Voyageurs National Park

Minnesota, United States North America icon North America

Voyageurs National Park is located in the northernmost central part of Minnesota along the border of Canada.  The park covers an area of 340.9 square miles (883 sq km).

The protected area is not far from the Isle Royale National Park in the far northeastern Lake Superior waterways of Michigan. It also rests along the border with Ontario, Canada, and one of the state's provincial parks.

The park is renowned for the abundance and varying waterways scattered across the boundaries of the protected area. Where many national parks attract hikers and climbers, Voyageurs National Park attracts boaters, canoeists, kayakers, and those who love to fish.  Much of the inward part of the park may only be experienced or accessed by some type of watercraft.

The winter months do give way to cross-country skiing, snowmobile excursions, and trekking with snowshoes. Rainy Lake visitor center is the only one open year-round while the other two are open over the summer months running from late May through the middle of September.

Water is king at Voyageurs with the park boundaries enclosing either all or much of the four major lakes in the area. The four lakes include:

  • Rainy Lake
  • Kabetogama Lake
  • Namakan Lake
  • Sand Point Lake

The Great Lakes Spruce, Great Lakes Fir, Great Lakes Pine, and Northern Conifer woodlands create exquisite habitats for a variety of wildlife.  The larger animals of the park include moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, and timber wolf. Some of the smaller creatures include beaver, fox, muskrat, river otter, snowshoe hare, and weasel.

Bald eagle accounts for the most majestic of the bird sightings, but there are several birds that nest or migrate through the area.

Voyageurs Highlights

The waterways of Voyageurs are the primary attraction of the national park.  The four large lakes referenced above are accompanied by several other smaller lakes of which many are accessible through hiking trails adding to the watery adventure. 

Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake is probably the leading attraction of the park.  It stretches across 60 miles (97 km) long with an area of 355.60 square miles (921.1 sq km) with a maximum depth of 161 feet (49 m).

The shoreline around the lake measures 929 miles (1,495 km) creating one massive body of water. It is the largest body of water and the pinnacle attraction of the park.

Kabetogama Lake

Kabetogama Lake is the second largest lake based on area. The shoreline traverses 78 miles (126 km) around the lake.  The lake stretches across 15 miles (24 km) long with an area of 40.23 square miles (104.2 sq km) with a maximum depth of 80 feet (24 m).

Namakan Lake

Namakan Lake is the third largest lake based on area. The shoreline travels 146 miles (235 km) around the lake.  The lake stretches across 16 miles (26 km) long with an area of 39.26 square miles (101.7 sq km) with a maximum depth of 150 feet (46 m).

Sand Point Lake

Sand Point Lake is the smallest lake in the four large lakes. The shoreline measures 92 miles (148 km) around the lake.  The lake stretches across 8 miles (13 km) long with an area of 8.10 square miles (21 sq km) with a maximum depth of 184 feet (56 m). Although it is the smallest in area, it is the second deepest of the four lakes.

Trails of Voyageurs National Park

Although water is king, there are over 50 miles (80 km) of hiking trails that meander across the peninsula along with some on the islands. The majority of trails are through trees and along the shorelines which means that most are easy to moderate.

Kabetogama Lake Overlook Trail: This is a short easy 0.4-mile (0.64 m) out and back hike through the forests featuring a lookout over the lake.

Beaver Pond Overlook Trail: This is another short easy rated trail that only covers a distance of 0.3 miles (0.48 km).  The trail through woods ends a view out of Beaver Pond with chances to see wildlife and wildflowers.

Oberholtzer Trail: This is a 1.7-mile (2.73 km) loop trail that is rated easy and accessible for most people.  The loop trail meanders through the forest area and allows visitors to enjoy the outdoors.

Kab-Ash Trail: This is an easy trail that really provides most people with a chance to hike and experience different aspects of the park.  The trail is longer covering a distance of 15.2 miles (24.46 km) while also having an elevation gain of 1,335 feet.  The elevation gain is less significant since it is over such a long distance.  There are chances to see wildlife and wildflowers all while appreciating the views of the area.

Cruiser Lake – Anderson Bay Trail: This is a moderate rated loop trail covering a distance of 8.7 miles (14.00 km) as it meanders from Cruiser Lake through woods past Brown Lake and out to Anderson Bay.  There are chances to see wildlife, dense forests, and different views of lakes and waterways.  Part of the trail is a narrow boardwalk.  There is an elevation gain of 738 feet (224.9 m).

Voyageurs Highlights

  • Rainy Lake
  • Kabetogama Lake
  • Namakan Lake
  • Sand Point Lake 

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