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Leech Lake

The Leech Lake Recreation Area is situated at the outlet of Leech Lake in the town of Federal Dam, Minn. The recreation area is located about 200 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

There are two boat ramps that give access to Leech Lake, which is famous for its walleye, perch, bass, northern pike and musky.

The campground offers a wooded camping setting and a mooring canal for overnight mooring of boats. The shoreline is comprised of a mixed forest, which includes elm-ash, maple-basswood, birch-aspen and pine-mixed hardwoods communities. There is also a marsh.

The campground is clean and well maintained and offers campsites, picnic areas, hiking trails, playgrounds, showers shelters, restrooms, a dump station and a laundry facility. Some camper and tent sites can be reserved. Some have electricity, water and/or sewer systems.

Brochure (pdf) 
Map and Directions (pdf)


Leech Lake Dam is located on the Leech Lake River at the outlet of Leech Lake. It is 27 miles above the junction of the Leech Lake River and the Mississippi River. Construction began in 1882; the dam was the second to be built in the Headwaters reservoir system. It was put into operation in 1884. The riverbanks are about 3,500 feet apart at the dam site, the largest span in the system.

Between 1900 and 1903, reinforced concrete was used to replace the timber abutments and bays. The present 294-foot control structure consists of reinforced concrete abutments and piers supported by timber pilings with slide gates installed into five of the 25 6-foot sluiceways and one 12-foot log sluice.

The Leech Lake dam tender’s house was built between 1902 and 1904. The dwelling was oriented north with a view of the dam and marshes of Leech Lake. A garage at the rear dated from about 1910. The house has been moved and is no longer on-site. A searchlight, that was located north of the house, was installed during World War II when the dams were carefully guarded as part of wartime security. There was also a searchlight at Winnibigoshish Dam.

Mississippi River Headwaters History brochure

Leech Lake Dam
Leech Lake Dam


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Leech Lake Recreation Area

01217 Federal Dam Drive NE
Federal Dam, MN 56641
(218) 654-3145


Make Reservations

Untitled Document You can reserve camp sites and day use facilities at many U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas nationwide, as well as many other agencies, online by visiting RECREATION.GOV. Reservations may also be made by calling RECREATION.GOV toll free at 1-877-444-6777.

Map & Directions

Leech Lake map