Description
Mille Lacs is by far the best sailing in the state of Minnesota. The water is clean, the lake is huge, there are sandy shallows around the majority of the lake. When it "goes off" it compares to the Holy Land (da Gorge). Mille Lacs can be sailed from almost all directions though can be a crap shoot whether or not a southerly will make it that far north. Any wind with a northerly component usually means sheer bliss; rolling glassy swells, steep ramps, and steady winds. Even a slalom day Mille Lacs is incredible, the wavelength of the swell aligns perfectly with the rocker in most slalom boards. No more banging into chop. Of course, these conditions can also give way to cloud-high floaters-- yes even on slalom boards. Mille Lacs is like the Gorge in that, depending upon the location, the wind and the waves can change significantly. If you don't like what you see when you arrive at your first launch, you may want to check out others that would work for the same wind direction. Close to 2 hours away but well worth it. If it's uncertain, bring your bike and enjoy the back roads surrounding the lake or hike around Father Hennepin State Park.

Kiting: The steady winds and sandy bottom on Mille lacs make it an idea kite lake. The numerous launches allow you to ride almost any direction. Malmo and Reddy Creek are the best in the state for learning kiting. The shallow sandy bottom extends for 100s of yards out into the lake, perfect for body drags, down winders, etc. Choose the one with best side shore conditions and ride till sun hits the water. The waves at Reddy on a South wind are great for boosting and riding. Father Hennepin's launch is a bit more difficult but provides the experienced kiter with incredible swell on a NW wind. Eric S. and Jerry discovered Rum Creek this year on the SW side of the lake. A few miles south of the Casino on 169 this spot offers sandy shallows a ways out and nice swells near the river outlet. If you are coming up from the south it is just before the river. This site works for any winds with East in them. Parking is a bit iffy.

Sites
  • Garrison: the road runs real close the lake just south of Garrison. You can launch there or follow the the bend past Garrison. A small road takes you to a free camping area and miles of shallow sandy beach. The swell pitches nicely when it blows. Southeast, South and East work.
  • Reddy Creek: Located about 5 miles west of Malmo on the North side, this spot has become a favorite on southerlies. Many times the wind is stronger here, more than Malmo or sites to the west. There is a small paved lot just off the road and then a sandy road that reaches back quite a ways along the shore. The sandy shallows extend 100 yds out. Head down the sandy road for a short distance and you are away from the road and in an ideal place to sail or just hang out. Works on Southwest, South, Southeast.
  • The little town of Malmo on the northeast corner works well for south and southwest winds. Malmo Memorial Park, just south of town provides a huge grassy rigging area out of the wind, shade and easy water access. The shallows extend out a considerable distance.
  • Hunter's Point on the east side is close to heaven. The sandbar that runs from point to point makes for easy slalom launches and awesome shorebreak on big days. Sailable from SW to North, wind with a western component is preferred. A sign on 47 indicates the turn off. Just follow the road right to the water. Hunter's Point is a resort and respect of their land and patronage of their bar/grill will ensure that we can continue to sail from this great spot.
  • Father Hennepin State Park is unique to Mille Lacs for a few reasons. One, it provides a great place to spend the day for those non sailors that may be with you. Secondly the water that flows into the bay in the lower SE corner of Mille Lacs is some of the deepest on the lake. Hence, the swell that rolls into that bay is large, glassy, and the best this side of Hawaii. The section is only about 300 yards wide but can easily become the best play ground for an entire day. Of course, there is the other usual great Mille Lacs sailing from this site as well though once you sail in "the zone" you may never leave. There is a small pile of rocks just under the surface to the right of the lauch about 300 yards and out about 100 feet. The rocks break the eveness of the swells so they are hard to miss. To find the launch once inside the park just keep turning right. There is a small parking lot with some stairs down to a beach. If you want the zone, the wind has to be directly from the NW. UPDATED 8.2.13 - EXPERT LAUNCH/LAND swimmers beach.
  • Isaty's Resort: Wind with any northerly component works well from Isaty's. Straight westerlies work, though the big swell is out there a bit. There are some obstacles in the water though they have buoys out. As with Hunter's respect and patronage is encouraged.
How to Get There
There are two main routes and it depends on which side of the lake you may end up on and where you are when you start. The more western route is to take 94 west to 101 near Elk River, north to 169 . Take 169 all the way north to the southern end of the lake. Continue on 169 to Garrison then 18 across the Northern side or follow 27 around the south side of the lake to the others. The eastern route to the lake zooms up 35 to 18 just past Sandstone. Highway 18 West takes you to the east side of the lake.
Camping
There are two main routes and it depends on which side of the lake you may end up on and where you are when you start. The more western route is to take 94 west to 101 near Elk River, north to 169 . Take 169 all the way north to the southern end of the lake. Continue on 169 to Garrison then 18 across the Northern side or follow 27 around the south side of the lake to the others. The eastern route to the lake zooms up 35 to 18 just past Sandstone. Highway 18 West takes you to the east side of the lake.

 

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