Voyageurs National Park Travel Guide

  • View From Trail
    View From Trail
    by Basaic
  • Bald Eagle Nest
    Bald Eagle Nest
    by Basaic
  • Pine Marten
    Pine Marten
    by Basaic

Voyageurs National Park Things to Do

  • Stop and Smell the Flowers

    There are a number of different types of flowers located in the park. When the Lady Slipper flowers reach their peak blooming, there is even a festival for them.

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  • Picnic at Ash River

    There is a picnic table near the trailhead for the Beaver Pond Trail, should you decide to bring your own food and wish to eat and enjoy the scenery.

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  • Ash River Area Hiking Trails

    There are several hiking trails in the Ash River Area. I took three of them: The Blind Ash Bay Trail (my favorite in the whole park); Beaver Pond Trail; and I hiked a part of the Kab Ash Trail. I will go into more detail of each of these trails on Sports Tips.

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  • Visitors Center Displays

    There a couple of interesting displays about the area, its history and the wildlife inside the visitors center.

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  • Ash River Visitors Center

    Start your tour of the Ash River Area at the Ash River Visitors Center, which is in the historic Meadwood Lodge which was built in 1935. Here you can get permission to explore the waterways and islands, pick up information, brochures and maps, watch a video, and talk to the rangers to maximize your enjoyment of the park. There are beautiful views...

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  • Picnic at Ellsworth Rock Gardens

    There is a small picnic area near the workshop, if you brought lunch. Make sure you pack out whatever you brought in.

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  • Teepees

    The teepees were one of the last features added to the rock gardens. It was decorated with brightly colored Indian designs and lit from inside. It had been damaged by a storm when I visited.

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  • Meteorite

    Ellsworth frequently said this was a meteorite. It does look a bit different than most rocks here. The meteorite is one of the most photographed features here.

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  • Ellsworth Rock Garden: Animals

    Some sculptures are of animals. Some of these defy description, and some have been debated. This one has been identified as a few different animals; but to me it looks just like a cat. What do you think?

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  • Ellsworth Garden: Tables

    Some of the sculptures are very literal and easy to identify like these tables, although why he stacked the tables on top of each other is open to debate.

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  • Ellsworth Garden Workshop

    Some of the sculptures are original and others have been restored using historic photographs. The only original building left here is Ellsworth's Workshop.

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  • Kabetogama: Ellsworth Rock Gardens

    The only boat tour I took was one to the Ellsworth Rock Gardens. This was the vacation home of Chicago contractor Jack Ellsworth and his wife. He constructed the garden consisting of over 150 rock sculptures and 52 flower beds between 1944 and 1965. Ellsworth did all of this using no power tools of any kind. This is a very unique place.

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  • Picnic at Kabetogama Lake

    There is a picnic area right on the edge of Kabetogama Lake, should you decide to bring your own food and wish to eat and enjoy the scenery.

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  • CCC Cabins at Kabetogama Lake

    These cabins were built in the 1930 by the CCC. I think they are now all used by the NPS for storage and other administrative functions.

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  • Meet the People at Kabetogama Lake

    One thing I always enjoy is meeting the locals. There were a number of nice rangers working at Kabetogama Lake. Ranger Ethan and Ranger Jessica are a married couple, both with the National Park Service, and were friendly, knowledgeable, and fun to talk to. There was another Ranger Jessica (she led the tour of the Ellsworth Rock Garden) but she did...

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  • Kabetogama Visitors Center Displays

    There is a nice little museum with some excellent displays about the history of the area inside the visitors center.

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  • Kabetogama Lake Visitors Center

    Start your tour of the Kabetogama Lake Area at the Kabetogama Lake Visitors Center. Here you can get permission to explore the waterways and islands, pick up information, brochures and maps, watch a video, and talk to the rangers to maximize your enjoyment of the park. There are beautiful views of Kabetogama Lake from the visitors center. You can...

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  • Hiking at Rainy Lake

    There are a few different hiking trails available at, or near, the Rainy Lake Visitors Center. I took the Oberholtzer Trail and a portion of the Tilson Creek Ski Trail. I will discuss these trails in more detail under Sports Tips.

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Voyageurs National Park Restaurants

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Chocolate Moose in International Falls

    by Basaic Written Nov 12, 2011

    Food is also available at the resorts by the main areas of the park and at Kettle Falls on the Kabetogama Peninsula. I ate at a very nice restaurant in International Falls called the Chocolate Moose.

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    • National/State Park
    • Food and Dining

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Voyageurs National Park Transportation

  • Voyageur

    At Rainy Lake, the NPS boat is called "The Voyaguer). It will take you on a variety of ranger-led tours. For me, that will have to be next trip.

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  • The Otter

    At the Kabetogama Lake area of the park, they have an NPS boat called "The Otter" that takes you on the ranger sponsored tours. I took it to the Ellsworth Rock Garden. It was comfortable enough and ably captained by CPT Al.

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  • Personal Boats

    Many people bring their own boats (I don't own one) to explore the park and its islands and waterways. All four parts of the park have parking for the boat trailers, boat ramps and lots of dock space.

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Voyageurs National Park Local Customs

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    by Basaic Written Nov 18, 2011

    One of the more interesting things I heard here was the naming of many of the islands. At least part of the time there was a joint US/Canadian team designating what islands belonged to which country and naming the islands. For instance there were two islands close together and the representative for Canada pointed to one island and said Your" and the other and said "My". That became the official names for the islands. There is also an island called "Blind Pig" because it was the location for a number of stills for making moonshine during prohibition and a blind pig was a nickname for a still. Another official, while surveying the islands, came across a group of underfed animals (maybe a pack of wolves?) and annotated "Feed em" on the map. That became the name of that island.

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    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park

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Voyageurs National Park Warnings and Dangers

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    Warning Sign 1 more image

    by Basaic Written Nov 18, 2011

    As always, you should obey all warning signs. They are there to for your safety and to protect the park, its wildlife, and its plants.

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    • Eco-Tourism
    • Family Travel

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Voyageurs National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Boating at Voyageurs

    The vast majority of Voyageurs National Park is only accessible by water so boating is a very popular way of getting around the park. All four parts of the park have parking for the boat trailers, boat ramps and lots of dock space.

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  • Tilson Creek Ski Trail

    The last trail I will cover is the Tilson Creek Ski Trail. This is a 2 mile loop trail that is moderate in difficulty. The trail is set up for snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter. The trailhead is near the Tilson Bay Boat Launch. Good walking shoes, water, sunscreen, a hat, insect repellant, a snack, weather appropriate clothing,...

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  • View From Oberholtzer Trail

    Here are some of the spectacular views along the Oberholtzer Trail. Good walking shoes, water, sunscreen, a hat, insect repellant, a snack, weather appropriate clothing, don't forget your camera!

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Voyageurs National Park Favorites

  • Basaic's Profile Photo
    Rainy Lake Visitors Center 4 more images

    by Basaic Updated Nov 16, 2011

    Favorite thing: The most important element in Voyageurs National Park is water. The park exists because of it. The early settlers (both the Indian Tribes and the white settlers that followed) used the waters for transportation and food. They used the numerous islands for hunting, for shelter, and in many cases for illegal activities. Much of the park is still a wilderness area that looks much like it did when these settlers first arrived. Voyageurs has a grand total of over 218,000 acres of which about 84,000 is water. There are over 500 islands and a total of 655 miles of shoreline.

    There are four main parts of the park: Rainy Lake; Kabetogama Lake; Ash River; and Crane Lake along with lots of water and islands. Although you really need a boat and time to explore the waterways and islands to fully enjoy this park, there are a variety of historical sites and museums to visit to learn about the areas history.

    In addition to boating, fishing and other waterborne sports there are some nice hiking trails and abundant wildlife to enjoy.

    Fondest memory: The View From the Blind Ash Bay Trail.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park

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Explore Deeper into Voyageurs National Park
Oberholtzer Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Echo Bay Trail
Sports & Outdoors
Beaver Pond Trail
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Kab Ash Trail
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Views Along Blind Ash Bay Trail
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Blind Ash Bay Trail
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picnic at Rainy Lake
Things to Do
Rainy Lake Visitors Center Museum
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Rainy Lake Visitors Center
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Ash River Visitor Center
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Kabetogama Visitor Center
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Rainy Lake Visitor Center
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Map of Voyageurs National Park

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