So distinct is Lake Thompson that it is designated a National Natural Landmark. Originally called Dry Woods Lake by American Indians, the lake was renamed for Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior under President James Buchanan. In the 1930s, the lake was completely dry and used for pasture. In the 1980s, the area was a 9,000-acre marsh. Heavy rains and snowmelt in the mid-80s filled the lake to over 20 feet deep.
A variety of options are open for staying at Lake Thompson Recreation Area: campsites, cabins and a lodge. Planning your vacation at one of these locations is simple, using the online reservation system. Sites in the campground have electricity, dump station and comfort stations with flush toilets and showers. One-room cabins sleep four and have heating, air conditioning and electricity. The lodge at Lake Thompson Recreation Area was once a farm house. Now, the five-bedroom facility houses up to 12 guests in one of the state's most popular recreation areas.
Author Laura Ingalls Wilder mentions Lake Thompson as one of the Twin Lakes in her books, including "By the Shores of Silver Lake" and "The Long Winter." Modern-day visitors will also have plenty to write home about, as they enjoy the beach, boat ramp, ski beach and playground in the lovely area. Those fishing for walleye, northern pike, crappie, perch and bass have access to a fish-cleaning station and fishing-pole checkout. Hikers, bikers and walkers can take the park tour trail to see all parts of Lake Thompson Recreation Area.