Experience Voyageurs National Park
Have you ever heard wolves howl or seen northern lights? Have you ever pulled your boat up beside an 80’ granite rock cliff? You can experience this and much more in Minnesota’s only national park – Voyageurs National Park.
Voyageurs is a water-based park where you must leave your car behind and take to the water to fully experience the lakes, islands and shorelines of the park. Today, people explore the park mostly by motorboat, houseboat, canoe and kayak. The interconnected waterways provide recreational boaters with an unparalleled opportunity to explore the northwoods lake country.
Visitors can access the park by car or air. State Highways 53 and 11 lead visitors to the park’s gateway communities and visitor centers. A regional airline provides air service to Falls International Airport.
For visitors who arrive without a boat, the park provides canoe programs and tour boat programs aboard two 22-passenger pontoon boats from mid-June through late August. As an alternative, resorts in the gateway communities provide guide services and boat rentals.
Experienced boaters will find a variety of bays and channels and day use sites to explore on the park’s four major lakes – Kabetogama Lake, Namakan Lake, Rainy Lake, and Sand Point Lake. The park provides boat launches and parking at each Voyageurs National Park Visitor Center – Rainy, Kabetogama, and Ash River. There are additional Minnesota Department of Natural Resources boat launches near the park as well.
Visitors with or without a boat can take advantage of the park’s three visitor centers with exhibits, scenic hiking trails located near each visitor, Junior Ranger program, land-based interpretive programs, and lakeside picnic areas.
In just 15 minutes by foot or wheelchair, visitors can reach a scenic lake overlook in the park.
Overnight visitors can stay at over 200 designated tent and houseboat sites throughout the park; a free overnight permit is required. Visitors can also stay at resorts and campgrounds in the park’s gateway communities.
Once you have experienced the park during the summer, consider a trip in the fall or winter. The park is open year-round. Fall is the perfect time to explore the park’s many trails without the bugs. Fall colors peak from mid- to late-September.
By late December or early January, the lakes are frozen and snow covered and ready for snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Groomed cross-country ski trails through birch forests and beside frozen beaver ponds offer skiers scenic overlooks and chances to watch wildlife.
Whether you are here for a day, a week or longer, the lakes and land of Voyageurs National Park offer plenty of opportunities for exploration, fun, relaxation, and learning.