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Overview

Between December and March, Voyageurs National Park is transformed from five verdant islands and a bevy of blue lakes into a 341-square-mile wonderland of ice and snow. Instead of canoes and kayaks, snowmobiles traverse more than 110 miles of maintained trails. Open year-round, Voyageurs is also the only park in the national park system that allows off-road snowmobiling. Among the designated trails, 28-mile (948 km) Rainy Lake follows the northern shore of the Kabeogama Peninsula from Rainy Lake Visitor Center to Kettle Falls. The Kettle Falls and Rudder Bay are shorter trails, while the Voyageur is a multi-segmented trail, which is about 37 ...

Between December and March, Voyageurs National Park is transformed from five verdant islands and a bevy of blue lakes into a 341-square-mile wonderland of ice and snow. Instead of canoes and kayaks, snowmobiles traverse more than 110 miles of maintained trails. Open year-round, Voyageurs is also the only park in the national park system that allows off-road snowmobiling. Among the designated trails, 28-mile (948 km) Rainy Lake follows the northern shore of the Kabeogama Peninsula from Rainy Lake Visitor Center to Kettle Falls. The Kettle Falls and Rudder Bay are shorter trails, while the Voyageur is a multi-segmented trail, which is about 37 miles long.

Other wintertime activities include ice fishing (some anglers claim it’s the best walleye fishing in the world). More than a half dozen other species worth catching include muskies, bluegill, bass, lake trout and whitefish. Cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking along the park’s trails are also popular. Ski rentals and snowshoes are available at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center where maps of the various trails also can be obtained. January is the coldest month with an average high temperature of 12 degrees F and an average low of -9 degrees F. Winter camping is allowed at specific sites throughout the park. Public and private campgrounds that can be reached by car are located near the perimeter of the park. Two winter celebrations, Icebox Days – a four-day marathon of events like frozen turkey bowling and candle light skiing in Voyageur Park – and the 10k, 5k “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run,” are held in the park’s gateway city of International Falls.

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:

    December through March. It's vital that you begin your adventure at the Rainy Lake Visitors Center. The center's staff will provide the necessary trail maps, along with advice and warnings regarding areas of unsafe ice. The most hazardous of these are along river channels, narrows or other places where under-ice currents cause ridges and soft spots.