Lake Carlos State Park

In the area

From Explore MN Tourism

Fall Colors

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Take a walk on the Maple-Basswood or Forestry Demonstration...
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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

2016 Reservations changes

  • All campsites at this park are reservable.
  • Same-day reservations are now available.
  • If you need help making a reservation, call 866-857-2757.
  • For more details, read the FAQ.

Seasonal update

All boat ramp docks and fishing docks are in at Lake Carlos State Park.

Trails are open to all hikers and horse riders. Please call the park office for current conditions.

DUMP STATION is open. Water is on to the lower campground. The upper campground sanitation buildings and water are shut off for the season. Vault toilets remain available throughout the park.

November deer hunt

The park will have a special permit deer hunt during November 5 - 6, 2016. For more information, visit hunting in state parks.

Naturalist Programs

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

(Updated Sept. 19, 2016)

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.