Glacial Lakes State Park

Quick Facts

Glacial Lakes State Park

Minnesota

(320) 239-2860

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Stand on top of the scenic glacial hills and experience the vast, open prairie which once dominated Minnesota. Wildflowers and prairie grasses blanket the landscape from spring through fall. Swim, fish or boat (electric motors only) in the fresh, clear waters of 56-acre Mountain Lake. A shady, spacious campground is available; horseback riders and backpack campers can camp at the trail center and at remote sites. Canoe rental available. A picnic area deck overlooks Mountain Lake.

Many species of prairie and woodland birds make their home at Glacial Lakes. Take the Prairie-Woodland Interpretive Trail or visit marshland areas to see a variety of bird and mammal life. Squirrels, deer, beaver, wood ducks, raccoons, pileated woodpeckers and occasionally coyotes can be seen.

Glacial Lakes was established as a state park in 1963 to preserve the rolling prairies of the area, the comparatively pristine condition of the land its rich prairie flora. The park preserves a special kind of landform and was an important addition to the Minnesota state park system.

Glacial Lakes State Park is located in western Minnesota in a geological area commonly known as the Leaf Hills. This region, a 10- to 19-mile-wide band of glacial hills unlike any other in the state, extends from Detroit Lakes to Willmar. As glacial ice advanced southward, hills and bluffs were sheared off down to the bedrock. When the ice retreated, it deposited the rocks, gravel and dirt once suspended within it.

The park is located at a crossroads or transition zone between the original prairie land to the west and the central hardwood forests to the east. Only about 1/10 of 1 percent of the original Minnesota prairie remains. The park preserves a portion of rare native prairie including a wide variety of grasses and forbs such as the big and little bluestem grass, Indian grass, prairie clover, pasque flowers, coneflowers, and goldenrods. Common prairie shrubs include wolfberry and rose. Check at the park office to see what wildflowers might be in bloom during your visit. Enjoy the clear and clean 56-acre Mountain Lake that has its entire watershed inside the park.

Map of Glacial Lakes (MN)

Latitude, Longitude: 45.533494, -95.516456

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    The park offers drive-in boat access. Only electric motors are permitted. Boats, canoes, kayaks and electric motors are available for rent May 1 to November 1.

  • Bicycling

    Five miles of paved bike trail stretches from the park entrance to the city of Starbuck

  • Camping

    The park offers 37 drive-in sites; 14 sites are electric. Camping is also available in the winter including use of electric sites. In winter, however, campers must ski or snowshoe to these sites. Eight sites are found at horse camp. The Southeast Campsite near Mountain Lake is a group camp and can accommodate up to 50 people. Seasonal cabins are available April through Labor Day. Friends cabin sleeps 6 and Coneflower cabin sleeps 5 (ADA accessible). Year-round cabins have heat, electricity, and a porch. Kettle, Kame, and Glacial Erratic cabins sleep 6. Esker cabin sleeps 5 and is ADA accessible. Backpack campers can camp at the trail center and at remote sites.

  • Fishing

    A fishing pier and fishing are available at the lake in the park. The 56-acre Mountain Lake offers fishing for largemouth bass, panfish and northern pike.

  • Hiking

    In addition to 16 miles of hiking trails, the park offers a .5 mile self-guided tour

  • Horseback Riding

    The park contains 11 miles of horse trails and offers a horse camp with eight sites.

  • Picnicking

    An accessible picnic area with open shelter below beautiful oak-covered hills and a scenic overlook with a picnic deck are enjoyed by park visitors.

  • RVing

    A dump station is open seasonally and generally closes after the first substantial snowfall. The RV length limit is 45 feet.

  • Winter Sports

    The park maintains 6 miles of un-groomed cross-country ski trails. There are 11 miles of snowmobile trail in the park with approximately 20 additional miles of snowmobile trails available within 10 miles of the park. Snowshoers are allowed anywhere in the park except ski trails.

Seasonality/Weather

Showers and water services (except year-round drinking water available near the park office) are turned on only during summer months. The Lower campground is open year round. Sites are hike-in/ski in after snowfall. Reservations are not needed September to May. Cabins are reservable all year. Boats, canoes, kayaks and electric motors are available for rent May 1 to November 1. Astronomy programs are held at sundown the third Saturday of the month May through August at the horse camp, weather permitting.

Park Partners

Directions

Driving

From the town of Starbuck, go 3 miles south on Highway 29, then 2 miles south on County Road 41

Phone Numbers

Primary

(320) 239-2860

Links