Lake Elmo, Minnesota, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Elmo — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Lake Elmo cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Elmo

Shining like a jewel in an oasis of green, Lake Elmo is located along the eastern city limits of St. Paul, Minnesota. This 281-acre lake has been offering visitors and residents respite and relaxation since the 1800’s. Lake Elmo has more than enough water for boating, fishing and paddling for visitors from the Twin Cities as well as for those traveling from much farther away. With its clean, clear water, it ranks in the top ten lakes for water quality in the Minneapolis – St. Paul Metro Region and is a fantastic Minnesota destination.

Originally known as Bass Lake, by the 1870’s the railroad was bringing visitors from St. Paul to enjoy Lake Elmo’s clean, fish-filled waters. The names of both the lake and the village that grew up around it were changed in 1879 to Lake Elmo by Alpheus Stickney, a developer who built a hotel on the shore of the lake. Lake Elmo’s popularity waned with the decline of the railroad, but it stayed a recreation destination as it is today.

A concrete boat launch on the western shore of Lake Elmo provides public access. The lake is designated ‘No Wake’ every day until noon. It is perfect for a morning paddle by canoe or kayak or a quiet morning of fishing. The lack of structure in the lake makes fishing more challenging, but anglers can expect to find healthy populations of bluegill, crappie, brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass and walleye. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) stocks tullibee to promote the northern pike populations. The MNDNR also stocks trout and hybrid muskie. In fact, the state record tiger muskie, a 34 pound 12 ounce monster, was pulled from Lake Elmo in July of 1999. A minor fish consumption advisory (see below) is in place because of elevated mercury levels in some of the lake’s fish. Lake Elmo is moderately fertile (mesotrophic) with a maximum depth of 140 feet.

Part of the shore and land surrounding Lake Elmo is designated as the Lake Elmo Regional Park Reserve. The park is 2,165 acres with 80 percent of the land set aside for protection and preservation, a portion of which is being returned to its pre-1800’s state. The forest and prairie are home to red fox, woodpeckers, pheasants, weasels and white-tailed deer. Trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking cross the park, and there is camping available. An archery range and boat launch can also be found in the park. In the winter some of the trails are open for cross country skiing, but there is no winter access to Lake Elmo itself.

Lake Elmo is in Washington County, and there are vacation rentals and real estate for sale nearby. It is a short drive to St. Paul with easy access to all the amenities of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Restaurants, shops, museums and galleries are all available from Lake Elmo. As a result, the lake is an ideal getaway for the entire family. Anglers, outdoor enthusiasts, and city lovers will all find something to enjoy at Lake Elmo.

Things to Do at Lake Elmo

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish Species Found at Lake Elmo

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Lake Elmo

If you’re considering a Lake Elmo lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Elmo Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Elmo lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Elmo Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Washington County

Surface Area: 281 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 884 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 878 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 888 feet

Maximum Depth: 140 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Lake Elmo Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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