Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park

Activities & Programs

Voyageurs National Park provides a wide range of activities.

The late-summer months of August and September are often the best time of year to explore the park's hiking trails. The weather is often warm and pleasant, and the biting insects have mostly gone away.

The long northern winter provides ample time for outdoor enthusiasts to ski, snowshoe, snowmobile and ice fish in the park. The Rainy Lake Visitor Center year round and offers cross-country ski rentals and a snowshoe loan program during the winter months. 

Spring is a time of transition. As winter snow and ice melts, we speculate about when the lake ice will disappear, opening the way for boaters to begin exploring the interconnected waters of the park again.

Summer brings many water loving people to the park for houseboating, fishing, kayaking and canoeing the interconnected waterways here. All three visitor centers are open daily and boat tours and naturalist programs are offered throughout the summer. Canoes and rowboats are available for rent in the interior lakes through the Boats on Interior Lake Program. The Locator Lake Shuttle is offered this summer for transportation to a trailhead of an interior lake. 

Weather varies all year long.  Be prepared for sun, wind, rain, and snow.

Call 1-888-381-2873 for more information.

Visitor Centers

Rainy Lake Visitor Center
The Rainy Lake Visitor Center is located on the shore of Black Bay, with views across the water to the Kabetogama Peninsula. The Rainy Lake Visitor Center is open year-round, although hours of operation vary with the season.

The visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from late-May through September 30. The Rainy Lake Visitor Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Monday & Tuesday) from October through December, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Monday & Tuesday) from January through May.

This visitor center serves people in the northern part of the park, and is located eleven miles east on Highway 11 from International Falls, MN. The visitor center offers a museum, seasonal exhibits, a bookstore, a staffed information desk, a children's activity table and a theater for viewing the park film and a variety of nature videos.

The nearby boat launch provides boating access to Rainy Lake during the warm season, and access for cars on the Rainy Lake Ice Road during the coldest months of winter. Boat tours and naturalist programs are offered at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Call ahead, or stop by for the most current information and for help with trip planning at (218) 286-5258 or (888) 381-2873.

Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center
The Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from late May - September.

The Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center is closed from October 1 - late May.

The visitor center contains interactive exhibits, a children's activity table, a bookstore, a theater for viewing the park film and a staffed information desk. Boat tours and naturalist programs are offered at the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center. A free public boat launch and picnic area are located outside the visitor center. For more information, call the visitor center at (218) 875-2111.

Ash River Visitor Center
The Ash River Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from late May - September. Call for information at (218) 374-3221.

The Ash River Visitor is closed from October 1 - late May.

The Ash River area is accessed off Highway 53 just south of the Kabetogama Lake turn-off. Drive on the scenic Ash River Trail (County Road 129) to reach the visitor center. Watch for deer along the road, they are a common sight on this winding scenic drive.

The Ash River Visitor Center is located in the historic Meadwood Lodge building pictured above. There are nearby tables for picnics. A free public boat launch and separate paddle access area are available here. North Canoe voyages are offered at the Ash River Visitor Center.

Explore by Canoe

Enjoy a tranquil canoe trip while keeping an eye out for wildlife. We provide lessons, paddles, canoes and life jackets. Canoe trips leave from the Woodenfrog State Forest Campground on Kabetogama Lake and from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

Minimum age is 5. We recommend participants know how to swim. Weather dependent. Free.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (888) 381-2873. The reservation line is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 7 to August 31, 2008.

Rainy Lake Explore by Canoe
June 15 - August 14
Sunday, Thursday, 2 - 4 p.m.
Meet at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center

Kabetogama Lake Explore by Canoe
June 19 - August 9
Thursday, Saturday, 9:30 - 11 a.m.
Meet at the Woodenfrog State Forest Boat Launch

North Canoe Voyages

Paddle back in history aboard a 26-foot North Canoe. Learn the voyageur paddle salute and explore the life of a voyageur.

Guided North Canoe voyages are offered at the Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake and Ash River Visitor Centers (see schedule below).

Minimum age is 5. We recommend participants know how to swim. Weather dependent. Adult $4, Child $2.

Advance reservations may be made by calling (888) 381-2873. The reservation line is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from June 7 - August 31, 2008.

Outdoor Activities

Voyageurs National Park provides a wide range of options for enjoying the outdoors.

The late-summer months of August and September are often the best time of year to explore the park's trails. The weather is often warm and pleasant, and the biting insects have mostly gone away.

The long northern winter provides ample time for outdoor enthusiasts to ski, snowshoe, snowmobile and ice fish in the park.

Spring is a time of transition. As winter snow and ice melts, we speculate about when the lake ice will disappear, opening the way for boaters to begin exploring the interconnected waters of the park again.

Summer brings many water loving people to the park for houseboating, fishing, kayaking and canoeing the interconnected waterways here.

Call 1-888-381-2873 for more information.

Winter visitors enjoy the beauty of Voyageurs National Park by snowmobile, on cross-country skis, in an auto on the ice road, on snowshoes or in ice-fishing houses. Voyageurs invites visitors who want to get out of the cold to come to the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

Rainy Lake Visitor Center
Winter Hours and Services
Open Wednesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Call (218) 286-5258 or (888) 381-2873

The visitor center offers:
* Voyageurs National Park information
* Convenient snowmobile parking
* Winter Ice and Trail Conditions Report
* A cozy fire and hot cocoa
* A children’s corner
* Maps of ski, snowshoe and snowmobile trails
* Winter Programs, Sundays 2 – 4 p.m.
* Bookstore
* Life-size bull moose
* Exhibits and films
* Snowshoes for loan
* Cross-country ski rentals for adults and free loan program for kids

Snowshoe Trails and Rentals
Snowshoes are available to borrow for free from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center during visitor hours. Explore the winter landscape on one of the park's three packed snowshoe trails. Voyageurs National Park has many snowshoe sizes and shapes available free-of-charge during regular visitor center hours. Call the Rainy Lake Visitor Center at (218) 286-5258 or (888) 381-2873 for availability.

Cross-Country Ski Trails and Rentals
Enjoy the tranquility of cross-country skiing in Voyageurs National Park. Voyageurs National Park, the International Falls Community Education Department and the Friends of Voyageurs National Park have partnered to offer cross-country ski rentals at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. There are a large number of adult-sized skis, poles and boots available during regular visitor center hours for $5 a day. Children's skis, boots and poles are available free-of-charge during regular visitor center hours. Call the Rainy Lake Visitor Center at (218) 286-5258 or (888) 381-2873 for availability.

Rainy Lake Ice Road

The 7-mile Rainy Lake Ice Road extends from the boat launch ramp at Rainy Lake Visitor Center to the mouth of Cranberry Bay.
* The ice road is open to cars and trucks of less than 7,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight. SNOWMOBILES are NOT permitted on the ice road
* The speed limit is 30 MPH
* When heavy snow, slush, or thin ice exists, the ice road may be closed or shortened for safety. Travel beyond the plowed section is unsafe.

Ice Fishing
Ghostly winter quiet, rugged piney shorelines, and outstanding angling make Voyageurs National Park an ice angler’s dream. Place icehouses at least 50 feet from the center of snowmobile trails and the ice road. Check ice conditions before going out. Fishing license and icehouse registration is required.

Snowmobiling
Snowmobiling is allowed on frozen lake surfaces and designated safety portages in Voyageurs National Park. The park provides 110 miles of staked and groomed trails for snowmobiling.

All land areas, including rock faces, are closed to snowmobiles with the exception of designated safety portages. Hill climbing is prohibited.

Obey all closure signs. Areas are closed to protect your safety and to protect sensitive resources.

Be Safe!
* Carry a trail map with you
* Keep to the right on trails
* Leave a route plan with someone

Watch For:
* Pressure ridges – they change the surface of the lake. Always stop and inspect ridge areas before crossing. Pressure ridges are marked with two crossed orange caution stakes on each side.
* Slush and open water – avoid them by staying on staked and groomed trails.

Trail Conditions
Read the latest Winter Ice and Trail Conditions Report for the most updated ice and trail conditions. For additional trail condition information, please call:
* International Falls, 1-800-FALLS MN
* Kabetogama Lake, 1-800-524-9085
* Ash River, 1-800-950-2061
* Crane Lake, 1-877-466-7669 (466-SNOW)

Winter Trails

Cross-Country Ski Trails
Enjoy the tranquility of cross-country skiing in Voyageurs National Park. Area ski trails (groomed and tracked unless noted) include:

Black Bay Trail
Located one mile north of the Rainy Lake Visitor Center on the Rainy Lake Ice Road and offers 6 miles of trail.

Voyageurs’ Tilson Connector Trail
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages this 10-mile network of interconnected ski trails. Several routes are possible, ranging from short loops to longer excursions. You can access this system from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center area on the park’s Tilson Connector Trail.

Echo Bay Trail
This 3.5-mile loop trail is located a few miles from the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center (closed winter). Follow County Road 122 north toward the Woodenfrog State Forest campground to access the trailhead.

Kab-Ash Trail
This challenging backcountry trail system is 27.87 miles of ungroomed trail and is for the experienced skier. Bring a map and be prepared for winter travel in a remote area if exploring the Kab-Ash trail in winter.

Snowshoeing on the Oberholtzer Trail
Visitors snowshoe on the Oberholtzer trail near the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

Snowshoe Trails
Explore the winter landscape on one of the park’s three tracked snowshoe trails.

Blind Ash Bay Trail
(2.5 miles round trip)
The trailhead is at the Kabetogama Lake Overlook parking lot along the road to the Ash River Visitor Center.

Sullivan Bay Trail
(1.5 miles round trip)
Follow signs to the Ash River Visitor Center. The trailhead is just past the Beaver Pond Overlook on the north side of Sullivan Bay.

Oberholtzer Trail
(2 miles round trip)
The trailhead is just outside the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.