There aren’t any mountains, but they do have a beautiful lake and lots to do during a weekend RV journey to Mountain Lake, Minnesota

Whoever named the town of Mountain Lake, MN must have had low expectations of what they considered a “mountain” to be. There are no mountains anywhere in the vicinity of this farming community. But they do have a nice lake!

Mountain Lake is located in southwestern Minnesota in Cottonwood County, right off of Highway 60, the northeast-southwest route that links the Twin Cities to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Omaha, Nebraska.

The first settler, William Mason, arrived in the area now known as Mountain Lake in 1865. It wasn’t long after that the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad (now the Union Pacific) put down tracks in 1871. With the railroad running through the area, settlers began to arrive, the biggest group to set down roots from 1873-1880 were nearly 1,800 Russian Mennonite immigrants. 

The historical Heritage Village, on the city’s southeastern edge, remembers the challenges German and Russian immigrants faced as they built new lives. There are memorial markers at the city’s Heritage Village commemorating the influx of new European immigrants. The town was not officially incorporated until 1886. By that time Mountain Lake was a thriving village. 

Pack the camper, it’s road trip time!

During a recent road trip to no place in particular, we happened upon the Mountain Lake Heritage Village and had to stop.

Snow and ice still had a chilly grip on the grounds and the Village was still closed for the winter season.  We did find ample evidence that the Village puts on a great Christmas lights and decoration display during the holidays.

History comes to life

We love learning about the history of the small towns that dot the Midwest agricultural landscape. If you share that passion, Heritage Village will be a fun place to explore with your family.

It’s obvious the residents and civil servants of Mountain Lake wanted to preserve the history of their small town (Pop. 2,100) and surrounding area.  According to the city, Heritage Village was created in 1972 to do just that.

Buildings of historical significance were carefully moved to the new plot of land near Minnesota Highway 60. Eventually 25 local historic structures were moved to the Village to be preserved and appreciated.

Efforts like these allow us living in the 21st Century to discover how our grandparents and great, great grandparents lived and many times, struggled to survive.

Self-guided walking tour

The first thing that attracted JK’s eye was the old Mountain Lake railroad depot and a bright red vintage Great Northern Railway caboose parked alongside.

Also, part of the historic railroad collect was a pair of rare Griswold Signal Co of Minneapolis railroad crossing lights. The Griswold crossing signals were known for their rotating stops signs and flashing light to warn motorists of on-coming trains.

Another dominate structure in the Village is the huge red and white Buhler Barn with its rooftop cupola ventilator and supporting outbuildings including the Buhler home.

During our chilly stroll side-stepping patches of ice along “Main Street,” we discovered the “Jaeger General Store,” “Dick’s Shoe Hospital,” the “Delft Post Office,” “Odin Bank,” the “Personality Barber and Beauty Shop,” a chapel, town center gazebo and a small country school.

One ringy-dingy

An attraction on its own, the Minnesota Telephone Museum is located next to the railroad depot on the grounds of Heritage Village. That is definitely a must visit, especially for parents who want to show the kids how the older generation had to communicate.

Unfortunately, none of the buildings were open during our early spring/late winter stop. But we will definitely make a return trip to check out Minnesota’s only authentic Mennonite Homestead from 1884 located on the Village grounds, plus, all the vintage displays and tours when the park reopens.

Open 7-days a week during the summer

Heritage Village is open daily, 1 to 5 p.m. starting on Memorial Day and all the way through to Labor Day. They also have a festive Christmas lighting event in late November with visits from Santa, horse drawn wagon rides, food and carolers.

This year’s “Mountain Lakes 48th Annual Heritage Fair Utschtallung” (don’t ask us to pronounce that word!) is September 10th, 2022. Past events have featured traditional ethnic Russian and German Mennonite food, bake sales, a car show, live music and tons of fun kids’ activities.

How Do I Find Mountain Lake?

It’s a quick 40-minute drive north off of Interstate 90. Take the State Highway 71 exit off I-90 at Jackson, MN to Windom. Head north along Highway 60 to Mountain Lake. Heritage Village is a quarter mile north of the highway on County Road 1 at 803 Mountain Lake Road.

Past events have featured traditional ethnic Russian and German Mennonite food, bake sales, a car show, live music and tons of fun kids’ activities.

RV camping options

There are several camping options in the Mountain Lake region for rigs of all sizes. Check these campground links for opening dates, reservations, and rates.

Island View Campground

This small city owned campground is located at the corner of Prince St. and Golf Course Road in Mountain Lake. The 17-camping sites are available on a first come, first serve basis. Reservations are not taken. As of this writing the standard rate is $25 per night. All fees must be paid at the beginning of the stay. Call Mountain Lake City Hall at 507-427-2999 for more information.

Sands Country Cove Campgrounds

This relatively new private campground is located at 680th Avenue in Butterfield, MN. They offer 34 full hookup, large 40 x 80 sites with 20-amp, 30-amp, 50-amp services. They also have four additional 40 x 80 water & electric only sites with 20-amp, 30-amp, 50-amp services. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. They open for the season this year on April 29, 2022.

We stayed here about six years ago when we were just getting started in the RVing life and the brand-new campground had just barely been opened. The trees have probably grown to offer some shade by now since we camped there.

Great folks who run the campground really helped us out of a bad “Newbie” mistake with our small travel trailer, so we are eternally grateful. It can be very buggy during the summer months from the nearby lake. Bring your screen tent. Contact them at: or email:

Voss Park Campgrounds

Voss Park Campgrounds is another city operated facility in nearby Butterfield, MN. Contact the Butterfield City Hall Email: or call (507) 956-2501 for more information.

Volunteer to give back

For updated information on the Heritage Village activities, guided tour times, to book a private event or to become a volunteer or member of the Mountain Lake Heritage Village, check them out social media.

Email them at: or call: (507) 427-2023.

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