Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The 1,231-acre Lake Carlos State Park is situated on the north end of Lake Carlos and is located about ten miles north of Alexandria, Minnesota. The park is in a hardwood transition area between the prairies to the southwest and the softwood forest to the northeast. Ancient glaciers shaped the landscape of the area which includes ponds, wetlands, meadows, lakes, and hills.

Many recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, and water sports are centered around Lake Carlos. Lake Carlos is 2,520 acres in size making it the largest in the Alexandria chain of lakes. It is also the deepest at 163 feet. Gamefish commonly caught in Lake Carlos include bass, walleye, northern pike, bluegills, and perch. The park has a boat launch, fishing dock, and fish cleaning station. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent.

In addition to lake activities, visitors have access to 17 miles of hiking trails and 9 miles of trails for horseback riding. There is a picnic area with fire rings near the beach as well as a volleyball court.

Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling. There are 6 miles of groomed classical cross-country skiing trails in the park. Snowshoes are available for rent and can be used anywhere in the park except for on the groomed trails. There are 9 miles of snowmobile trails in the park that connect to the 500-mile Douglas Area Trail Association trail system.

There are two drive-in campgrounds in the park with a total of 121 sites, 81 of the sites have electric hook ups. In addition to the main campgrounds, there are two group sites and seven horse camp sites. The park also offers four camper cabins for rent which are available year-round.

A fee is required for the park. A Minnesota state park day use or annual permit can be purchased at the Park Office. Dogs are allowed in most areas of the park when kept on a leash. A link to the Minnesota DNR website for Lake Carlos State Park can be found here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Day-Use Fee

Open Year-round



Access to Lake Carlos.


Can be crowded.


ADA accessible
Vault toilet
Boat ramp(s)
Horseback riding
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Rental facilities
Dump stations
Near lake or river
Potable water
Covered picnic areas
Picnic tables


Nearby Adventures

Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota
Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota
Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota
Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota
Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota


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