In the Turtle Mountains near the US and Canadian border, you’ll find Lake Metigoshe State Park. Once home to Native American tribes, “Metigoshe” translates to “clear lake surrounded by oak trees.” The Civilian Conservation Corps, created by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression, had a work camp in the area beginning in 1934. Lake Metigoshe was established as a state park in 1937.
Open year round, the state park has plenty to offer its visitors each season. In the winter, Lake Metigoshe is a popular destination for ice fishing. There are miles of trails available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as well. In the warmer months, visitors can enjoy a swim in the lake, boating, and the canoe trail. In addition to the 1500-acre Lake Metigoshe, there are other smaller lakes within the state park. Campsites at the park are available by reservation only.
While there is much to see and do at Lake Metigoshe State Park there is also plenty of opportunity for rest and relaxation. The thick forests and rolling hills of the Turtle Mountains provide park visitors with a serene camping experience. Home to many different species of wildlife, you’re likely to encounter plenty. Keep an eye out on the quiet mornings to watch deer graze. If out on the water you may see a beaver. Visitors may even get lucky and spot a moose.
Lake Metigoshe State Park is located near the US and Canada border about 16 miles northeast of the city of Bottineau, North Dakota. To reach the park, you’ll find yourself driving through the beautiful Turtle Mountains, passing forests, prairies, and lakes. The scenery is breathtaking and the state park is just as stunning.
The roads are generally passable without any issues or hazards, but it is wise to keep an eye on weather reports. Snow and ice are common to the area with temperatures often below freezing in the winter time. Severe Thunderstorms may pass through the area in the summer months decreasing visibility and creating slick roads.
The state park isn’t far from the city of Bottineau if you need to pick up groceries or other supplies. If you need or want to venture to Bottineau, you can expect it to be about a 20-minute drive.
You’ll find an enjoyable camping experience at Lake Metigoshe State Park. Surrounded by forest, the campsites are mostly private. Enjoy the calm mornings and evenings watching wildlife or relaxing around the campfire. Cook your meals on the grill over the fire for a true outdoor experience.
There are two camping areas at the state park: Washegum and Maid O’Moonshine campgrounds. The two camping areas have 84 campsites between them with water and electric hookups. There are both back-in and pull-through campsites. None of the campsites have sewer connections, though there is a dump station within the state park. Campsites can be reserved online or over the phone.
You may bring your pets with you for your stay, but remember that they should be kept on a leash. There is an off-leash dog park where you can let your dog run and play. Other park amenities include a playground, picnic shelters, a sledding hill, and restrooms with showers and flush toilets.
Lake Metigoshe has a boat ramp located within the state park. Additionally, the park offers kayak and canoe rentals. Life jackets are included in the rental fee. Plan to take the canoe trail on Lake Metigoshe. This two-mile trail leads canoers through the wetlands and portages. Kayaks are welcome on the trail too! While exploring the lake you may spot a beaver and other wildlife.
On warmer days, beat the heat by jumping into the refreshing lake water. There is a sandy beach at the swimming area along with picnic tables. Take a swim, lounge in the sun, have a picnic and make a day of it by the lake.
Lake Metigoshe, along with other small lakes located within the park are great for fishing. The boat ramp, as well as four fishing docks, provide excellent access for anglers. You can expect to catch Northern Pike, Walleye, and Perch.
You’ll find that the park has plenty of trails for hiking and mountain biking. The three mile Old Oak Trail is for hiking only. All other trails are multi-use and include eight miles of trails on the east side of the park and an additional four miles on the west side. The trails run through thick forests and wetlands, so you’re likely to spot a number of different animals. Enjoy the beautiful scenery along the trails filled with forests, lakes, and rolling hills.
Lake Metigoshe State Park offers miles of trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter months. There are eight miles of trails on the east side of the park and another four miles on the west side that are groomed for winter activities. Cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals are available at the state park.
Ice fishing is popular at Lake Metigoshe during the winter season. Beneath the frozen surface of the lake are Bluegill and Crappie. Ice fishing at Lake Metigoshe attracts locals and visitors alike. Ice-out can begin as early as March, but as late as May. Be sure to check conditions before heading out onto the ice, especially later in the season.
The state park has a trail for snowmobiling. The Peace Garden trail is just under four miles and begins on the west end of the park near Lake Metigoshe. The trail continues outside of the state park into the International Peace Garden. Snowmobiles must be registered and licensed and are only permitted in designated areas of the park.