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Overview

Voyageurs National Park is a natural for role players who want to travel as the French fur traders and explorers did three centuries ago. It's a natural, too, for fishermen in pursuit of walleye, northern pike, muskies, smallmouth bass, crappies, largemouth bass, lake trout, bluegill, yellow perch and lake whitefish. But whatever their reason for visiting the park, savvy travelers will stop first at one of the park’s three centers — Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Kabetogamma Lake Visitor Center, or Ash River Visitor Center — to obtain information about the park, view films, and see exhibits about the park's geology, wildlife, plants, and ...

Voyageurs National Park is a natural for role players who want to travel as the French fur traders and explorers did three centuries ago. It's a natural, too, for fishermen in pursuit of walleye, northern pike, muskies, smallmouth bass, crappies, largemouth bass, lake trout, bluegill, yellow perch and lake whitefish. But whatever their reason for visiting the park, savvy travelers will stop first at one of the park’s three centers — Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Kabetogamma Lake Visitor Center, or Ash River Visitor Center — to obtain information about the park, view films, and see exhibits about the park's geology, wildlife, plants, and history.

Ringed by five long lakes — Lake Kabetogama, Crane Lake, Lake Namakan, Rainy Lake, and Sand Point Lake, ranging from 8 to 60 miles in length — Minnesota’s Kabegatoma Peninsula accounts for almost all of the park’s land, for water covers much of its 341 square-mile area. As a result, while most other national parks are approached by motorized vehicle or on foot, the primary access to Voyageurs is via water. Some visitors travel by canoe or kayaks. Others rent house boats. To celebrate the park's 35th birthday in 2010, the Park Service inaugurated a 49-passenger tour boat on Rainy Lake, making the area accessible to more people. Maps showing the location of the 175 campsites classified as tent, houseboat, or day-use, and permits required for overnight stays are also available at the visitor centers. The campsites are maintained by the National Park Service and can be approached only by water. Public and private campgrounds that can be reached by car are located near the perimeter of the park.

The Kettle Falls Hotel, constructed in 1910 by timber baron Ed Rose and operated as a hotel and resort to this day, is located between Lake Namakan and Rainy Lake. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Reachable only by boat during the summer months, Kettle Falls is one of the few places in the lower forty-eight states where it’s possible to look South into Canada. Although the park was a long time coming — almost 80 years passed between the park proposal and its being signed into law — Voyageurs quickly became known as one of the most unusual in the country’s national park system.

Connie Emerson
About the Expert

Connie Emerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Cheapskate's Guide to Branson, Missouri and Eyewitness Top Ten Travel Guide – Las Vegas.

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Connie Emerson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June-September, although June is the rainiest month of the year with an average of 3.8 inches.