Traverse Historic Highways in Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park is in northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border. The park boasts over 218,000 acres of pristine lakes, forests, and waterways.

Lake with rock island with trees in Voyageurs National Park

Visitors from the US typically come to Voyageurs via Minnesota Highway 53. It is a four-hour drive north of Minneapolis.

There are 4 major lakes in Voyageurs National Park: Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, and Sand Point. In addition, there are twenty-six smaller inland lakes. Altogether, water covers more than a third of the total park area.

Lake with boat and trees in the background

The park is named after the French-Canadian voyageurs who traveled through the region during the fur trade era. The lakes were a major thoroughfare fueling this economic engine of the time.

View of the lake from top of a rock with trees in front of the lake

Our Map

Cell signal isn’t always awesome on the lake. I recommend picking up a paper map. Here is the map we used.

Visiting Voyageurs National Park

This National Park has three visitor centers: Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, and Ash River.

Wood building with a sign that says Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center

The Rainy Lake Visitor Center is the largest and is open year-round. There is an exhibit area, bookstore, and area for watching the park film.

Outside of Rainy Lake Visitor Center in Voyageurs National Park
Rainy Lake Visitor Center, 1797 Ut – 342, International Falls, MN 56649

But the best way to experience Voyageurs National Park is to get out on the water. Guests that don’t have a boat can either rent one or take a tour. The park offers several guided tours that take visitors through the park’s lakes and waterways.

Lake with grasses on the right in Voyageurs National Park

In addition to its natural beauty, this national park is rich in history. The park has several historic sites, including the Kettle Falls Hotel, a historic hotel that dates back to the early 1900s. It was once a hub for the fur trade, timber industry, and transportation during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

White building with red roof - the Kettle Falls Hotel with dirt road approachign it in Voyageurs National Park

Another unique place to visit in Voyageurs is Ellsworth Rock Garden. In the 1940s, a carpenter from Chicago, Jack Ellsworth, lovingly created a showplace of more than 200 rock sculptures, many of which survive today. A boat or tour is needed to visit this area.

Large rock sculpture that looks like a fish in the Ellsworth Rock Garden at Voyageurs National Park

One of the most unique features of Voyageurs National Park is its dark skies. It is an excellent destination for stargazing. Visitors may even see the northern lights if the conditions are right.

Rocks and grasses in the lake with trees in the background

Voyageurs National Park is also a popular destination for fishing. The park’s lakes are home to several species of fish, including walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass.

Cattails in the lake

Besides International Falls to the west of the park, no major hotels are nearby. However, there are other lodging options.

Grasses and trees by the lake at Voyageurs National Park

Houseboating is very popular, and the park has dedicated camping spots for houseboats. There are also lodges and vacation rentals in the area.

A lakeside resport at Voyageurs National Park

A visit to Voyageurs National Park is an unforgettable experience. The park’s stunning lakes, forests, and waterways offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and nature exploration. Whether you’re interested in boating, hiking, fishing, or stargazing, Voyageurs National Park is an excellent destination for your next outdoor adventure.

Rocks in the middle of the lake

Check out this Voyageurs trip tip: Tip & Tee: Voyageurs Visitor Center

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