Situated near Battle Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, Glendalough State Park is a 2,761-acre public recreation area reputed for its splendid natural features and historically significant sites. Glendalough is an Irish term meaning “Valley of Two Lakes.” The park has been named after a glacial valley in Ireland. True to its name, the park initially began as a union of two lakes, Annie Battle and Blanche Lake, comprising 30 acres of stunning lake vistas. Now, the park is home to even more lakeside beauty. The park owes its scenic charms to a total of five lakes- the park’s spotlight Annie Battle Lake, the oldest Lake Blanche, Sunset Lake: the land of captivating sunsets and abundant waterfowls, Lake Emma reputed for wildlife sightings, and the park’s picnic spot, Molly Stark Lake. Most of the lakeshores have been left untouched, sealing their ‘old-school charm’ for the visitors. Besides its undeveloped lakes, the park features gorgeous prairie landscape, marshy wetlands, high uplands, dense hardwood forests, varieties of birds, and abundant wildlife.
Glendalough got the status of a Minnesota state park in 1992 on Earth Day. Before being a state park, the property was being used as a resort and game farm. History buffs would be delighted to explore the rich historical heritage of the park. Glendalough Lodge, built in 1905, serves as an interpretive center providing insight into the park’s former history as a hunting camp, resort, and game farm. The lodge is also rented for day-use to visitors and campers. Summer, spring, and fall mark the peak season at the park.
The park offers two primitive camping sites for a unique and peaceful camping experience, free from any vehicular disturbance for cart-in and canoe-in camping. There are also two group campsites. RV camping is also offered during the winter with an electric RV campsite. A full-fledged RV campground can also be found nearby the park. Camping cabins and yurts are also provided to facilitate overnight lodging. The park is home to a multitude of recreation, fishing, boating, swimming, geocaching, and much more.
RV Rentals in Glendalough State Park
Transportation in Glendalough State Park
The park is situated on Whitetail Lane nearly three miles to the north of Battle Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota. Lake Avenue Road and County Road 16 will take roughly seven minutes to bring you to the park from the town of Battle Lake via a car or RV. The park can also be accessed within minutes via traveling to the north of State Highway 78. Upon getting into the park, you will find a parking lot at the entrance. The park office is located one mile to the left of the park entrance. Park permits and other necessities can be bought at the office. A gift shop also exists inside the office. There are clear instructions on the park roads helpful to navigate the park. A trail center for day use is located on Annie Battle Lake. A modern restroom building can also be found here. All hiking and biking trails of the park also begin here. Winter equipment is rented here. The historic Glendalough Lounge is also nearby. A wheelchair accessible fishing pier exists on Molly Stark Lake. Molly Stark Lake is also the park’s picnic spot. The picnic shelter is also located here. The park’s cart-in campground, also featuring four camping cabins, is located in the woods 200 to 1200 feet away from the parking lot. A canoe-in campground and a few yurts are located on Battle Creek. There is no entry in the park without a permit. The permit can be bought at the park office near the entrance.
Campgrounds and parking in Glendalough State Park
Campsites in Glendalough State Park
A canoe campground with three campsites is located on the northeastern shore of Annie Battle Lake. Canoes are provided to access the campground. Alternative options to reach the campground are hiking and biking.
The G1 Group Campsite is located on Battle Creek, nearby Molly Stark Lake. The group site is a tent-only site. Four picnic tables, four fire rings, a hand pump, and vault toilets are available at the campsite. The group site is ideal for groups as large as 40 people. The G2 Group site is the only canoe-in group campsite in the entire state situated between Annie Battle Lake and Battle Creek. The group site is fit for small groups up to 20 people.
The park’s cart-in campground offers four year-round cabins. Some also feature electricity and wheel-chair friendliness. The cabins feature a bedroom and a screen porch and are large enough to sleep five to six people. Three yurts are available year-round in the canoe-in campground with no electricity.
Reservations can be made by contacting the park one day to one year in advance.
Camping at Glendalough State Park is exceptional. The park offers a serene, peaceful, cart-in campground free from any vehicular disturbance. The campground exists in a quiet wooded area comprising 22 cart-in tent campsites. Free wheeled carts are offered to access the campground. An electric RV site is available, but only during the winter season. RV parking is completely non-existent in the summer to provide a primitive-style camping experience. A campground, exclusively for RV camping, can be found near the park though. The park’s electric RV site is equipped can be reserved by calling the park office. The RV site is only available from Oct 1 to May 1.
Reservations can be made from one day to one year in advance. Generators are not allowed and there is no Wi-Fi available. There is no dump station in the campground or anywhere in the park. The nearest dump station can be accessed at Battle Lake, roughly three miles away. Only six people are allowed to occupy a campsite. No more than two tents or two RVs are allowed on a campsite. Water is only available in the campground during the peak season that begins in May. Water is open year-round at the trail center at Annie Battle Lake. The campground’s restrooms are equipped with showers operating only during the peak season. Flush toilets and vault toilets can be found both in the campground and trail center.
First-Come, First-Served Options
There are no first-come, first-served options at this park.
Seasonal activities in Glendalough State Park
Picnicking at Molly Stark Lake
Steps away from Molly Stark Lake, a few tables have been laid out for the park’s RV and tent campers to enjoy a fancy picnic party. Also, if you are a large group of friends or family, the picnic shelter built at Molly Stark Lake is large enough to seat up to 100 people. The wheelchair friendly shelter is also available for reservations. The shelter comes with excellent amenities like electricity, pedestal grills, availability of drinking water at a distance of a few steps, and fire rings. A few picnic tables and beaches can also be found near the Annie Battle Lake Hiking Trail.
Boating and Swimming
It won’t be unjust to call Glendalough State Park the “land of lakes.” The park features five pristine, freshwater lakes which make excellent swimming and boating destinations. Sandy beaches have been built on the shores of two of the lakes that are no less than a blessing in hot summer days. Swimming is permitted. Lifejackets can be rented at the Anne Battle Lake. The park’s lakes are also a haven for boaters and paddlers. Don’t confine yourself in your RVs or tents. Take in the pleasures of boating, kayaking, or canoeing; boating equipment is available for rent at the Anne Battle Lake.
Fishing at Annie Battle Lake
The park’s most spectacular tourist destination, Annie Battle Lake, is home to incredible fishing opportunities. If you are a passionate angler planning to bring your RV or pitching a tent in the park’s campgrounds, you are highly suggested not to leave the park without exploring fishing at Annie Battle Lake. The 335-acre pristine lake is a “Heritage Fishery” stocked with sunfish, crappie, walleye, and large bass. No electronic fishing tools are permitted. Also, to regulate the supply of fishes in the lake, anglers are allowed to catch no more than five sunfish and five crappies a day.
Species like sunfish and bass can also be found in the waters of Molly Stark Lake. An ADA accessible fishing pier is also available.
Sightseeing and Wildlife Viewing
From natural wonders to historic sites, there is so much to explore at the park. Make sure you attend to every nook and corner of the park while on your RV or tent camping adventure. The park’s Sunset Lake offers you a chance to witness one of the most magnificent sunsets of your life. Observation decks located on Battle Creek and Lake Emma provide spectacular views of eagles, waterfowl, beavers, otters, pelicans, sandhill cranes, and many other resident birds and animals of the park. Glendalough Lounge, a symbol of 1990’s architectural style, offers interpretive displays on Glendalough’s history. The lodge is reputed to have hosted American presidents and vice presidents long before becoming a state park.
Enjoying Winter Activities
Glendalough State Park’s remarkable winter offerings will force RV campers to step out of their RVs, not caring of the chills at all. Eight out of the park’s nine miles of hiking trails are groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter. Snowshoeing is permitted everywhere at the park except the trails designated for skiing. Prairie Hill Trail Parking serves as a sliding hill. Other winter offerings at the park include snowmobiling and ice fishing. Skis and snowshoes are available at the park office and Annie Battle Lake.
Hiking and Biking
Glendalough State Park’s hiking and biking trails traversing through its pristine lakes and prairie landscape serve as the most refreshing treat for its RV campers. There are over 13 miles of hiking terrains that begin at Annie Battle Lake Trail quietly sneaking its way into the park’s wetlands, prairie lands, and sandy beaches. The Annie Battle Lake Trail is a nine-mile hiking trail that offers refreshing views of the park’s heartwarming scenery. Also, there are two self-guided trails, the one-and-a-half-mile Beaver Pond Trail and a half-mile Prairie Hill Trail featuring incredible vistas of the lakes and the prairie. The park also features a five-and-a-half-mile of finely paved biking trail to indulge in mountain biking while simultaneously exploring the park’s natural features and wildlife.