Lake Minnewaska, Minnesota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Central -

Also known as:  Minnewaska Lake

Perfectly positioned in Minnesota’s Central region for easy access, Lake Minnewaska offers the best of everything in lake-based recreation. Over 7,000 acres of water offer fishing, boating, water sports, nature observation, and relaxation. Two small, tourist-friendly shoreline towns provide public beaches, camping and needed supplies while offering festivals geared to both a young generation of adventurers and traditionalists alike. All types of watercraft ply the lake, from ski boats to jet-skis to kayaks and standing paddleboards. And bass boats are a common site, since bass tournaments are regularly held at the lake. Eighteen miles of shoreline offers front-row views to those who call Lake Minnewaska home-even for a little while.

Lake Minnewaska is only a few miles from the Alexandria Chain of Lakes, with hundreds of lakes large and small sharing this area of central Minnesota. The town of Glenwood at the east end of the lake and the town of Starbuck at the west end offer a municipal swimming beach with picnic facilities. Both also provide parks with camping facilities. Hobo Park in Starbuck offers a marina with slips available for rent to campers. The marina also serves as one of the three public boat access points. Marine repairs and supplies are available near the south shore. Lake visitors enjoy water skiing, tubing, jet skiing, pontooning, power boating, wakeboarding, canoeing, kayaking, standing paddleboarding and swimming.

Walleye and largemouth bass vie for the title of ‘King of Minnewaska’ among anglers. A prime walleye lake, the large sport fish breed well naturally and are regularly stocked by the Minnesota DNR. Bass bring tournament fishermen on a regular basis. The lake also provides a goodly supply of black crappie, bluegill, smallmouth bass, northern pike and panfish with a sampling of cisco and yellow perch. Fishing pressure is heavy, including during ‘hard water season’ when ice fishermen appear in large numbers. In addition to the public boat ramp at Hobo Park and Marina, two more concrete boat ramps are open to the public at the opposite end of the lake near Glenwood.

Other winter sports enthusiasts emerge for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowmobiling. A year-round recreation destination, many of the resorts, private rentals and motels are open for business all winter long. Those seeking the beauty and silence of a pristine snowfall will find this a perfect time to visit one of several bed & breakfasts in the area.

Walking and cycling fans will find plenty of paved trails and paths in the surrounding countryside. One favorite is the 21.6-mile Lake Minnewaska Loop which roughly circles the lake, although not right at the shoreline. Another is the Villard-Glenwood Trail, traveling over six miles from north of Glenwood to Villard. A third is the 4.5-mile Starbuck Trail to Glacial Lakes State Park to the south. The cycling trails offer the opportunity to linger at overlook sites for viewing the lake area atop local small hills. Glacial Lakes State Park itself offers a number of small lakes that can be fished from rented canoe, row boat or electric motors; the Park also offers camping, horseback trails and equestrian and backpack camping. The small lakes attract a variety of birds, and the park is a great place for bird and wildlife watching.

Both Glenwood and Starbuck produce a number of annual festivals and activities guaranteed to attract visitors. Glenwood’s Waterama features a lighted, night boat parade, water shows, land-based parades with floats, vendors, childrens rides and activities, dances, sporting events and a long-running beauty pageant. An Arts and Crafts Show and a car show attract special-interest attendees. Starbuck attracts visitors to watch the Dragon Boat races during the Dragon Boat Festival. Heritage Days celebrates the Norwegian heritage of the early settlers, often on display in the town. The Eple Tiden (‘Apple Time’ in Norwegian) market day celebration, 5k and 10k races, and the long-running Starbuck Invitational Golf Tournament offer something to suit everyone’s interests. Children especially enjoy little Holly Skogen Park, also known as Troll Park. This little wooded gem features a whole tribe of tiny gnomes and trolls that have taken up residence along the trails and pop up in the most unexpected places. On the north shore near Glenwood, Indian Mound Park holds an ancient mound reputed to be the burial place of Princess Minnewaska.

Lake Minnewaska’s shoreline is residential with a large number of beautiful homes. Many properties can be rented for short stays and often come equipped with a pontoon boat. Several campgrounds and RV Parks are located nearby, often with beaches and fishing docks. A few resorts still exist here that rent cottages or lodge-style rooms. Real estate is available, mostly in the form of existing homes. Many are on large lots, often several acres in size. Because the lake is only 2.5 hours west of the Twin Cities area, the Lake Minnewaska area is a desirable location for a seasonal or weekend getaway home and is a fine location for retirement properties. Nearby Alexandria offers such treasures as Art In The Park, and antique shops and farm markets dot the surrounding countryside. There is never a shortage of things to see and do near Lake Minnewaska.

Things to do at Lake Minnewaska MN

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lake Minnewaska MN

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Cisco
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Minnewaska MN Photo Gallery

    Lake Minnewaska MN Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Surface Area: 7,110 acres

    Shoreline Length: 18 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,140 feet

    Maximum Depth: 32 feet

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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