V;;;;;;; ;; ;;;;;; ;;; ;;;;;;;;;.; As the most seasoned voyageurs know, to get to where you’re going,
sometimes you have to travel to the end
of the road where the waterways begin.
Voyageurs National Park is an expanse
of lakes and forests at the end of the
road on Minnesota’s northern border.
Established in 1975, the park was named
for the French-Canadian fur traders who
paddled these waterways 250 years ago.
Several visitor centers serve as
entry points to the park: Rainy
Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Ash River
and the Crane Lake Ranger Station.
There, adults will find a plethora of
information and kids can pick up free
“Discovery Packs” about voyageurs,
plants and animals, the fur trade,
naturalist programs are also available.
Lakes are the focal point of this unique
national park, so you need to get out on
the water to truly experience it.
Two tour boats o;er narrated
excursions on Rainy and Kabetogama
lakes, mainly June through September,
and are a great way to explore the park
(reservations are recommended). The
guides will share a wealth of facts on the
area, including its wildlife, flora
and former gold mines. One trip goes
to the century-old Ke;le Falls Hotel,
reachable only by boat. There are also
free guided canoe trips twice a week
during peak season.
Whether you trailer your own or rent
one, motorboats are another popular
way to explore these lakes. Voyageurs
is an angler’s paradise, complete with
walleye, northern pike, muskie, sunfish,
crappies and bass. Anglers should do a bit
of research first: Start at local bait shops,
where you can tap into local wisdom on
where and how to fish for which species.
Local guides can be invaluable to folks
fishing in this area for the first time,
sharing the hot spots and techniques,
and cleaning the fish at the end of the
day. Many cook a fresh shore lunch as
part of the package.
If paddling the waters is more your
style, Crane Lake is a perfect place to
start, as it’s the smallest lake on the
park’s perimeter. It’s also one of the most
ruggedly scenic of the lakes, with sheer
rock walls and picturesque narrows.
End of the Road
Explore the lakes of Voyageurs National Park. | KELLY JO MCDONNELL
VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK