Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.Edward Abbey
About the Park
Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota is at its best in the country’s northern reaches. With about 1000 islands and 30 lakes, this adventure wonderland is a paradise for boating, hiking, fishing, and more. You can even see the northern lights here with your best chance during winter.
Check out the view from the park!
Live it up!
Best Things to do in the Park
- Take a paddle board or kayak out into the waters and enjoy the beauty. We took our boards, dog and snacks and had a fantastic day on the water. This was the highlight of the park for us.
- See the northern lights during the winter months
- Go fishing in the park waters and surrounding area waters
- Watch a sunset at Kabetogama Lake
- Go swimming in the warm summer waters of Rainy Lake
We had the best time in Minnesota at the Voyageurs National Park. One day, we took our two inflatable paddle boards, snacks, drinks, and our dog, Annie, and headed out into the waters. We spent several hours paddling around from small island to small island, enjoying nature at its best. It was so peaceful and perfect!
Size of Park
Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota has over 1000 islands within the park boundaries!
Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota has both land and aquatic ecosystems, which makes this park one of a kind. As the park is mainly water-based, most of the exploration here is done by watercraft. Tourists can rent boats at Crane Lake, International Falls, Ash River, and Lake Kabetogama gateway communities.
The park is spread over 218,055 acres of land and is located near northern Minnesota. So it is easy to see how it attracts hikers, paddlers, cross-country skiers, fat bikers, stargazers, and kayakers from all over the country.
There are both wild and developed areas in Voyageurs which are full of exposed rock ridges, cliffs, wetlands, streams, forests, and lakes. Even though most of the park can be accessed by water, you can still have fun exploring the land areas, which offer their distinctive beauty.
Most of the trails in the park are short with scenic views, making it an excellent spot for a family vacation. Here are some of the best trails that you should hike if you are in the park!
Blind Ash Bay Trail
This trail is almost 3 miles long and forms a loop through a forested area. While it does not take much time to complete the track, the scenic views on the way force many hikers to take much longer to finish it. As you trek on this path, you cannot help but admire your surroundings. Apart from offering a chance to see the wildlife, this track also showcases Kabetogama Lake.
This 28-mile-long trail is a one-way hike through a boreal forest. This route is popular among backpackers and hikers interested in camping, as the entire hike can take a few days. You will appreciate the park’s beauty as you pass through the backcountry forests and wetlands.
As this 1.5-long trail twists around a wetland, it eventually passes through conifer trees and deposits of ancient glaciers. Finally, the trail ends at an overlook where you can see some gorgeous lakes.
Located near Rainy Lake Visitor Center, the path can be completed by experienced hikers in less than an hour. In addition, there is a lot of wildlife in the area.
Echo Bay Trail
Walking through rocky outcrops and lowlands, you will be treated with views of some more wetlands and forests. The trail is made even more beautiful with the presence of the various birds, making it a popular spot for bird watchers. The loop trail is relatively easy, and its 2.5 miles-long distance makes it an excellent trail for everyone.
Beaver Pond Overlook Trail
Starting from the Ash River Visitor Center, the trail includes an uphill walk to a pine forest before finally ending at a magnificent viewpoint overlooking a waterway called the ‘Beaver Pond.’ This waterway is famous for the beavers.
The trail is just 0.4 miles long, so families with children find this place ideal for a quick visit. Moreover, if you hike this route hoping to spot wildlife, the best time to do so is in the early morning or late evening.
Camping in the Park
Voyageurs National Park has around 270 campsites for front-country, backcountry, and basic camping. So it doesn’t matter if you are here for swimming, picnicking, or an overnight stay; the park has plenty of options.
The only two basic campgrounds in the park are the only ones that can be accessed through the land. On the other hand, all the other sites require a watercraft for access. Front country campsites are situated on the park’s various shores and islands, including Namakan, Rainy, Sand Point, Kabetogama, and Crane.
Visitors can arrive on their own boat, use a water taxi, or rent a vessel to access Voyageurs’ campsites. However, because of the lack of amenities, campers must also be well prepared and have all the necessary supplies.
Those who do not want to stay at the park can also look for other options nearby, as there are a few campgrounds in the area.
Located two minutes from the national park, Ash River Campground is the nearest to the park. Scattered throughout the forest, the eight sites on this campground have potable water, toilet, and picnic tables.
Woodenfrog Campground is almost 40 miles from the Voyageurs National Park and has 59 spacious and rustic campsites. Kabetogama Lake is also nearby, and many campers go there for swimming or fishing. Along with toilets and potable water, picnic tables are also available.
With eight sites, Echo Lake Campground is 56 miles away from the national park and accommodates both RV and tent camping. This campground has a more peaceful environment where you can spend the long summer days beside a lake and have a bonfire at night if it gets chilly. The campground also includes potable water and toilets.
Ellsworth Rock Garden
Located on the shores of Lake Kabetogama, the Ellsworth Rock Garden features some unique artworks that have been made entirely out of stone. You will find giant monoliths perched on top of other stones with perfect balance. This garden was the creation of Jack Ellsworth, who built it in the 1940s. You can access this fascinating viewpoint through a short boat ride.
Gold portage is one of those places in Voyageurs where you will find abundant wildlife. As you admire the location, it is common to see moose, foxes, bears, and sometimes even wolves.
Its unique wildlife is one of many reasons visitors come to this place. A short trail connects Kabetogama Lake with Rainy Lake, and people interested in watersports come here to participate in kayaking and canoeing. The route between the two lakes is stunning.
Grassy Bay Cliffs
These 125-meter-tall granite cliffs near Sand Point Lake are more than 2 billion years old, which is quite apparent in the rugged rock formations. The sheer cliffs contrast sharply against its backdrop, making for a marvelous sight.
During fall, the beauty of this place is increased tenfold by the yellow and red autumn leaves. Much like many other places in the park, this vista is accessed by water only.
Kettle Falls Overlook
Kettle Falls can only be accessed by water and is located at the park’s heart. Hundreds of years ago, native people used to hunt and gather here. This iconic viewpoint showcases the region’s beauty and north woods charm and is one of the major draws of this National Park. A century-old historic hotel with a red roof is located near the overlook.
Click on the button to explore the state and travel guides for the area.
Getting to the Park
Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport is the closest major airport to Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota and is 5 hours south of the park. Falls International Airport is in International Falls, Minnesota and is close to the entrance. This also is a good place to stay for your park visit.
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