The Lester River flows for its entire length in southern Saint Louis County. It rises in Gnesen Township and flows generally southeastwardly through Rice Lake and Lakewood townships, turning southward as it nears Lake Superior. It flows into the lake in eastern Duluth.
Lester River is known as Basaabikaa-ziibi in Ojibwe, meaning "Rocky Canyon River", though Joseph Gilfillan translated its name as "River that comes through a worn hollow place in the rock," as the river passes through a canyon between Lester Park, where Amity Creek joins the Lester River, and the mouth of the river.
Along the Lester River are two structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are:
- Lester River Bridge (Bridge No. 5772)
- US Fisheries Station, Duluth. Built in 1882, the complex is located at the mouth of the Lester River. It is owned by the University of Minnesota Duluth and temporarily housed the Great Lakes Aquarium administrative offices at the beginning of the aquarium's operations. The complex consists of the Hatchery/Bunk-room Building, Boat House, Pump House, Supervisor's Cabin on the south side of Congdon Boulevard, and a Superintendent's House on the north side of Congdon Boulevard.
- U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed May 7, 2012
- Upham, Warren (2001). Minnesota place names: a geographical encyclopedia. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87351-396-7.
- Waters, Thomas F. (1977). The Streams and Rivers of Minnesota. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-0960-8.
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