Lake Vermilion, Minnesota, USA

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

If you’re considering Lake Vermilion vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Lake Vermilion guide!

Lake Vermilion visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Northeast -

Known as “Lake of the Sunset Glow” by its ancient Ojibwe inhabitants, northeastern Minnesota’s sunny Lake Vermilion is a positively ideal getaway. This immaculate body of water is enormous, featuring a surface area of 40,557 acres and an average depth of 76 feet. Smack in the middle of the Minnesota wilderness, the region is bordered by untamed Superior National Forest. With its exquisite sunsets, unbelievable fishing opportunities, and array of water activities, it is no wonder the natural freshwater lake is one of the most popular in the state.

Lake Vermilion’s extensive history goes all the way back to 7000 B.C., when humans first began to prosper there. French traders built a harbor at Lake Vermilion in 1670, in order to better trade furs with the Sioux Indians. Today, residents of the Chippewa tribe still reside in the surrounding areas. A gold rush in 1865 proved itself fruitless just a few years later, but nonetheless served to attract many settlers to the lake. Iron ore deposits were discovered shortly thereafter, providing a convenient replacement for the recently established gold mining industry. Nearby towns, such as Soudan and the City of Tower, began to grow and thrive. Finally, a dam was constructed in 1890 to support the expanding communities.

These days, anglers travel from far and wide to trawl Lake Vermilion’s depths for 13 species of fish: black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, burbot, largemouth bass, northern pike, pumpkin seed, rock bass, smallmouth bass, tullibee, walleye, white sucker, and yellow perch. As a participant in Minnesota’s fisheries monitoring program, known as the Large Lake Program, water quality and fish populations are meticulously researched and measured on an annual basis. The program acts as an environmental safeguard confirming that fishermen are following the lake’s rules and regulations, while simultaneously ensuring that local fish populations are sustained for generations to come.

There is truly something for everyone at Lake Vermilion, with activities ranging from boating to berry picking. From June to August, surrounding woods supply vast amounts of juicy raspberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and blackberries just ripe for the plucking. Paddle boating and canoeing are idyllic methods of exploring the lake’s hidden shores and 365 lonely islands (one for each day of the year). Hydrobikes, motorized vehicles somewhat similar to two kayaks connected by a bike seat, can be rented on a daily or weekly basis, as can kayaks, bicycles, and jet skis. Windsurfing, water skiing, fishing, tubing, and horseback riding are other popular diversions. Numerous biking and hiking trails located throughout the park are wonderful for bird and wildlife lovers, and vary from easy to moderate in intensity. During the winter, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, and dog sledding are exciting entertainment alternatives.

Due to its breathtaking natural beauty and incredible variety of activities, Lake Vermilion is the perfect destination for those in search of a lakeside vacation rental or real estate property. Facilities include restaurants, budget to upscale hotels and cabins, boat docks and picnic areas. There is no better place than Lake Vermilion to enjoy superb fishing, Minnesota’s rich history, and the great outdoors.

*note* shoreline length statistic does not include islands.

Custom Lake Vermilion house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Lake Vermilion

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Lake Vermilion

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Burbot
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Vermilion

The Lake Vermilion map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

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Lake Vermilion photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Vermilion statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 40,557 acres

Shoreline Length: 202 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,358 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,356 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,360 feet

Average Depth: 19 feet

Maximum Depth: 76 feet

Drainage Area: 495 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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