Red Lake is a lake in Beltrami County in northern Minnesota. It is the largest natural freshwater lake located entirely within Minnesota, and the 16th largest lake in the United States. The lake is separated into two sections by a peninsula on the eastern side that almost bisects it in the middle. The community of Ponemah lies on the peninsula. The two parts of the lake are known as Upper Red Lake and Lower Red Lake. Lower Red Lake lies entirely within the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Total size is 440 square miles, with a maximum depth of 84 feet. The elevation of the lake is maintained by a dam at the outflow that is the beginning of Red Lake River, this being at the middle, western edge of Lower Red Lake.
The Red Lake River covers a wide variety of terrain. After leaving the Red Lake, the river flows through a marsh in the Red Lake Indian Reservation. The river then flows through a prairie and, then, through farmland. Afterward, St. Hilaire the sides of the river grow steeper, becoming large eroding cliffs. Some parts of the riverbanks are thickly forested.