Situated about 40 miles southwest of Duluth, Moose Lake State Park features a mix of rolling hills, open fields, dense woods, woodland ponds, and fishing lakes. With recreation options for hikers, anglers, swimmers, paddlers, and wildlife enthusiasts alike, this Minnesota state park is an ideal choice for your next RV adventure.
At Moose Lake State Park, visitors eager to get on the water can enjoy paddling on quiet Echo Lake and can rent canoes and kayaks directly from the park. Swimmers can soak up the sun on the park’s swimming beach, while anglers can fish for bass, northerns, and panfish from the fishing pier. Those who would prefer to explore the park on land can hike along the park’s five miles of hiking trails, which lead visitors through the park’s varied landscape. Wildlife enthusiasts will meanwhile enjoy the wide variety of species who call the park home, including white-tailed deer, geese, ducks, and a diversity of songbirds. Visitors of all sorts can then cap off their adventures with a deeper dive into the geology of this Minnesota state park with a visit to the park’s Moose Lake Agate and Geological Center, which features interpretive displays on the rocks, minerals, and geology of the state.
Visitors can thank the organizing efforts of local residents for the park’s existence, as the park first opened in 1971 as a response to local demand for increased camping sites in the area. Today, the park offers 33 drive-in campsites, with a mix of electric and non-electric sites. Moose Lake State Park experiences long, cold, and snowy winters, so camping is only available from April until early November.
Located less than a mile east of I-35, Moose Lake State Park is very easy to access from the highway by RV or car. This Minnesota state park is located about 45 minutes southwest of Duluth along I-35.
Once inside the park, visitors should be prepared for some narrow roads, tight turns, and possible scraping branches from overhanging trees. After navigating these roads with the appropriate caution, visitors can plan to park their rig at their campsite, or at the various parking areas scattered throughout the park, including at the overflow parking areas in the campground, at the lot near the park office, and at the lot near the swimming and picnic area.
Guests can find gifts and novelty items at the nature store gift shop located inside the park at the Moose Lake Agate and Geological Center, but for more extensive needs, guests can check out several grocery stores and restaurants in the nearby town of Moose Lake, and can explore additional restaurants and stores within 10 miles in the towns of Barnum and Willow River.
Visitors to Moose Lake State Park can take advantage of the park’s 33 drive-in sites, spread across three campground loops. These sites are a mix of about half non-electric sites and half electric sites, which offer 30-amp hookups. These sites do not offer water or sewer hookups, but guests can make use of the drinking water spigots located in a few spots throughout the campground.
There is no dump station in the campground, so guests should make sure to plan ahead. Guests can also take advantage of restrooms and showers conveniently located in the middle of the three loops, and can enjoy easy access to a hiking trail from the center loop, which takes hikers up to Echo Lake. The campground showers are on until early October, and camping is available from April until November. These sites are all back-in, and can accommodate rigs of up to 60 feet long. Reservations for these sites can be made online or by phone.
Some of the most popular ways to enjoy Moose Lake State Park during the park’s peak season include boating and fishing on Echo Lake. The park makes it easy to enjoy these activities, as canoes and kayaks are available to rent at the park, so even those who don’t bring a boat with them can enjoy paddling along the lake. Anglers can meanwhile enjoy fishing for northerns, walleyes, and largemouth bass in both Moosehead and Echo Lakes, and for panfish in Echo Lake from the fishing pier located near the swimming beach.
Visitors eager to cool off in the summer months can take advantage of Moose Lake State Park’s swimming beach, located on the northern side of Echo Lake. Swimmers can relax on the sandy beach, take a dip in the cool waters of Echo Lake, play volleyball on the nearby court, enjoy a game of horseshoes, and top it off with a picnic while looking out onto the park’s central feature. Swimming is only open during the warm summer months, so visitors hoping to take advantage of the sandy beach on Echo Lake should make sure to plan their trip accordingly.
While Moose Lake State Park is an obvious choice for those looking for water recreation, hikers will be happy to hear that the park also offers around five miles of hiking trails. These trails range from easy to moderate and take visitors through forests and meadows, and along marshes and lakes. Those looking to catch a stunning sunrise during their visit should plan to take an early morning hike on the one-mile West Echo Lake Trail, which heads west from the picnic area along the lakeshore and then takes hikers up a wooded hillside overlooking Echo Lake.
The Moose Lake Agate and Geological Center is a must-see at Moose Lake State Park. This 4,500 square foot center opened in 2003 and features an exhibition hall highlighting Minnesota’s gemstone, the Lake Superior Agate, as well as interactive displays showcasing the rocks, minerals, and geology of Minnesota. Visitors eager to get a deeper look into the geological elements that define this region should make sure to carve out some time during their trip to stop by this well-curated center.
Birdwatchers will find that there is plenty for them to discover at Moose Lake State Park. Wildlife Pond Trail, which stretches as a one-mile loop through wooded and prairie habitats, is an especially great stroll for birdwatching. Visitors can pick up a birding checklist from the park office that details the prevalence of various birds throughout the seasons, and can keep their eyes out for ruby-crowned kinglet, gray catbird, cedar waxwing, yellow warbler, American redstart, northern cardinal, and American goldfinch, to name a few.
Visitors who make the trek to Moose Lake State Park in the snowy winter season will be rewarded with miles and miles of winter wonderland recreation. While there are no groomed ski trails at the park, visitors are welcome to enjoy backcountry skiing throughout the park’s snow-covered trails. For even more winter adventures, visitors are welcome to snowshoe anywhere throughout the park. So, visitors eager to get a healthy dose of winter recreation should pack up their cross country skis and snowshoes and head straight to Moose Lake State Park.