Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota

Big Stone Lake State Park

By Jim Umhoefer
According to legend, Paul Bunyan’s 110-ton granite anchor was found at the bottom of Big Stone Lake. Although some doubt the veracity of Bunyan’s exploits, there is no doubt that the 26-mile-long Big Stone Lake, Minnesota’s 10th largest, is almost spacious enough for Paul to have taken a bath. Big Stone Lake State Park is located about six miles northwest of Ortonville on the Minnesota-South Dakota border in Minnesota’s Big Stone County.

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Big Stone Lake State Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Big Stone Lake public beach

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Trails
The park is split into two parcels. The northern section, called Bonanza, is a peaceful, quiet, day-use area. You can hike on self-guided nature trails or visit the Bonanza Educational Center. The Meadowbrook hiking trails, a total of three miles, pass by small patches of native prairie and some bluebird boxes.
Camping
The main campground is in the Meadowbrook area of Big Stone Lake State Park and has 37 sites on the lakeshore near the picnic area, swimming beach and boat launch.
Fishing and boating
Most visitors who come to use the lake put in from the drive-in access in Big Stone Lake State Park. The lake’s walleyes, perch and panfish attract anglers. Because Big Stone Lake is a border water, the fishing season opens two weeks earlier than inland waters. Water skiers and sail boaters enjoy lots of elbowroom on Big Stone, though winds can become powerful as they storm down the length of the narrow lake. Canoeists usually paddle close to shore unless the water is calm.
Wildlife
Deer, pheasant and Hungarian Partridge may be spotted in the main-use areas of the park and in the wildlife sanctuary to the east of the fish-rearing pond. The lake and sanctuary are excellent bird watching areas where some observers have seen pelicans.
Winter
Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park, but here are no groomed trails.
Root River Trail
Harmony Chamber
MNDNR license plate