About Us

Thanks for another great year, 2015!

Rustling Elms Resort is located 3 miles north of Ortonville on Highway 7.  Emil Johnson originally owned the property inheriting it from his father who formally homesteaded the land.  Upon the request to his father, Ernie in his early adult years had an idea to start Johnson’s Beach which mainly entertained swimmers and fishermen. His father thought it was a swell idea as it was a way for his son to earn money and invest ownership into the property. However Ernie had a grander vision to start a resort that could be more profitable if there were cottages to rent.

Since he was not the sole owner of the entire property he asked his father Emil Johnson if he would build five cottages to rent. He did along with 15 wooden row boats rentals. A clubhouse was also built in the late 20’s early 30’s known as the Wagon Wheel which was a bar, offered slots and food. The location of this clubhouse was near the beach and main shore line point of the resort. Eventually Emil's son, Ernie, took over sometime around 1935, married Wilma Kiel from St. Paul who came out to stay in the cottages with her family. After the death of Ernie’s father Emil in 1946, they renamed the park from Johnson's Beach to Mile Park, because it was nearly a mile from town limits.   In 1940 a storm took out a small stand near the beach thus a new concession stand and bath house was erected near the beach that still stands today. However, times would change as WWII began leaving many local men gone. The Wagon Wheel was closed up and the couple moved back to Minneapolis where Ernie found work with Northern Pump and Wilma tended to their first born Lee. They lived in an apartment which was actually rejuvenated chicken shacks (a far cry from what they left here).  When the war ended they moved back. Parts of the park were sold and/or divided with Ernie's brother, Wally and the Wagon Wheel was eventually torn down.  Business picked up after the recession and folks started camping and traveling again. The boom in vacationing started and Ernie started putting in primitive overnight camping lots to accommodate them and then later full hook-up lots. Again another change resulted in renaming the park, thus Rustling Elms Resort.  Today the Resort offers seasonal lots, cabin rentals and some overnight camping.  We hope you find our place as scenic and serene as many generations before you have. May the peace of the lake be with you!

Big Stone Lake

Big Stone Lake is a long, narrow freshwater lake and reservoir forming the border between western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota. The lake covers 12,610 acres of surface area, stretching 26 miles from end to end and averaging around 1 mile wide, and at an elevation of 965ft is the lowest point in South Dakota. Big Stone Lake is the source of the Minnesota River, which flows 332 miles to the Mississippi River. Flow from the lake to the Minnesota River is regulated by the Big Stone Dam, located at the south end of the lake. The lake is fed by the Little Minnesota River at its north end, which flows through the Traverse Gap. Big Stone was formed at the end of the last ice age when glacial Lake Agassiz drained through the gap into Glacial River Warren. The valley of that river now hold Big Stone Lake.

Visitors to the lake are attracted to the lake especially for its fishing: walleye, northern pike, and bluegills are all popular game fish with anglers, and the lake contains over 30 other species. The lake is stocked once every two year with walleye fry. The communities of Ortonville, Minnesota and Big Stone City, South Dakota are located at the southern tip of the lake; Browns Valley, Minnesota is located at the northern tip.

The Outdoorsmen's Adventure

Gary Howey and his film

crew stayed with us, 2014!

Big Stone Lake



1 (800) 839-3845

Kayaks & Paddle Boards For Rent




Inspected Lodging Facility


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Rustling Elms Resort | 74637 Rustling Elms Road | Ortonville | MN | 56278