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Please check ahead before heading to Twin Cities Parks in 2020. Many amenities are temporarily closed to support social distancing.

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Lake Elmo Park Reserve and Beach

1515 Keats Ave N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042, United States
Admission: $0.00
Vehicle Fee- $7/daily; $30/annual - Waived on the First Tuesday of every month
Hours of Operation:
Mon. 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tue. 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wed. 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thu. 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Fri. 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sat. 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sun. 06:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Lake Elmo Park Reserve Office Hours are the same as park hours.

Lake Elmo Park Reserve is popular with families for swimming, fishing, camping and hiking. Of its over 2000 acres, 80 percent is set aside for preservation and protection, with a goal to return it to a pre-settler condition resembling in the mid-1800s. When away from the developed areas, visitors can spot a variety of wildlife. I recall rather bold raccoons circling our campsites at night. The park will began upgrading the hiking paths during the fall of 2019, among updates will be boardwalks along Eagle Point Lake.

Lake Elmo Park Reserve Beach

The beach may be the most popular destination at Lake Elmo. It is a man-made, chlorinated swimming pond, so you get the feel of a real beach with the chemical cleanliness of a pool. The beach is being updated during the summer of 2020 and is closed for those repairs. Find alternative beach options here.

The Playground at Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Elmo has a good sized play area near the beach. As far as play areas go, this is a pretty fun one, but probably still not worth the vehicle fee on its own. However, with its close proximity to the beach, families can spend a day at the park. It's a bit too far away to be able to watch kids on both the playground and the beach at the same time, but close enough to go back and forth several times during the afternoon. You can expect everyone to sleep well after a day at Lake Elmo.

There are other smaller play areas scattered throughout the park.

NOTE: The beach, beach building and nearby playground are due for updates beginning in 2020 and will be closed during that time.

Fishing in Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Elmo Park Reserve has a fishing pier near the campground and boat launch. It has a nearby play area for when the kids tire of sitting still. The Minnesota DNR says this is a hard lake to fish and it has fewer fish species than nearby St. Croix Lake.

Archery at Lake Elmo Park Reserve

This park has a year-round seven target archery range with yard markers and shooting stands. Find a list of more Twin Cities archery ranges here.

Lake Elmo Orienteering Courses

Orienteering is kind of a cross between geocaching and cross country. It is a sport that combines racing with navigation. To practice orienteering at Lake Elmo, you will need a map of the park and a compass. There are three levels of courses, all originating at the Eagle Point trailhead parking lot. If you don't have a map, you can purchase one at the park office.

Birthday Parties at Lake Elmo Park ReserveBirthday Parties at Lake Elmo

The picnic shelters are available to rent for Birthday Parties and other private gatherings. Again, because of the great beach, this is a popular place to host birthdays. Pavilion rates are $150 - $300/day. For more birthday party ideas, we have compiled FFTC's Ultimate Guide to Birthday Parties in the Twin Cities.

Camping at Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Elmo used to be my go-to spot for hike-in camping. It's been over a decade since we've camped there; and since they no longer allow dogs in campgrounds, we are unlikely to go back. However for a family, Lake Elmo may be a good choice for camping. It also has modern campgrounds if hauling kids and equipment up a trail is not your thing. It has that great beach. And, it is really close to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Over the winter of 2019/2020, Lake Elmo is working to improve electrical and water hook-ups to many of the modern sites. In addition, a new playground is being installed in the campground.

Family campsites run $19-$37/night depending on amenities and reservations open in early January. For other nearby camping ideas, Anne has compiled FFTC Family Camping Guide: Minnesota State Park Campgrounds.

Prairie Restorations at Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Washington County planted 16 acres of prairie (and prairie seed production plots) in Lake Elmo during the fall of 2018. You can find this prairie land west of the Rustic Campground. It help provide local seed sources for plantings. Up to 40 more acres will be planted in the coming year. Prairie areas are kept mowed  to a height of 10" throughout the growing season to help the native grasses establish.

Lake Elmo Park Reserve Park & Trail Maps

These Lake Elmo Maps and more can be found on Washington County's Parks and Trails Map page

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