The Land of 10,000 Lakes has such an abundance of lakes that you could visit a different lake every day for almost 30 years and still not see them all. From lakes with good fishing like the Lake of the Woods to lakes that are accessible from Minneapolis like Lake Minnetonka, Minnesotans really are spoiled for choice when it comes to gorgeous bodies of water.
The clearest lakes in Minnesota are natural wonders, unpolluted by trash from the cities and often created from old mine sites or located in a protected state forest not often seen by visitors.
Let me run through which lakes in Minnesota have crystal clear visibility that you have to see to believe.
The Clearest Lakes in Minnesota
One lake stands above the rest when it comes to having the best water clarity in the state and that is the stunning Caribou Lake.
WINNER: Caribou Lake is the clearest lake in Minnesota with underwater visibility of up to 40 feet.
1. Caribou Lake
Besides being the clearest lake in Minnesota with visibility of 40 feet, Caribou Lake is also one of the deepest lakes in the state getting down to depths of 160ft. Caribou Lake is about 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids, MN just off the 38. If you are looking to stay for a few days check out Buckhorn on Caribou Lake which has lakeside cabins available to rent and is the only resort on the lake.
The swimming is exceptional in these crystal clear waters, albeit a little cool due to the deep water. Fisherman will find trout, bass and northern pike biting year round and birders will love the bald eagles and owls that are regularly spotted in the surrounding forest.
2. Embarrass Mine Lake
Although not a natural lake, the Embarrass Mine Lake is renowned for its phenomenally clear waters. There aren’t too many places in the world where you can actually see the fish as they swim towards you but the gin clear waters of the Embarrass Mine Pit let you do just that. The visibility is regularly around 35 feet which lets you see exactly what is going on in the depths beneath you.
Anglers can expect to catch Lake Trout, Rainbows, Northern Pike, Walleyes and Sunfish.
You can get to the Embarrass Mine Lake by taking the 135 about 20 minutes east of Virginia, MN before turning onto the 138 and Mine Lake Rd.
3. Siseebakwet Lake
Siseebakwet Lake (also known as Sugar Lake) is one of the clearest lakes you will find in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Water clarity sits at about 26 feet, and the high concentration of calcium carbonate gives these limestone waters a stunning aquamarine color that will look amazing your (or your kids!) instagram feed. The color is reminiscent of something you will find in the crystal blue waters of the Carribbean.
Fisherman will find the lake packed full with Bluegill, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, Largemouth Bass and more. Best to try your luck at night or when the weather is cloudy so that the fish don’t see you coming in the clear water!
You will find Siseebakwet Lake about 15 minutes outside of Grand Rapids, MN along road 17 or close to 3 hours if driving from Minneapolis. If you are looking to spend some time on this stunning lake then try Sugar Lake Lodge which has lovely Northwoods vibes and resort facilities.
4. Rose Lake
The water at Rose Lake is incredibly clear with readings of 22.5 feet regularly recorded. But you’re going to have to work to find your way to this lake which sits in the Bondary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) on the border with Canada. Rose Falls flows into the lake and if you make it this far north then it’s worth a visit.
The Gunflint trail on Road 12 will get you close but from there expect to hike or canoe your way into Rose Lake. You will be rewarded with some of the clearest waters in Minnesota that are unspoiled by visitors. The remoteness makes this lake feel very special indeed.
5. Clearwater Lake
As the name suggests, Clearwater Lake has some lovely clear waters that will let you see underwater further than the average lake. Also located in the far north of Minnesota in the BWCA (and not to be confused with the Clearwater Lake close to the Twin Cities) visibility here sits at around 15 feet on a good day. Visitors can access the lake along Clearwater Road number 66 and the nearby Clearwater Outfitters will help you out with gear or a canoe if you haven’t brought your own.
Clearwater lake regularly produces 20lb+ fish and you will Lake Trout and Smallmouth Bass to be the catch of the day around here. Springtime yields the best fishing as the trout like to dive deeper in the lake as the waters warm up.
The Last Cast
Although the stunningly beautiful Caribou Lake is the clearest lake in Minnesota, the other lakes on our list are not to be missed. If you don’t mind being on a man made lake than the Embarrass Mine Pit will let you see the fish swim right up to your hook. However if natural beauty is more your style then you can’t go past Rose Lake and Clearwater Lake in the BWCA which holds some of the clearest lakes in Minnesota.
Have you come across some crystal clear waters in MN recently that deserve a mention?