Lake Minnewaska, Minnesota, USA

Also known as:  Minnewaska Lake

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

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Lake Minnewaska MN visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Central -

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.

Custom Lake Minnewaska MN house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Minnewaska MN

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Lake Minnewaska MN photo gallery

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Lake Minnewaska MN statistics & helpful links


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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