Dunton Locks County Park is a 53-acre park located on the shores of Muskrat Lake and Lake Sallie 3 miles south of Detroit Lakes on Highway 59 and 6, next to the DNR Fish Hatchery. The park is accessible by bicycle, roller blades, or on foot by using the Fish Hatchery Recreation Trail located on West Shore Drive near the Pelican River. This quiet, year-around park features two picnic shelters, hiking and mountain biking trails which double as cross-country ski trails in the winter, a paved recreation trail, interpretive history signs, two fishing piers, and a mechanical boat tram that transports boats, PWC, and pontoons between Muskrat Lake and Lake Sallie, allowing boat travel from Detroit Lakes to Shoreham.
Covered Picnic Facilities for Groups
Picnics are a frequent sight at Dunton Locks County Park which offers facilities to accommodate almost any size group. The VFW Shelter, located near the shore of Muskrat Lake, offers modern restrooms and a modern kitchen complete with stove, refrigerator, sink, indoor charcoal grill with exhaust hood, a food service area, and electrical outlets. The shelter provide covered seating for 48 people plus outside seating for an additional 12. The Eagles Shelter, located on the hill overlooking the park area, has electrical outlets, an indoor charcoal/wood fire grill, and covered seating for 48. Both of these shelters can be reserved for family reunions, weddings, meetings, or business/organizational gatherings calling 218-846-2612.
Hiking, Mountain Biking & Cross Country Ski Trails
For the nature lover, Dunton Locks has 6.1 km of hiking, mountain biking and cross country ski trails located on the hills above the Eagles Picnic Shelter and along the shores between Lake Sallie and Muskrat Lake, south of the bridge. The northern trails wind through hardwood forested hills once a gathering spot for the Sioux Indians. Remnants of Indian burial mounds are still present throughout the park. In fact, much of the park area was a gathering area for netting tulabies, camping, and trading. The southern trails also wind through rolling, wooded terrain, however much of the trails are located on private land owned by the Soo Pass Ranch. This land is used for camping during the music festivals the Soo Pass Ranch holds each year. For a map of the trails at Dunton Locks Park use the following link: Dunton Locks Trail Map (PDF).
Connecting the Waters
Be sure to visit the mechanical boat tram located just south of the bridge. Years ago, when the Detroit Lakes area was first being settled, the Detroit Lakes and Pelican River Slack Water Navigation Company installed a series of locks and dams to accommodate steamship traffic from Breckenridge to Detroit Lakes, thus the name Dunton Locks. While the plan was cut short, it did inspire a group of local entrepreneurs in the mid 1970s to try to duplicate the effort, only on a much smaller scale. This group designed, built, and maintained a mechanical boat tram to promote dinner excursions between Shoreham and Detroit Lakes. Becker County now operates the tram as a local tourist attraction.
Location: Address: 200 East State Street, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 | Tel: (218) 846-2612 | Dunton Locks County Park Website | Distance from The Lodge on Lake Detroit • 6.4 miles
Detroit Lakes Parks & Trails
The Detroit Lakes area abounds with beautiful parks, lakes, rivers, hiking & biking trails and more. Detroit Lakes, Becker County, and the surrounding area offers so many recreational and outdoor activities that it is difficult to fit them into one visit. With over 400 lakes within a 25-mile radius, and with beautiful rivers and streams (not to mention the Mississippi Headwaters), many parks and trails have been created to provide public access.
Parks, such as the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, provide cross-country and snow mobiling trails in the winter– and even more trails for hiking and biking during the spring, summer and fall months. You can also enjoy the natural beauty from your car. The Lake Country Scenic Byway is an 88-mile corridor that follows Highways 34 and 71. Along its route, the Byway uniquely spans three different types of geographic terrain.
View Detroit Lakes Parks & Trails Guide