Lake Minnetonka is a 14528acre inland lake in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is located west-southwest of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis–Saint Paul and lies almost entirely within Hennepin County with only its southernmost extension, Smithtown Bay, reaching into Carver County. The lake is also irregularly shaped with numerous bays, peninsulas, and islands that form approximately 125mi of shoreline.HistoryEarly HistoryThe first known inhabitants of Lake Minnetonka are referred to as the Mound Builders, an ancient civilization which encompassed much of Midwestern America between 3500 BCE and 1500 CE. The Mound Builders were known to construct large land features which served spiritual, ceremonial, burial, and elite residential functions. The civilization reached its apex circa 1150 CE and ceased to exist circa 1500 CE.By the 1700s Lake Minnetonka was inhabited by the Mdewakanton People, a sub-tribe of the Dakota. Although their primary settlements lay within the Minnesota River Valley, the Mdewakanton frequented Lake Minnetonka for hunting, fishing, and collecting maple syrup. Spirit Knob, a peninsula near present-day Wayzata, also held spiritual significance for the Mdewakanton. Following the Dakota War of 1862, however, most of the Dakota (including the Mdewakanton) were banished from Minnesota.