Lake Carlos State Park

In the area

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Lake Carlos State Park

Sculpted by ancient glaciers, Lake Carlos State Park contains a tamarack bog, marshes, woodland ponds, and lakes.

A variety of recreational activities revolve around the lake. Clear and deep, Lake Carlos offers visitors a perfect setting for swimming, fishing, boating, camping, hiking and horseback riding. In the winter, ski from the tamarack bog to a maple-basswood forest.

Tell me more about this park's wildlife, history, geology and landscape.

Visitor Alert

Fire Danger

Due to the current fire conditions, campfires are only allowed in the metal fire rings. Fires must be attended to at all times. Click here to review campfire safety tips. Click here to review current burning restrictions.

Remember this camping season, ONLY DNR State Approved Firewood is allowed inside state parks. Click here for more information.


Hiking and horse trails are open for the season, however have many soft spots due to the frost still in the ground. Contact the park for current information, 320-852-7200.

DUMP STATION is closed for the season. The lower campground sanitation buildings and dump station are scheduled to be turned on for the season on May 5th. The upper campground sanitation buildings are scheduled to be turned on May 19th. Vault toilets remain available throughout the park. For more information see seasonal updates.

Naturalist Programs

For more information on programs see naturalist programs and other activities.

(Updated Apr. 5, 2017)

Park Notes

Zebra Mussels Found on Lake Carlos:

Zebra mussels are now in Lake Carlos and throughout the Alexandria Chain of Lakes. Boaters are required to inspect and remove all visible aquatic plants, animals and mud from their boats, trailers and equipment in order to prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels. Large groups of Zebra Mussels can kill native mussels, harm fish populations, and interfere with recreational opportunities. Learn more about invasive aquatics.

Virtual Tour:

Take a virtual tour. It's a great tool to help you plan your next trip to the park!
Panoramic tour | Snapshot tour

Gift Cards:

Purchase a Minnesota State Parks Gift Card.

Don't move firewood!

Burning non-local firewood can spread invasive species, and it's against Minnesota state law. Learn more. Always buy your firewood at the park, or from an approved local vendor. Find firewood vendors for Lake Carlos State Park.


Bird Checklist This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. at Lake Carlos State Park.

Park Highlights

tree Camping

tree Fishing on Chain of Lakes

tree Birdwatching

tree Hiking Through Rolling Hills

tree Swimming/Boating

tree Water Recreation


Best time to contact the park:

Daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please leave a message if no one is available.


2601 County Road 38 Northeast
Carlos, MN 56319

tel: 320-852-7200


Getting There

The park entrance is located 10 miles north of Alexandria on State Highway 29, then 2 miles west on Highway 38.