Lake Elmo Park Reserve is a treasure to all Lake Elmo residents. Covering 2,165 acres, it’s the biggest tract of public land located in Washington County. While visiting the park, you can experience prairie, woods, savanna, and wetlands. Hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, camping, archery, and swimming are all available in the park. While participating in these activities, watch for pheasants, white-tailed deer, weasels, squirrels, red fox, cottontail rabbits, woodpeckers, and cardinals.
Find Lake Elmo Park Reserve where County Road 19 (Keats Avenue North) and County Road 10 (10th Street North) intersect. It is 2.5 miles east of Interstate 694 and 1 mile north of Interstate 94. Washington County has initiated many improvements to the park, thanks in part to a grant from the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Fund. A new parking lot and entrance has been added off of Inwood Ave. New trails have been created and work has started to restore 166 acres of oak savanna and prairie. Invasive species are being removed and more trails have been marked as multi-use, making the park a great choice for outdoor activities year-round.
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Lake Elmo Park Reserve Trails and Facilities
There are many great activities for the whole family at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. Make memories hiking, picnicking, spending time at the beach, camping, cross country skiing, mountain biking, and more. Read on to discover details about all that Lake Elmo Park Reserve has to offer.
Lake Elmo Beach is one of the most popular summer destinations in the park. The swimming pond is man-made and chlorinated, which means you get the best of both a beach and pool experience. Most areas of the pond are shallow, with the deepest parts measuring around 6 feet in depth. Lifeguards are on duty everyday Memorial Day through Labor Day and child-sized life jackets are available to borrow. Admission is free for swimming, but you do need a vehicle permit to enter the park. This permit costs $7 per day or $30 per year. Due to COVID-19, the beach was closed during summer 2020. When it comes time for the beach to open in May 2021, check current COVID-19 restrictions to see if swimming will be possible this summer.
There are several types of experiences available for Lake Elmo camping. These include group, hike-in, modern, and rustic campgrounds. If you need camping gear, there is a Cabela’s located nearby.
8400 Hudson Road
Woodbury, MN 55125
Choose from three group campsites. Each site can accommodate up to 50 people and a picnic table and fire ring/grill is available at each site. Group site #2 also includes a small picnic shelter. Pets are not allowed and vault or portable toilets are available.
Five hike-in tent sites are available. One tent is allowed per site and sites are located between 100 yards and 300 yards from the parking lot. No pets are allowed and bathrooms and water are available at the Nordic Center.
The modern campground has 80 campsites. Most sites are back-in and can accommodate tents, trailers, or motor homes. All sites offer electrical service and a picnic table/fire ring/grill. Pets are not allowed, but there is a play area, dump station, modern bathroom facilities with hot showers and flush toilets. The campground is handicap accessible.
Horses are allowed at the 20 rustic Lake Elmo campground sites. None of these sites offer electricity, but they do have a picnic table and a fire ring/grill. No pets are allowed and portable toilets are available.
The Hiking Trails
There are eight hiking trails located at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. Some trails are dedicated to certain activities and all are various lengths and difficulties. Tackle several trails on one visit or come back several times to experience them all.
Eagle Point Lake Inner Trail
This trail is a 3.8 mile loop that is easy and moderately trafficked. Enjoy views of the lake and watch for wildlife while walking, hiking, running, or mountain biking. The trail is best used from May to October.
Lake Elmo Multi-use Trail
Suitable for walking, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and viewing wildlife, the Lake Elmo Multi-use trail is a seven-mile loop. Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are on a leash. The trail is nice and wide, making enough room for everyone.
Big Bluestem Trail
The Big Bluestem Trail is located near camping areas and gets a fair amount of use. It is a 2.6 mile out and back trail that is great for hiking and leisurely walks. Enjoy beautiful lake views and watch for wildlife while spending time on this trail.
Bur Oak and Northern Lights Loop
A great hike for kids, the Bur Oak and Northern Lights Loop is just under two miles in length. It is great for walking and hiking, with nice views. The best months to use this trail are May through October.
Lake Elmo Paved Trail
The Lake Elmo Paved Trail is great for wheelchairs, strollers, and road biking since it’s paved. Dogs on a leash are welcome on the trail, which is a 3.8 mile loop. There are some nice views of the lake and it’s a nice place to view wildflowers and watch for birds.
Lake Elmo Green Loop
Another good trail for all skill levels, the Lake Elmo Green Loop is 2.3 miles in length. The trail features a nice forest setting and is used for hiking and walking. Enjoy some nice lake views and the shade during the summer.
Big Bluestem and Eagle Point Loop
The longest trail at Lake Elmo Regional Park, Big Bluestem and Eagle Point Loop is 6.2 miles in length. Horses are able to use this trail and it’s also great for hiking and walking. A large part of the trail is forest and there are some lovely lake views along the way.
Yellow and Orange Paved Loop
The first 0.2 miles of the Yellow and Orange Paved Loop is paved, but the trail turns to grass after that. Keep that in mind if using mobility equipment. The trail has nice lake views and is only 1.5 miles long. It’s a great trail for kids, hikers, and walkers.
Nordic Rock Ski Rental and Info
The Nordic Center at Lake Elmo Park Reserve is a warm and inviting facility that can be reserved for parties, weddings, social events, and business meetings. It’s also open for bathrooms and vending machines for park visitors every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The facility is surrounded by the woods, water, and beauty of the reserve. Amenities include:
- Seating for 84 people
- Sound system with two microphones
- TV with laptop connections
- Air conditioning for comfort in the warm months
- Fireplace for warmth in the cooler months
The center is available for rental from April through October. Costs are $200 for rentals Monday through Thursday for less than four hours, $300 for Monday for Thursday for more than four hours, and $600 for rentals Friday through Sunday. All vehicles entering the park must have a permit. Rental hours are from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. During the winter months this facility serves as the hub for cross country skiing in the park and is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cross Country Ski Trail and Rental Info
Cross country skiing is a terrific way to stay active all winter long. It’s a fun way to enjoy the beautiful snow and the outdoors while getting a good workout. Ski rentals are available at Nordic Rocks at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. These are introductory level cross country skis and can be worn over a traditional winter boot. Youth and adult sizes are available and adjustable poles are included in the rental. Rental rates for three hours are $10 for adults and $5 for youth.
If you are interested in purchasing your own cross country ski equipment, here is a good choice.
Hi Tempo Ski Shop
3959 Hwy 61 N
St. Paul, MN 55110
There are several trails open to choose from at the reserve for winter sports. Two (skate and classic) are for cross country skiing only. One is 8.6 miles long, and the other is 5.3 miles and lighted. Two are multi-use trails that can be enjoyed by hikers, mountain bikers, and cross country skiers. Pets are also allowed on these trails as long as they are on a leash. One multi-use trail is 7.1 miles and the other is 3.4 miles long. There is also a 5-mile snowmobile trail available. All adults 18 and over must have a Washington County ski pass. These can be purchased online, at a park office, or at a pay station. Rates are $6 daily or $30 annually.
Lake Elmo Hours and Helpful Contact Details
Lake Elmo Park Reserve is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The park office is a great resource, here is the contact information:
1515 Keats Ave. N.
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
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- Can you swim in Lake Elmo? You can’t swim in Lake Elmo, but you can go fishing and boating in the lake. There is a swimming beach located in a different area within Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
- What County is Lake Elmo in? Lake Elmo is in Washington County.
- Are Washington County Parks closed? Although there have been some operational changes, Washington County Parks are open.
- What is a good size house for a family of four in Lake Elmo? The ideal size of a house for a family of four is between 2,400 and 2,800 square feet. Search for homes of this size in Lake Elmo on our Lake Elmo homes for sale page.