Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota

Lake Bronson State Park

By Jim Umhoefer
Lake Bronson State Park is a 4,375-acre island of aspen-oak forest and prairie in a sea of farm fields in far northwestern Minnesota. It wraps around Lake Bronson reservoir, which was built in 1936 to protect the lake-less county from drought and offer swimming, boating and fishing opportunities. A unique feature of this part of the park is the dunes with their fine sugar sands and the iconic WPA-era water and observation tower. Lake Bronson State Park is located one mile east of Lake Bronson just off the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway in Minnesota’s Kittson County.

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The iconic water/observation tower was built by the WPA in the 1930s at Lake Bronson State Park

The iconic water/observation tower was built by the WPA in the 1930s

 

Runners participating in the annual Lake Bronson Adventure Race at Lake Bronson State Park

Runners participating in the annual Lake Bronson Adventure Race

 

Maggie (Margaret) Bronson and her husband Giles were the first settlers in the area. The town of Bronson is named after them

Maggie (Margaret) Bronson and her husband Giles were the first settlers in the area. The town of Bronson is named after them

 
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Trails
There is a two mile paved trail from the lakeside campground to the swimming beach, 14 miles of hiking trails and five miles of mountain bike trails. Equestrians have access to eight miles of horse trails. Visitors can hike to one pioneer cemetery in the northeastern corner of the park or take a paved bike trail around the southwestern part of the lake to another one.

Interpretive sign on the hiking trail along the shores of Lake Bronson with a view of Moose Island at Lake Bronson State Park

Interpretive sign on the hiking trail along the shores of Lake Bronson with a view of Moose Island

Runners participating in the annual Lake Bronson Adventure Race at Lake Bronson State Park

Runners participating in the annual Lake Bronson Adventure Race

Early wildflowers come up between the headstones in the pioneer cemetery at Lke Bronson State Park

Early wildflowers come up between the headstones in the pioneer cemetery

Camping
The park has 152 drive-in sites, three backpack sites and a group camp. A canoe-in site is available on Moose Island in the middle of Lake Bronson. A very scenic backpack site is in the northern part of the park at a bend in the south branch of Two Rivers.
Winter
A local volunteer occasionally grooms cross-Country ski trails. Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park.

Exploring the park on ski shoes at Lake Bronson State Park

Exploring the park on ski shoes

Winter landscape of mixed woods and prairie at Lake Bronson State Park

Winter landscape of mixed woods and prairie

Paul Bunyan Trail
Park Rapids Chamber