Pokegama Recreation Area

The Pokegama Recreation Area is situated on the Mississippi River at the western edge of Grand Rapids, Minn. Festivals and events held throughout the summer in nearby Grand Rapid make our campsites very convenient for area visitors and travelers on U.S. Highway 2.

The recreation area offers camping, boating, picnicking, fishing and playground areas. There are 19 camp sites and two tent sites. The camp and tents site adjacent to the Mississippi River gives campers a spectacular view of the river. The picnic area is located near the parking area and close enough to the river for breezy winds on a hot day.

Pokegama Lake is a highly utilized lake for recreational purposes, such as fishing, boating, waterskiing and personal watercraft use. A boat ramp just north of the dam gives boaters access to the river. The fish population includes walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pan fish and the occasional lake trout.

Brochure (pdf) 
Map and Directions (pdf)


The Pokegama Dam is located on the Mississippi River, three miles upstream of Grand Rapids. Construction began at this damsite in 1882 and the dam was put into operation in 1885. The Corps of Engineers completed reconstruction in concrete in 1904. Pokegama is considered the distributing reservoir for the two upper reservoirs at Winnibigoshish and Leech, the water from which passes through this dam.

The current control structure is 225 feet long and contains 13 8-foot sluiceways and one 12-foot long log sluice. In 2011, 7 leaf gates were installed and the slide gates in the remaining sluiceways were rebuilt. A leaf gate was also installed in the log sluice bay. The earth-filled embankments have timber diaphragms filled with puddled clays, and rest on the quartzite outcrop that occurs in this area.

Eleven buildings were first erected at the start of construction of the original timber dam. In 1909, a temporary dam tender’s dwelling was replaced with a 2 ½-story dwelling that had plumbing and a hot-air furnace, the first dam tender’s dwelling to be so equipped at the time of construction.

A one-story office was constructed on this site in 1909. The stylish clapboard-clad building featured a flared hip roof and an eyebrow dormer.

Mississippi River Headwaters History brochure

Campground reservations

Click here to make a reservation for Pokegama campground




Click here to make a reservation for Pokegama campground

Pokegama Lake dam
Pokegama Dam


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Pokegema Recreation Area
34385 US HWY 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55760-9663
Phone: (218) 326-6128

Map & Directions

Pokegama 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.
Recreation.gov logo