Gull Lake

The Gull Lake Recreation Area is situated on the Gull River at the outlet of Gull Lake. The recreation area is located 10 miles northwest of Brainerd, Minn. The recreation area offers many fun-filled activities.

The campground is located in a wooded setting to further the camping experience. For adventure-seekers, the hiking trail winds through and undeveloped forest area composed of a variety of trees. The trails expose the campers to the beautiful scenery that it has to offer.

The recreation area offers boating, swimming, picnicking, fishing and playground areas. There is a boat ramp which gives access to Gull Lake. Fishing is available in several locations around the recreation area. There are picnic areas and beach for cooling off from the heat.

Brochure (pdf) 
Map and Directions (pdf)


The Gull Lake Dam is located on the Gull River about one-half mile below the outlet of Gull Lake. It was put into service in 1912, the last of the Headwaters reservoir dams constructed. The designers were Col. Francis R. Shunk and George Freeman. This team also designed Lock and Dam No. 1 built on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul in 1917.

The control structure is built of reinforced concrete supported on timber piling. There is a log sluice and a 5-foot fishway in addition to five sluiceways.

The 7-room dam tender’s house, completed in 1912, is of concrete beam construction. The exterior is finished with concrete panels. It is a good example of the then popular “Craftsman” style of architecture. One characteristic of the style is its “honest,” straightforward treatment of materials. Brick, stucco and frame Craftsman style houses were built in many Minnesota cities and towns between 1905 and 1920. The exposed rafter ends at the eaves, grouped windows and simple board trim are notable details associated with this style. The dam tender’s house is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The prehistoric archaeology of the Gull Lake damsite is of particular significance. There are 12 complete and several partial burial mounds, representative of the Woodland Culture that established permanent villages in this area about 800 B.C. - A.D. 200 and A.D. 600 - 900. Archaeologists have studied the burial site, and an interpretive center provides information for visitors. The burial mounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mississippi River Headwaters History brochure

Campground reservations

Click here to make a reservation for Gull Lake campground




Click here to make a reservation for Gull Lake campground

Gull Lake Dam Road

The St. Paul District is evaluating a potential closure of a portion of Gull Lake Dam Road, located in East Gull Lake, Minnesota. For more information, go here.

Gull Lake Dam
Gull Lake Dam


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Resource Manager
Gull Lake Recreation Area

10867 E. Gull Lake Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401

(651) 290-5772

Map & Directions

Gull Lake map

Make Reservations

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. logo