In 1975 the 218,000 square mile Voyageurs National Park was established. It is named after the French-Canadian men who traversed the 84, 000 acres of lakes and rivers in canoes to trade furs with the Ojibwe Indians.
The Park’s topography makes it one of the most unique National Park’s in the country. There are bogs, beaver ponds, swamps, and more than 1500 islands. There are rivers, waterfalls, at least 30 small lakes and four large lakes. The lakes are a favorite among fisherman as the lakes are said to have the best walleye and bass populations in the nation.
The boreal forest has a wide variety of tree and plant species and wildlife. For the bird watcher, the park has over 240 species of neo-tropical birds and eagles.
While hiking in the park you will likely see black bears, white-tailed deer, fox, otters, and muskrats among other animals. It is also claimed to be the only region in the United States where eastern timber wolves live.
Whether it’s Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall, the Park offers a wide variety of activities. A trip to Voyageurs National Park can be a day trip or you could easily spend a couple weeks there during the summer months.
Regardless of the length of your stay your first stop should be the at one of the visitor centers: Kabetagama, Ash River, or Rainy Lake. We entered from International Falls so we stopped at the Rainy Lake Visitor’s Center.
The staff at the visitor’s center are wonderful! They will answer all of your questions and help you plan your stay in the park whether you want to embark on a self-guided adventure or join a guided tour. Our time in the area was limited so we chose to take the Grand Tour on the Voyager through Rainy Lake with a stop at Little American Island. On the Island you get a good look at the remains of the 1890 Gold Rush.
SIGHTS FROM THE TOUR BOAT
YOU CAN SEE THE PARK BY WATER AND BY LAND
This does not begin to cover the area or the activities in Voyageurs National Park. We will return and we will spend several days there. We plan on visiting ELLSWORTH ROCK GARDENS.
THE 6.5 HOUR KETTLE FALLS CRUISE
The Kettle Falls Hotel has thrived since it was first built in 1910. First clientele were the stone cutters and masons who built the dams, followed by lumberjacks, fishermen, trappers and traders. Then the tourists came. Kettle Falls Hotel advertised as a “Hay Fever Victims Sanctuary”, and apparently still offers relief as the air is still pine scented and pure. During the cruise there is a 2 hour land stop where you can have lunch at the hotel.
The ETHNO-BOTANICAL GARDEN TOUR with an Ojibwe Indian Camp in the center of the garden. (This is one of the many FREE tours.) The garden is cared for by volunteers.
These are just a few things I have checked for our next trip to the park and there is so much more.
What appeals to me is that of the 19 designated trails 5 are wheel-chair accessible, 12 can be accessed by car in the summertime, 14 great for snowshoeing, 3 are groomed for skiing, there are snowmobile trails on and off the lakes.
Lodges and resorts are open year ’round. During the summer they rent boats, during the winter they welcome ice fishermen, snowmobilers, skiers and those people just wanting to enjoy the pristine winter scenery.
VOYAGEUR NATIONAL PARK IS TRULY A PARK FOR ALL SEASONS AND ALL AGES!!!