Dunton Locks County Park
Locks County Park is a 53-acre park nestled on the quiet shores of
Muskrat Lake and Lake Sallie. The park is located just three miles
south of the city of Detroit Lakes on US 59, then one-third mile west on
Co. Rd.6, then south again on Co. Rd. 19 to Dunton Locks Road. (Click
here for a map). The park
is also accessible by bicycle, roller blades, or by foot by using the
Fish Hatchery Recreation Trail located on West Shore Drive near the
Pelican River. This quiet, year-around park contains two picnic
shelters, hiking/Mtn. 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.
Picnics are common at Dunton Locks Park and we have the facilities to
accommodate almost any size group.
The VFW Shelter,
located near the shore of Muskrat Lake, contains 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 has covered seating for 48 people plus outside seating for
an additional 12 persons. Additional picnic tables can be brought in for
special events. Please let us know at least three days in advance how
many you will need seating for.
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
shelters can be reserved for family reunions, weddings, meetings, or
business/organizational gatherings. To reserve either of these shelters
please phone us at (218) 846-2612.
For the nature lover, Dunton Locks has 6.1 km of
biking/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
several music festivals the Soo Pass Ranch holds each year. For a map
of the trails at Dunton Locks Park click the following link:
Locks Trail Map.
For those more interested in history of the area, check out the
mechanical boat tram located just south of the bridge. Back when the
Detroit Lakes area was first being settled, the Detroit Lakes and
Pelican River Slack Water Navigation Company devised a grand scheme to
install 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. The
County has since taken over the operation of the tram as a local tourist
attraction. The tram is operated on weekends and holidays from Memorial
Day weekend through Labor Day, 11:00 AM to dusk. The cost is $10.00 per
round trip or you can purchase a season pass, good for unlimited rides,