Voyageurs National Park is a water-based park, with most of the area being accessible by water. Leave your vehicle behind and rent a boat, canoe, or kayak, and get out in the fresh, clear waters of Minnesota and experience the park. The waterways are interconnected, allowing for miles of enjoyment as you canoe or kayak to your heart’s content. The park lies in what is known as the “lake country” of the state of Minnesota.
Size of the Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park has over 200,000 acres within its boundaries, and over 80,000 of that is water. The park also has a 55-mile border that it shares with Canada and has part of the famous “transcontinental highway” included in that segment of the border. Voyageurs also have some of the oldest exposed rock known in the world, with some dating back to 2.8 billion years old. Explore the waterways, the glaciers, see the oldest rock, and watch for wildlife in this amazing and beautiful park.
Watch the Weather
Due to the northern location of the park, be prepared for a white winter wonderland, and perfect summer temperatures. The park experiences all seasons, and although it is open year round, traveling to Voyageurs during the winter might prove to be more difficult. All seasons offer different activities. The park has over 100 miles of snowmobile trails for winter fun. There are miles of ski trails, hundreds of campsites, trails to hike, rivers to paddle, and much more to see and do. The first snowfall usually occurs in October and can sometimes last until May when the lakes and rivers will thaw. The summer months are considered to be from June through mid-September.
What is a “voyageur?”
The name of the park “Voyageurs” is actually a French word meaning traveler. The waterways established a fur trading route. The European visits who first came to the area in 1688 where French explorer Jacques de Noyon and company, thus giving the park its name due to the French influence and discovery of the area. The Europeans were the first to interact with the indigenous people in the area that called Voyageurs home long before anyone else. Visitors and guests can learn more about the indigenous people and the settlers and explorers in the visitor center where there is lots of information and fantastic displays available.
Tons of Trails!
Voyageur National Park has a wide assortment of trails, some of them are only reachable by boat. One of the most amazing times to hike is during the fall when the cold air and the colorful leaves combine for a perfect hike. You don’t have to take a boat to get to a hiking trail. Voyageurs has many trails to choose from that are accessible by car. The Echo Bay Trail is a nice, easy trail that is about 2.5 miles long and takes a couple of hours to complete. Enjoy a wide path that winds through the beautiful trees. The Rainy Lake Recreation Trail is also an easy trail that is less than 2 miles long and takes under 2 hours to complete. The trail offers views of the lake, the trees, and rock outcrops. The Blind Ash Bay Trail is almost 3 miles long and takes a little over 2 hours to finish. It is a moderately steep trail that travels a rocky, winding trail through the forest and some great scenery. There are several overlooks as well to enjoy in the park. Beaver Pond, Kabetogama Lake, and Voyageurs Forest are all short, easy walks to scenic overlooks of some gorgeous Minnesota scenery. There are also trails that are only accessible by boat or canoe or kayak. You can reach the Beast Lake Trail by Namakan Lake, and is about 2 miles of moderately steep trail to hike. The trail climbs along a ridge, which gives the hiker beautiful views from above. You can access the Cruiser Lake Trail by Kabetogama Lake, and there is a good chance of seeing wildlife like a moose or even a wolf on this trail. It is a strenuous trail that is about 9 miles one way and takes 8 hours to complete. Be prepared to hike rocky cliffs, through wetland areas, and over the peninsula. This list is only some of the trail offered at Voyageurs National Park. There are much more to hike and explore, and in the winter you can walk the trails with snowshoes!
Camp Along the Water
There are many campsites in the park that are stunning! Camp put amongst the trees overlooking a lake or waterway that is only a few feet away. Enjoy a picnic on one of the picnic tables while your kids run and splash in the water, or kick off your canoe trip from your campsite. Voyageurs has lots of different sites based on your needs. There are day use sites for just a fun day or few hours in the park. There are both small and large campsites that can accommodate a couple of people on up to sixteen people. Houseboat sites are available for those who want to drive their houseboat into the park and stay in it. They offer group campsites are for large parties of up to thirty people. There is also wheelchair user accessible sites and backcountry campsites of the most remote experience. Enjoy a campfire at night within one of the given fire rings at your campsite and experience the beautiful outdoors of Minnesota.
Hike To Health
This park participates in the “Hike for Health” program. Hikers and visitors can complete trails to earn prizes and get your name on the Voyageurs’ website. The park website has the GPS locations of each path to start the Hike to Health program. Hikers that compete for 5, 10 or all of the trails earn prizes in their conquest to Hike for Health. Hiking is good for your health, and the beautiful forested outdoors of this national park is an excellent place to explore, take photographs, and get outside to enjoy it. You can rent snowshoes if you want to try hiking in the winter months too.
Home to Amazing Wildlife
The forests and lakes of Voyageurs are home to some amazing animals that you might have a chance to see. The North Woods areas offer habitats to moose, gray wolves, black bears, beavers, bald eagles, and loons. Visitors report seeing otters bask in the sun on the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center dock. Keep your eyes open for these magnificent creatures as they live and thrive in Voyageurs National Park.