Planning a trip to Minnesota’s northern wilderness? Voyageurs National Park is a must-visit destination. They have a great balance of motorizied boating, paddleing and more.
It’s prefect for nature lovers, hikers, fishermen, and anyone looking to escape. In this guide, I’m giving you an overview of the park, highlight some of its best activities, and share tips on planning your visit.
First up, I absolutely love Voyagers National Park and I can’t recommend it enough for a family vacation this summer. There are so many great things to do and see here that the whole family will enjoy.
From hiking and fishing to kayaking and exploring the park’s numerous lakes, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures.
The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, with stunning views of the lakes, forests, and wildlife. Plus, the park offers a variety of camping options, from backcountry camping to RV sites, so you can choose the best fit for your family.
There’s truly something for everyone at Voyagers National Park, making it the perfect destination for a fun and memorable family vacation.
Voyageurs National Park: A Hidden Gem in Northern Minnesota
Voyageurs National Park is situated along the Canadian border and is part of the larger Canadian Shield region. The park covers over 218,000 acres of pristine lakes, forests, and wetlands, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts.
The landscape of Voyageurs National Park is characterized by dense forests, rolling hills, rocky outcroppings, and more than 500 islands scattered throughout the park’s four large lakes.
The park is also home to numerous smaller lakes, streams, and wetlands. This creates an ideal habitat for wildlife, including moose, wolves, black bears, and bald eagles.
As one of the National Park System, this park is free to enter. But you will need to get permits to access different parts of the park.
Recommendations for Activities and Attractions
One of the best waterfall routes in Voyageurs National Park is the Kabetogama Peninsula Loop, which offers stunning views of three different waterfalls: the Ash River Falls, Kettle Falls, and Vermilion Falls.
The Grassy Bay Cliffs Trail is another great option for hikers, leading them to a beautiful overlook of Grassy Bay and a small waterfall.
The Tilson Bay Trail also offers visitors the chance to see the picturesque Tilson Bay Falls, which cascades over a rocky outcropping into a small pool below.
Boating is another great way to explore the park, with over 500 campsites accessible only by water. You can rent a boat or bring your own to explore the many islands, bays, and coves throughout the park.
Fishing is also a popular activity in the park, with an abundance of fish species including walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass.
If you plan to fish, you’ll need to purchase a fishing license, which can be done online or at the park visitor center.
Hiking is a great way to explore the park’s interior, with over 50 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy nature walks to more challenging backcountry treks. Some of the most popular trails include the Kabetogama Peninsula Trail and the Locator Lake Trail.
Wildlife watching is also a must-do activity, with the park’s diverse range of wildlife, including moose, black bears, wolves, and bald eagles, as well as smaller creatures like otters and beavers.
The park offers a variety of ranger-led programs and tours throughout the summer season, including guided hikes, campfire talks, and boat tours. Be sure to check the park’s website for a schedule of events during your visit.
Why Voyageurs National Park is a Great Fishing Location
If you’re an angler, you’ll love the abundance of lakes and waterways in Voyageurs National Park that are home to a variety of fish species.
The park boasts over 30 fish species, including walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and lake trout, making it a prime destination for anglers of all skill levels.
With its clear waters and scenic surroundings, fishing in Voyageurs National Park is not only a great way to catch fish but also an opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of Minnesota’s northern wilderness.
Whether you’re fishing from a boat or casting from shore, Voyageurs National Park offers a unique and unforgettable fishing experience.
Hiking and Nature Walks
Voyageurs National Park is known for its beautiful waterways and scenic boating, but it also has some great hiking opportunities. Here are the ones I recommend.
- Locator Lake Trail: This 4.3-mile loop trail takes you through a beautiful forest and offers stunning views of Locator Lake. It’s a moderate hike with some uphill sections, but the views are definitely worth it.
- Blind Ash Bay Trail: This 2.5-mile out-and-back trail is a great option for those who want a shorter hike with plenty of scenery. The trail follows the shoreline of Blind Ash Bay and offers great opportunities for wildlife viewing.
- Black Bay Trail: This 3.3-mile out-and-back trail takes you through a beautiful forest and along the shoreline of Black Bay. It’s a great hike for birdwatching, as the area is home to a variety of waterfowl and other birds.
- Oberholtzer Trail: This 9.8-mile out-and-back trail takes you through a variety of ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and rocky outcroppings. It’s a longer hike, but the views of Rainy Lake and the surrounding wilderness are truly breathtaking.
- Cruiser Lake Trail: This 2.5-mile out-and-back trail is a great option for those who want a shorter hike with plenty of scenery. The trail takes you through a beautiful forest and along the shoreline of Cruiser Lake.
What is so special about Voyageurs National Park?
Voyageurs National Park is an incredible destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and rich cultural history. It is located in northern Minnesota and is known for its crystal-clear lakes, rugged shoreline, and abundant wildlife.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of activities to enjoy, including hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. The park also features historic sites that offer a glimpse into the area’s past, including the fur trade and the Ojibwe tribe.
Whether you’re a nature lover or a history buff, you will not want to miss the breathtaking scenery and fascinating history of Voyageurs National Park.
Are there grizzly bears in Voyageurs National Park?
No, there aren’t any grizzly bears in Voyageurs National Park. However, the park is home to black bears, which visitors may encounter. It’s important to practice bear safety when visiting any national park, such as storing food properly and disposing of trash to avoid bear encounters.
Is Voyageurs National Park worth visiting?
Yes, absolutely! This stunning park covers over 340 square miles of pristine wilderness, including four large lakes and more than 30 smaller bodies of water.
Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching. The park is home to black bears, wolves, moose, and bald eagles and many more.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat in nature or an action-packed adventure, Voyageurs National Park has something to offer for everyone.
What time of year can you see northern lights in Voyageurs National Park?
You can see northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, in Voyageurs National Park during the winter months from November to March.
These months are ideal for viewing because the darkness and clear skies create perfect conditions for this beautiful natural phenomenon.
Visitors during this time can witness the mesmerizing display of dancing colors in the night sky, adding an extra layer of beauty to their winter experience.
How many days do you need to see Voyageurs National Park?
The time you need to explore Voyageurs National Park will depend on your interests, but there are plenty of activities to keep you busy for several days.
You can spend time kayaking or canoeing along the park’s many waterways, hiking through the scenic trails, or simply relaxing by the lakeside.
With its stunning natural beauty and diverse range of activities, Voyageurs National Park is definitely worth spending a few days exploring.
What is the best time of year to visit Voyageurs?
The best time of year to visit Voyageurs National Park depends on your interests.
In the summer, visitors can enjoy boating and fishing on the park’s many lakes, hiking, and wildlife watching.
Fall is an ideal time to visit, with the changing colors of the leaves and the opportunity to see migratory birds.
Winter brings a chance to experience the park’s frozen lakes and snow-covered forests, with opportunities for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing.
Spring offers the chance to see the park come back to life after winter, with wildflowers and baby animals emerging.
You can visit Voyageurs National Park any time of the year; the park has something to offer year-round.
Can you drive into Voyageurs National Park?
Yes, similar ot the Boundary waters, you can drive to the edge of Voyageurs National Park from multiple locaitons. The park offers several scenic drives that take visitors through the beautiful forests, lakes, and wetlands of the park.
The Kabetogama Peninsula drive is the most popular and offers stunning views of Lake Kabetogama and the surrounding wilderness. Other drives include the Rainy Lake Visitor Center Drive and the Ash River Visitor Center Drive.
These drives also provide opportunities to stop and explore the park’s many trails, campgrounds, and recreational areas. However, it is important to note that some parts of the park can only be accessed by boat or hiking, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.
What kind of fish are in Voyageurs National Park?
Voyageurs National Park is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with a wide variety of fish species found in its lakes and waterways.
Some of the most commonly caught fish in the park include walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and lake trout. Other fish species that can be found in the park’s waters include muskellunge, crappie, bluegill, and perch.
With its diverse range of fish species and excellent fishing conditions, Voyageurs National Park is a popular destination for anglers from around the world.
Can you camp in Voyageurs National Park?
Yes, camping is allowed in Voyageurs National Park. The park offers a variety of camping options, including front country campsites, backcountry campsites, and group campsites.
Front country campsites are located near parking areas and offer amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Backcountry campsites are accessible only by boat or hiking, and offer a more secluded camping experience.
Group campsites are available for larger groups, such as scout troops or family gatherings.
Reservations are recommended for all camping options in the park, especially during peak season. You can reserve your spot by clicking here.
What are the closest towns to Voyageurs National Park?
Looking for the closest town to Voyageurs National Park? That would be International Falls, Minnesota!
This small town is just a few miles away from the park entrance and offers plenty of amenities for visitors. There are restaurants, lodging options, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
But if you’re looking for other nearby towns to check out, we’ve got you covered!
First up is Kabetogama, a small town located on the southern edge of the park. Kabetogama is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing.
Take a scenic drive around the Kabetogama Peninsula, explore the Kabetogama Lake Overlook, or take a boat tour of the park’s islands and waterways.
Outdoor enthusiasts can also hike on the many trails in the park or rent canoes and kayaks to explore the quiet coves and bays.
Make sure to stop into the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center and the Ellsworth Rock Garden.
Next on the list is Crane Lake, a small town located in northern Minnesota near the Canadian border. This town is known for its crystal clear lake that provides excellent fishing opportunities.
Visitors can also enjoy boating, canoeing, and kayaking on the lake or explore the nearby hiking trails. The town has a few shops, restaurants, and a marina that offers boat rentals and guided tours.
Don’t forget about International Falls! Known as the “Icebox of the Nation” due to its frigid winters, this town sits on the banks of the Rainy River, which is ideal for fishing and water activities.
Visitors can explore the nearby Voyageurs National Park and the historic Koochiching County Courthouse. The town also hosts several annual events, such as the Smokey Bear Park Fall Festival and the Border Bass Battle Fishing Tournament.
Looking for something more cultural? Check out the Bronko Nagurski Museum, located in International Falls. The museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Bronko Nagurski, a legendary football player and wrestler.
The museum features a wide range of exhibits that showcase Nagurski’s achievements and contributions to the world of sports. Visitors can explore Nagurski’s early years growing up in northern Minnesota and learn about his football and wrestling careers at the University of Minnesota and in the professional leagues.
Last but not least, Orr is a small town located in St. Louis County, Minnesota. It offers visitors a range of recreational activities and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the area.
The Big Sandy Lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and swimming, and visitors can rent boats or canoes to explore the lake.
The Orr Bog Walk is a raised boardwalk that allows visitors to explore a unique ecosystem of sphagnum moss and carnivorous plants.
For visitors interested in history and culture, the Orr Regional History Center is a must-visit destination, showcasing exhibits that feature the history of the area.
Don’t miss the nearby Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a large population of black bears, and the Vermilion Falls, a scenic waterfall located just a short drive from the town.
Check out all the fun things to do in Orr by clicking here.
Tips for Planning Your Visit
When planning your visit to Voyageurs National Park, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Seasonal considerations: The park is open year-round, but some activities may be limited during certain seasons. For example, boating is best during the summer months, while winter offers opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
- Accommodations: If you plan to stay overnight in the park, be sure to book your campsite or lodging well in advance, especially during peak season (June-August).
- Transportation: The park is accessible by car, but most of the park’s interior is only accessible by water. Consider renting a boat or taking a guided tour to explore the park’s lakes and islands.
- Wildlife safety: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including bears and wolves. Be sure to store food and garbage properly and to follow all posted guidelines to ensure your safety and the safety of the animals.
- Weather: The weather in Voyageurs National Park can be unpredictable, so be prepared for a variety of conditions. Bring appropriate clothing and gear for rain, wind, and sun.
What are some other National Parks Similar to Voyagers you need to check out.
There are lots of other national parks in the US that offer similar experiences to Voyageurs National Park. For example, Isle Royale National Park, Acadia National Park, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Olympic National Park are all great options.
You can find beautiful scenery, chances for outdoor adventures, and unique ecosystems and wildlife at each of these parks. Whether you like hiking, camping, kayaking, or just enjoying nature, these national parks are definitely worth checking out!
Voyageurs National Park is a hidden gem of Minnesota’s northern wilderness that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and cultural history.
With its stunning lakes, forests, and wildlife, the park is a paradise for nature lovers, hikers, fishermen, and anyone seeking a peaceful escape from the stresses of modern life.
By following the tips and recommendations in this guide, you can plan an unforgettable trip to this awe-inspiring wilderness and experience all that Voyageurs National Park has to offer.