ideal vacation retreat.

Custom Gull Lake MN house decor

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Things to do at Gull Lake MN

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Gull Lake MN

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Gull Lake MN

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Gull Lake MN statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 9,418 acres

Shoreline Length: 38 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,193 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,195 feet

Average Depth: 30 feet

Maximum Depth: 80 feet

Water Volume: 43,900 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1913

Drainage Area: 278 sq. miles

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