La Salle Lake State Recreation Area

In the area

From Explore MN Tourism

Park Info

Image of La Salle Lake State Park

Quick stats

986 acres


There is no naturalist on staff at this location.


At 221 acres and 213 feet deep, with over 18,600 feet of shoreline, LaSalle Lake is one of Minnesota's most pristine and deepest lakes. The lake supports walleye, northern pike, large mouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill sunfish populations.


In the early 1990s, an early Native American Elk Lake Culture prehistoric site was discovered adjacent to LaSalle Creek near the outlet of LaSalle Lake. The site was identified during planning for an upgrade of the county highway and was partially excavated in 1995 before the road was rebuilt.

The Institute for Minnesota ArchaeologyThis link leads to an external site. states: "...artifacts recovered from the LaSalle Creek site have provided archaeologists with a clearer picture of how the producers of Brainerd Ware ceramics lived, what they ate, and what tools they made. In addition, the date of 3,180 years ago obtained from charred residue on the inside of a ceramic sherd at the LaSalle Creek Site is one of the earliest known dates for an Elk Lake Culture occupation in Minnesota."

The northern headwaters of the Mississippi River is an extremely important area for these early archaeological sites, and additional cultural resource areas may be discovered on the property.


Because the side slopes of the LaSalle Creek glacial tunnel valley and LaSalle Lake's bottom are so steep, the lake's littoral zone is relatively narrow and represents a very small portion of the lake's surface area.


The landscape was identified by the Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS) as an area of "High and Outstanding Biodiversity Significance." Over 90 species of trees and shrubs and more than 140 species of herbaceous plants, including 12 species of orchids, have been surveyed and recorded growing in the area.

MCBS has also identified numerous rare, threatened, endangered, and special concern species of plants and animals, including ram's head lady slipper, hair-like sedge, northern oak fern, two species of caddisfly, and trumpeter swan.

LaSalle Lake's west facing slopes host red pine and jack pine forests and woodlands. East facing slopes are covered with hardwood forests that include occasional large white pines, balsam fir, and white spruce. To the north, close to where the LaSalle Creek empties into the Mississippi River, a small but high quality old-growth northern white cedar forest exists where springs emerge from terraced slopes.

A portion of La Salle Lake SRA has been designated as a scientific and natural area (SNA), recognizing the high quality native communities and rare plant and animal species found there.