Kettle Falls: A Peculiar Spot in Voyageurs National Park

Kettle Falls in Voyageurs National Park was part of the historical route of the fur traders. These French Canadians transported furs and other goods by canoe through the waters along the US-Canadian border.

Deck  overlook of waterway with trees on either side.

But don’t spend too much time looking for a waterfall. A dam at Kettle Falls was built between 1910 and 1914. It controls the flow of water between Rainy Lake and Namakan Lake. Before the dam, there was a small waterfall on the site.

The dam at Kettle Falls in Voyageurs National Park.

Guests can see the Voyageurs’ route and the dam from the viewing platforms.

Wooden walkway near Kettle Falls in Voyageurs National park in Minnesota

The US-Canadian border runs through the middle of the dam. 

View of waterway through the trees near Kettle Falls.

Kettle Fall is a rather peculiar place. It is one of the few spots where the US is actually north of Canada!

Waterway to Rainy Lake with trees on either side.

Kettle Falls Hotel

Lodging is available at the site. Kettle Falls Hotel was completed in 1913. There is also a restaurant and a small store. 

Wooden tables and benches with pool table on wooden floor.

Visitors can relax on the screened-in veranda.

Chairs on an enclosed veranda in Kettle Falls Hotel

Services are seasonal and only available from May through September.

Small white wooden building with a a green door and American flag and ice box to the left. The sign says Trading Post.

Boaters can use portage services to move between Namakan and Rainy Lakes.

Sign amonst the trees that says portage hours 7:30 am to sunset.

Getting There

If you look up the address for the Kettle Falls Hotel, it is 12977 Chippewa Trail, Kabetogama, MN 56669. However, this is a bit misleading since you can only get there by boat or float plane.

The hotel offers transportation for overnight guests.

White woodend building with red roof and red striped awnings with Kettle Falls Hotel on the sign.

Day visitors can book a tour from either Kabetogama Lake or Rainy Lake Visitor Centers through a National Park Service vendor. Each tour is around 6 hours.

White woodden building (the Kettle Falls Hotel) with a screened in porch on the front and a gravel path leading to the stairs.
Kettle Falls Hotel

We rented a boat from our resort, the Pines of Kabetogama. It took about 2 hours to get there from there (without rushing).

Map on a Voyageurs sign that has Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake and shows the location of Kettle Falls.

Dock space is available at Kettle Falls for guests arriving on their own.

3 boats on a lake tied to a dock.

Trip Tip: Don’t count on navigating with your phone while boating in Voyageurs! Take a paper map.

Front of a National Geographic Map of Voyageurs National Park

If you’re traveling to Voyageurs National Park, consider visiting Kettle Falls. See the route traversed by the fur traders over 200 years ago and enjoy the peace and quiet found in this corner of the park.

Visiting Voyageurs? Check out Voyageurs Ellsworth Rock Gardens.

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