Lake Minnetonka Bays

Lake Minnetonka Bays

Welcome to the virtual gateway to Lake Minnetonka Bays, where Daniel & Elisha Gustafson invite you to embark on a digital exploration of the hidden jewels that grace the pristine shores of this iconic Minnesota lake. Lake Minnetonka, nestled in the heart of the Twin Cities, is renowned for its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and historical significance. This webpage is your window into the intricate network of 37 interconnected bays that collectively define the character of Lake Minnetonka.

As we delve into the individual bays that make up this magnificent tapestry, you'll discover their unique features, from the tranquil coves to the bustling marinas, and from the rich history to the vibrant ecosystems that call these waters home. Whether you're a local resident seeking to deepen your connection to the lake, a tourist planning your next adventure, or an armchair explorer with a curiosity for the great outdoors, "Lake Minnetonka Bays" offers a comprehensive guide to these remarkable bodies of water.

Join us on this virtual voyage of discovery, and let us navigate the depths, unveil the stories, and celebrate the diversity that define the splendor of Lake Minnetonka's bays. Your journey begins here.

Browns Bay

Brown's Bay derives its name from its early settler, James B. Brown, who hailed from Kentucky and established roots on Lake Minnetonka. This bay boasts an extensive 3.7 miles of shoreline and encompasses 696 acres of water within its boundaries. Situated in proximity to Lower Lake North, Tanager Lake, Wayzata Bay, and Smiths Bay, Brown's Bay is one of the interconnected water bodies among the 37 lakes and bays that collectively form Lake Minnetonka.

Bracketts Point and Lookout Point delineate the western and eastern perimeters of Brown's Bay, adjoining Lower Lake North. The bay's water depths range from 10 to 80 feet, and its water clarity garners an 'A' designation from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. Within this ecosystem, which primarily spans the areas of Orono and Wayzata, one can find Spirit Island, Tanager Lake, and Peavey Lake, all contributing to the rich and diverse environment of Brown's Bay.

Black Lake

Named for its shadowy, dark waters, Black Lake stands as one of the charming bays within the Lake Minnetonka region, nestled between the communities of Spring Park and Mound. It is bounded by Shoreline Drive to the north, Wilshire Boulevard to the east and south, and Seton Lake to the west. Notable landmarks in the vicinity include Phelps Island to the south, the Sheriff's Water Patrol headquarters on Spring Park Bay to the east, and the scenic Emerald Lake to the west.

Black Lake is among the more petite bays on Lake Minnetonka, with a depth that reaches up to 23 feet. Historically, it receives a water quality rating of 'C' from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District on a scale of 'A' to 'F'. This means that swimming, boating, and fishing may be less ideal early in the season, with occasional appearances of algae blooms. As a result, residential properties for sale around Black Lake tend to be more reasonably priced compared to the pricier markets in areas like Minnetonka Beach, Deephaven, or Wayzata.

Carman Bay

Casco Point is a prominent geographical feature adjoining Carmen Bay on Lake Minnetonka in Spring Park, Minnesota. Carmen Bay is situated to the northwest of the Narrows and County Road 19, and to the south of Shoreline Drive. For those less familiar with the area, the Narrows connects East Upper Lake and Old Channel Bay to Lafayette Bay and Lower Lake South

Other nearby landmarks include the Sheriff's Water Patrol on Spring Park Bay, Pelican Point, Pelican Island, Wild Goose Chase Island, Spray Island, Shady Island, Howard Point, Crescent Beach, and Locke Point.

Carsons Bay

Carson's Bay on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota is a tranquil haven known for its natural beauty and peaceful charm. Located on the lake's western side near Deephaven, it offers a quieter alternative to the busier bays. Framed by lush greenery, Carson's Bay is a haven for boating, fishing, and outdoor enthusiasts. The nearby town of Deephaven offers a strong sense of community and access to various amenities. Carson's Bay residents are dedicated to preserving their natural surroundings, ensuring the bay remains pristine for future generations. This hidden gem on Lake Minnetonka offers a serene and engaging lakeside lifestyle.

Coffee Cove

The West Arm of Lake Minnetonka gracefully tapers into a picturesque channel celebrated as Coffee Cove, a name bestowed in honor of the landowner, C. C. Coffee. This serene waterway is nestled between the charming Fagerness Point and the renowned Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge, making it a pivotal point of interest on the lake. As you venture deeper into Coffee Cove, you'll find it narrowing further, eventually transforming into the Coffee Channel, an enchanting passage that serves as a gateway to the east, connecting with the alluring Crystal Bay. With its rich history and scenic beauty, Coffee Cove remains a cherished destination for all who appreciate the splendor of Lake Minnetonka.

Cook's Bay

Cooks Bay, situated in Mound, Minnesota, is a part of the Lake Minnetonka network of bays. Covering an area of approximately 550 acres (223 hectares), this bay is positioned to the west of Island Park and to the east of Mound's Highlands neighborhood. In the late 19th century through the 1920s, Cooks Bay enjoyed a reputation for its family hotels, including well-known establishments like the Chapman House, Bartlett Place, Buena Vista Hotel, Hotel Kern, Hotel Dewey, and the Sunset Villa. On the north shore of Cook's Bay, Surfside Park was once home to the popular Surfside Casino, which initially began as the Chapman Boathouse in the 1870s.

Cook's Bay offers a public boat launch located within Surfside park and is also home to the old Mound Depot, which was relocated in 1967. This bay's rich history and present amenities make it a significant and accessible part of the Lake Minnetonka experience.

Crystal Bay

Crystal Bay earns its name from the clarity of its deep waters, creating a distinctive part of the lake. This bay is embraced by Bohn's Point on its northern shoreline, christened after Gerhard Bohn, whose residence afforded breathtaking views of Crystal Bay from the tip of the point.

The northern shore of Crystal Bay boasts two distinct channels, providing connections to other sections of the lake. The first of these channels, nestled on the northwest shore, links Crystal Bay to the North Arm, aptly named for its geographical location on the lake.

The second channel extends from the northeast shore of Crystal Bay, leading to Maxwell Bay. This bay draws its name from John Maxwell, a pioneer who settled on the northeast shore of this bay back in 1854.

East Upper Lake

Navigating Lake Minnetonka's extensive waters can be a bit complex, with its main bodies often divided into halves and quarters for ease of orientation. To simplify things, locals refer to the western section as Upper Lake and the eastern part as Lower Lake. However, even these areas are further subdivided.

In the eastern part of Upper Lake, you'll find yourself amidst the captivating surroundings of Tonka Bay, Spring Park, and Mound's Phelps Island. As you venture deeper into these waters, you'll encounter notable landmarks such as the narrows and Old Channel Bay, Locke Point, Crescent Beach, Howard Point, Casco Point, Spray Island, Wild Goose Chase Island, Pelican Island, Pelican Point, Shady Island, Phelps Bay, Spring Park Bay, and many more. These distinctive locations collectively contribute to the rich tapestry of Lake Minnetonka, making it a place of diverse and fascinating beauty, awaiting exploration by newcomers and locals alike.

Echo Bay

Echo Bay, positioned within the picturesque Lake Minnetonka, is a bustling waterway frequently traversed by boats and vessels. It is situated between the scenic Mahpiyata Island and Big Island, with the City of Tonka Bay on its shores. Echo Bay also connects with Lower Lake South and Lafayette Bay, further enhancing its importance.

This vibrant bay is surrounded by several other noteworthy locations, such as West Point, Recreation Point, Huntington Point, Gale Island, and it is also linked to the Narrows and Old Channel Bay. Echo Bay stands as a vital and well-traveled hub within Lake Minnetonka's network of beautiful bays and channels, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities for all who venture here.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is positioned between Seton Lake and Cooks Bay on Lake Minnetonka, with its shores bordered by Bartlett and Wilshire Boulevards in Mound, as well as Phelps Island. Situated on the north side of Shoreline Drive, it also neighbors Black Lake, Spring Park Bay, and Harrisons Bay, adding to its scenic charm and accessibility.

Excelsior Bay

Excelsior Bay is a scenic and historically rich area situated on the eastern side of Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. This charming bay, named after the idyllic town of Excelsior, offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, vibrant community life, and recreational opportunities. Known for its picturesque landscapes and rich history, Excelsior Bay beckons residents and visitors alike to explore its waters, soak in its serene atmosphere, and discover the treasures that make it a beloved gem of Lake Minnetonka. Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the essence of Excelsior Bay, where the past meets the present, and the beauty of the lake comes to life.

Forest Lake

Forest Lake Bay can be found to the north of West Arm Bay on the northwest side of Lake Minnetonka. It derives its name from the densely forested shoreline, which remains lush with tall trees that act as a natural windbreak, resulting in consistently calm waters throughout the day. This peaceful environment has made Forest Lake Bay a beloved local spot for anchoring and swimming. Interestingly, Forest Lake Bay was not originally connected to Lake Minnetonka until the mid-1800s when a channel was dredged through West Arm Bay. The residential areas around the bay are part of Mound and Orono, falling under the jurisdiction of the Mound Westonka School District.

Gideon's Bay

Gideon Bay takes its name from the remarkable and determined Peter Gideon, an advocate for abolition and a pioneering horticulturist during his era. Situated between Tonka Bay and Excelsior, Gideon Bay is defined by the presence of Sunrise Point to the northeast. Within its boundaries, you'll find notable features like Duck Island and Frog Island.

Gray's Bay

Grays Bay serves as the outlet of Lake Minnetonka, connecting to Minnehaha Creek, which meanders eastward for approximately 22 miles until it reaches the Mississippi River. This bay's discovery is attributed to Soldier Joseph Brown, who navigated up Minnehaha Creek in 1822. Grays Bay derives its name from the early settlers Amos and Susa Chowen Gray, who arrived in Minnetonka Township and established their homestead on this bay. Located between Libbs Lake and Wayzata Bay, Grays Bay is flanked by the towns of Wayzata and Minnetonka, both on the land and water.

Halsted's Bay

The Halsted Brothers, Frank and George, were early settlers in Minnetrista, Minnesota. Frank, a Civil War veteran, built a cabin known as the Hermitage on Upper Lake. He served as Minnetrista's first justice of the peace, constructed the steamer Mary, but a financial setback led to his tragic suicide. His brother George took over and also operated the Mary, which had a deadly boiler explosion in 1880. Tragically, their home, the Hermitage, was destroyed by fire in 1901, and George perished inside. Both brothers are buried near their former home. The family name is sometimes spelled as Halstead. Halsteds Bay is located in Minnetrista west of Westedge Boulevard / County Road 44, and serves as the inlet for waiter flowage fed by Six Mile Creek. Priests Bay and Rocky Reef are also nearby. 

Harrison's Bay

In 1855, Captain Nathaniel Harrison acquired land on the north shoreline of Lake Minnetonka, which later became known as Harrison's Bay. Originally from Virginia and a skilled shipwright, Harrison operated a boat-building business on the lake from 1874 to 1880. He constructed several notable steamers, such as the Mary, May Queen, and the City of Minneapolis. Harrison's Bay is situated between downtown Mound and Three Points. Nearby landmarks include West Arm, Jennings Bay, Shadywood Point, Deering Island, and Seton Lake.

Jenning's Bay

Jennings Bay in Mound, Minnesota is a lovely area adjacent to Three Points, a peninsula extending into the northwestern most parts  Lake Minnetonka and surrounded by West, Rem, and Harrison's Bay. Its name honors F.A. Jennings, a Civil War veteran who laid claim to the land in the 1850s. The convergence of natural beauty and historical significance adds a unique charm to the bay's identity. Painters Creek, an additional natural feature, flows into Jennings Bay, enhancing the area's allure and ecological richness. Do you have a personal connection to this area, or are you just curious about it?

Lafayette Bay

In Minnetonka Beach, just to the west of Huntington Point, lies the famous Lafayette Bay, previously known as Holmes Bay. This bay earned its name from James J. Hill's Lafayette Resort, which graced the bay's north shore in 1882. Unfortunately, Hill's Lafayette Resort had a short-lived existence, as it was consumed by fire in 1897. Subsequently, the land was repurposed into a nine-hole golf course, where you can now find the Lafayette Club. This grand hotel was constructed with the intention of attracting travelers to Hill's railroad and stood as the largest on the lake, acclaimed as one of the finest in the western region.

Libbs Lake

Libbs Lake holds the namesake of Elizabeth (Lib) Ogin, who settled in the region in the 1890's to manage her brother Henry Ogin's household. Positioned at the far northeastern edge of the lake, Libbs Lake is linked to Grays Bay through a connecting channel that runs under Grays Bay Boulevard. Additionally, the City of Minnetonka owns a municipal park featuring a beach area situated on the shores of Libbs Lake.

Lost Lake

Lost Lake, a segment of Lake Minnetonka, historically existed as a marshy bog. In 1906, a petition was circulated, advocating for the construction of a canal crossing Lost Lake. The primary aim was to link the Mound depot with Cook's Bay, a move intended to benefit both tourists and lake residents. Advocates believed that making Mound easily accessible would draw Upper Lake residents, while Mound locals sought improved connectivity to the train depot and post office. A 30-foot-wide canal was excavated, and in 1906, Fred Bartlett navigated his steamboat, the "Mound," through the passage. Regrettably, the canal encountered issues with sedimentation, leading to its abandonment after a few years of use.

Lower Lake North

Lower Lake North, the most expansive body of water in Lake Minnetonka, boasts depths exceeding 90 feet and is recognized for its exceptional water quality and clarity. Nestled between prominent areas such as Big Island, Smiths Bay, Browns Bay, Spirit Island, Woodland, Robinsons Bay, and St. Louis Bay, it stands as one of the most frequented, traversed, and beloved regions in the historical expanse of Lake Minnetonka.

Lower Lake South

Lower Lake South, near Excelsior and surrounded by Big Island, Echo Bay, Excelsior Bay, Gideon Bay, and Sunrise Point, boasts exceptional water quality, remarkable clarity, and depths exceeding 80 feet.

Maxwell Bay

Maxwell Bay pays homage to John Maxwell, a Scottish settler who made his home on Lake Minnetonka's north side in 1854. Maxwell's distinctive pastime of playing the fife while rowing in the heart of the bay became well-known. The Noerenberg family settled the eastern shoreline during the 1890s. Situated near Crystal Bay and Bohns Point, with Stubbs Bay to the north and bordered by Tonkawa Road and North Arm to the west, Maxwell Bay stands out for its grand estates and expansive continuous land. Notably, Charles Deere Velie, the grandson of John Deere, purchased a plot of land on the southern shore, naming it Forest Farm.

North Arm

North Arm Bay, located in Orono and positioned between North Arm Drive and Tonkawa Road, lies to the north of Crystal Bay. Revered for its superb fishing opportunities and its reputation as a serene spot for traditional water skiing, this bay boasts a water depth of up to 60 feet. It's given a B rating for its water quality and clarity.

Old Channel Bay

Old Channel Bay, located in Lake Minnetonka's eastern Carmans Bay, north of Tonka Bay & Excelsior in Hennepin County, historically connected the Upper Lake to the Lower Lake. Once the original channel's location, it became known as Old Channel Bay before the Narrows Channel Bridge's construction. This change led to confusion, differing from older maps that labeled the north and northeast upper lake shore as Carmans Bay. Though the exact renaming details remain a mystery, the bay's pivotal role in Lake Minnetonka's connectivity is acknowledged by the community, evident on highway signs and modern maps.

Peavy Lake

Nestled within Wayzata, Peavey Lake, also known as Peavey Pond, graces the landscape just north of Ferndale Road West. This tranquil body of water spans approximately eight acres, characterized by its shallow depths. It's beautifully positioned to the north of Browns Bay and west of Lookout Point, offering a serene haven for nature enthusiasts. Notably, the region was chosen as the settlement grounds for the family of Charles A. Bovey, a prominent figure within the lumber industry. The area bears the legacy of both natural beauty and historical significance, drawing visitors and locals alike to its peaceful shores.

Phelp's Bay

Island Park was initially acquired from the United States by William Noble in 1856 and briefly carried the name Noble Island. In 1875, Noble transferred ownership to Carrington Phelps, leading to its widespread recognition as Phelps Island. Spanning 545 acres of land with over 5 miles of shoreline, the island was rich in timber and teemed with wildlife, Around 1905, the lots were offered for sale.

Located south of Phelps Island is Phelps Bay, flanked by Enchanted Island and Shady Island to the south and east, respectively. Boasting water depths ranging from 10 to 30 feet and offering expansive water vistas, this area is highly sought-after for its residential and recreational appeal.

Priest's Bay

Priest’s Bay, situated west of Cook’s Bay, bears the name of J.D. Priest, a farmer who acquired land on the bay's north shore back in 1876. In 1880, a channel was dredged and expanded in Priest’s Bay to facilitate boat access into Halsted’s Bay, the farthest western inlet of Lake Minnetonka. Found close to Westedge Boulevard and Hardscrabble Point, the bay boasts water depths ranging from 10 to 20 feet.

Robinson's Bay

Robinsons Bay, nestled in Deephaven, pays homage to Alfred Robinson, a farmer who tended to the land bordering the lake. Not only a farmer, Robinson played a pivotal role in the founding of Wayzata alongside Oscar E. Garrison. Situated between Woodland and Deephaven, adjacent to Lower Lake North and Gibsons Point, this bay lies near Northome Boulevard and Maplewood Road, and features water depths ranging from 10 to 60 feet.

Seton Lake

Seton Lake derives its name from Mother Seton, a revered saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Nestled along its shores was Seton Guild, an all-girls Catholic school. The lake is interconnected with Harrisons Bay, Cooks Bay, and Spring Park Bay via Seton Channel, Emerald Lake, and Black Lake.

Smith's Bay

Situated in Orono, Smiths Bay rests between the Arcola Bridge, Minnetonka Beach, Bracketts Point, and Lower Lake North. It owes its name to Elliot Smith, an early settler who made his home along its shores.

Smithtown Bay

Smithtown Bay extends from Hennepin County into Carver County, making it the sole section of Lake Minnetonka that crosses county lines. Found in Victoria, it neighbors South Upper Lake, Wawatosso Island, and sits close to Lake Virginia. Depths in this bay can reach up to 80 feet.

South Upper Lake

South Upper Lake sits on the southwestern edge of Lake Minnetonka, adjacent to Smithtown Bay, Wawatoasa Island, Eagle Island, Crane Island, Enchanted Island, and West Upper Lake.

Spring Park Bay

Spring Park Bay was initially christened Byers Bay after W. Byers, who acquired 150 acres in 1850. Over time, the bay embraced the name of the surrounding city, Spring Park. John Carman also obtained 148 acres in Spring Park and on Casco Point. The area takes its name from a natural spring located on Casco Point. Positioned between Casco Point, Phelps Island, Phelps Bay, and East Upper Lake, Spring Park Bay is home to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol and the Spring Park Boat Ramp.

St. Alban's Bay

St. Albans Bay acquired its name from Enos Day, who honored his birthplace, St. Albans, Vermont. Initially settled by John McKenzie, who erected a substantial log cabin and outlined a proposed community named Port Minnetonka. During his absence in the winter months, developers seized his claim, took control of his cabin, and devised plans for a new town. The failed Town of St. Albans was laid out by Charles Morris under dubious circumstances. In 1856, Morris constructed a small hotel, a church, and a sawmill. 

St. Louis Bay

St. Louis Bay draws its name from the Hotel St. Louis, established by Sir Charles Gibson in 1879. This grand hotel, standing three stories tall and boasting 200 rooms, welcomed guests arriving via the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway and the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway. Located in Deephaven, St. Louis Bay sits adjacent to Carsons Bay, Cottagewood, Granview Point, Lighthouse Island, Sunset Point, Swifts Point, and Lower Lake North.

Stubb's Bay

Stubbs Bay takes its name from the Stubbs family, settlers in the Lake Minnetonka vicinity since 1856. This family, known for their vast land holdings and agricultural pursuits, significantly shaped the landscape across the region. Situated in Orono, it neighbors the Luce Line Trail, Bayside Road, Tonkawa Road, in close proximity to North Arm and Maxwell Bays.

Tanager Lake

Initially known as Mud Lake, Tanager Lake resides in Orono and links to Browns Bay beneath Shoreline Drive. Long Lake Creek gracefully converges into Tanager Lake from the north, contributing to its unique charm. Notable neighboring landmarks encompass Fox Street, North Shore Drive, and the Dakota Rail Trail, enhancing the scenic appeal and accessibility of the area.

Wayzata Bay

Wayzata Bay stands out as a beloved and widely recognized enclave within Lake Minnetonka. The inception of Wayzata can be traced back to the pioneering efforts of Oscar E. Garrison and A.B. Robinson, who laid down the first plat in 1853. The arrival of the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad in 1867 marked a significant juncture in the area's development. Notably, Bushaway Road, situated on the bay's eastern periphery, pays homage to John Bourgeois. Its landscape is adorned with significant landmarks such as Lake Street, Bushaway Road, Ferndale Road, Breezy Point, Cedar Point East, and various other distinctive features. Adjacent to Wayzata Bay lie other notable bays like Browns Bay and Grays Bay, adding to the allure of the region.

West Arm

West Arm Bay derives its name from its position within the lake. It was predominantly settled by descendants of Scandinavian heritage who cultivated the surrounding farmland. In its vicinity, one can find various neighboring sites like Jennings Bay, Harrisons Bay, Forest Lake, Woodland Point, Skogsberg Point, Shadywood Point, Eagerness Point, Deering Island, and Coffee Cove, contributing to the rich tapestry of the area's landscape.

West Upper Lake

West Upper Lake is situated within the confines of Minnetrista and Mound, bordered by Halsted Bay, Priests Bay, Phelps Bay, and South Upper Lake. In proximity lie distinctive features such as Rocky Reef, Crane Island, Wawatasso Island, Enchanted Island, and Hardscrabble Point, contributing to the diverse character of the region. The lake's depths, spanning from 10 to 80 feet, underscore the dynamic and varied nature of its aquatic environment.

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