With the partial Federal Government shutdown, Voyageurs National Park remains open to the public, but there are no services available. Trails are not being groomed, the ice road has not been plowed open, the Administrative offices and Rainy Lake Visitor Center are closed and any interpretive programs have been cancelled until the situation is resolved.
We invite you to enjoy Rainy Lake, area restaurants and area lodging in the meantime!
During the federal government shutdown, the website for Voyageurs National Park will not be updated and may not reflect current conditions. Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely. Some visitor services may be available when provided by concessioners or other entities. For most parks, there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance.
In partnership with the Park Service, Voyageurs National Park Association seeks to preserve the wild character and unique experience of Voyageurs by funding projects and programs that will sustain it for generations to come. Learn more. Connect. Give back.
Become a member at Voyageurs.org/give
Fall Foliage Guide
Autumn foliage in Minnesota provide a colorful display, artfully painting the diversity of species that thrive in the northern climate. However, in Koochiching County, it’s not just the variety of tree species, but also the diverse ways to enjoy the colors of this transitional season. Plan to park your car and explore via ATV, bicycle, motorcycle, boat, canoe, kayak, paddle board, horseback or trail.
Here are some great places to begin your journey into the season’s abundant color:
Voyageurs National Park Rainy Lake Visitor Center offers miles of hiking trails into diverse woodlands, with occasional vistas from which you can view Rainy Lake. A well-maintained paved bicycle trail creates another unique opportunity to take in the colors of the park. Reserve a place on the Voyageur, VNP’s tour boat, providing colorful tours through the end of September.
Drive 40 miles from International Falls along the shores of the Rainy River to Franz-Jevne State park. Well-maintained, the park offers lovely, rustic camp sites and hiking trails, as well as boat access to Rainy River. Launch your canoe or kayak here for a quiet and colorful afternoon of paddling the international water of Rainy River.
Minnesota’s largest state forest, Pine Island is an off-the-beaten-path destination busting with fall color. With multiple public access points within 30-40 miles of International Falls, the area offers nearly 880,000 square miles of opportunity to view enough fall foliage to keep you coming back for generations.
With color change taking place from North to South, Minnesota is a great state for chasing the transition. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides an annual Fall Color Finder map as well as specific location updates. Motorcyclists can download this map to enjoy the sights.
Where is your favorite place to view the colorful autumn leaves? Tell us in the comments below.
Guide to the Rocks of Rainy Lake
The natural beauty of Rainy Lake – the deep navy water, multi-hued pines and active wildlife – draws people from across the globe to her shores. One of the area’s most distinguishing features is its unique rock features, which include some of North America’s oldest examples. In fact, when you gaze upon the exposed rock of Rainy’s shores and islands, you’re seeing the creation of North America.
A Long, Long Time Ago
Voyageurs National Park, which is made up of four lakes – Rainy, Kabetogama, Sand and Namakan – is situated at the southern side of the Canadian shield, a huge rock basement that features an impressive selection of Precambrian rocks that are between 2.5 to 4.5 billion years old. In addition to the park, these rocks can only be seen in Wyoming, Greenland and some areas of Canada.
Precambrian rocks were formed by tectonic plate processes in the continental crust. The Precambrian period is divided into the Archean period, which dates from around 3,800 – 2.5 million years ago, and the Proterozoic, which is from 2,500 to 540 million years ago. Most rocks in Voyageurs are metamorphic and igneous rocks from the Archean age that formed by layers of ash and lava that underwent uplifting, folding, pressure and superheating.
Over time, erosion wore down the volcanic mountain range, and the ice ages brought glaciers. The area of Rainy Lake went through at least four different glaciation periods, starting around 190,000 years ago.
The glaciers scooped out lake basins, scraped rock surfaces and dragged loose rocks across surfaces. This action exposed the roots of the ancient mountains, the granite, migmatite, and biotite schist you see today. As the glaciers receded, torrents of melted water filled low-lying areas, creating the current landscape: a varied, rugged topography, including rolling hills, slopes and bedrock outcrops amidst beaver ponds, bogs, islands, swamps and lakes.
What to Look For
Evidence of this activity can be seen in glacial erratics and striations. Erratics are round boulders that were carried by the glaciers (ice rafted) and then deposited after melting and can range in size from pebbles to small cars. A good example of this can be seen in Cranberry Bay. The huge, white rock is aptly named the Cranberry Bay Erratic.
Glacial striations look like vertical rocks standing end-on-end. In Voyageurs National Park, striations point south, south by southwest, and southwest in conjunction with glacier movements. Look for examples of striation on Bushy Head and Little American islands.
While you are exploring and learning about the rocks of Rainy Lake, remember that you’re not allowed to remove rocks or other natural materials from Voyageurs park.
While fishing, boating and other water activities are often the main attraction on Rainy Lake, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the area by bike. A 12-mile paved trail runs adjacent to Highway 11 from International Falls to the Voyageurs National Park Visitors Center and offers diversions such as ice cream stops, wildlife viewing and even a dip in the lake!
The trail is located just east of the Convention and Visitors Bureau office (301 2nd Avenue), roughly where highway 53 meets highway 11/71 in downtown International Falls. You can park there to begin your eastward journey. This area of the trail features river views on your left, which overlook the community of Fort Frances, Ontario. Note the paper mill at the falls, as well as the wood chips and logs that are piled along the highway before being sent to the mill. Make a stop at the Voyageurs National Park Headquarters (360 Highway 11), where you can enjoy the river views.
Approximately 3 miles west of International Falls is the community of Ranier, marked by a 25-foot statue affectionately known as “Big Vic.” Plan to take time for a detour here. Ranier is a charming village with restaurants, a bar and brewery, as well as an ice cream shop. Chances are good you will see a train, as the Canadian National Railway border crossing in Ranier sees the most railroad cars of any crossing between the U.S. and Canada. This is also where the Rainy Lake flows into the Rainy River, which you can see from the Spruce Street dock. From here, you can either head back to the highway, or bike along County Road 20, which wends through a residential area and past City Beach, where you can cool off with a swim or enjoy a picnic.
Here the bike trail merges with highway 11 for a few miles, while the landscape begins to change. You’ll see some of the only farmland – watch for cranes, geese and deer – as well as an unobstructed view of Rainy Lake at the Jackfish Bay Wayside Park. The trail then turns left at County Road 103 to become enveloped in the wooded landscape.
This part of the trail crosses Tilson Bay, where you can see wild rice growing in the wetlands on the right and Rainy Lake to the left. Stop here to rest on the dock or get in some cross training with a trek on the hiking trail.
Here the trail is on the shoulder of Highway 11, which challenges bikers with a long, gradual uphill climb before again turning to the left and into the woods. Gradual hills make for a fun, not-too-hard ride, while grouse are known to peak out from the underbrush. At the end of the trail, cross Highway 11 to the Rainy Lake Recreation Trail, a wide, paved path that welcomes runners, walkers and bicyclists. Leading to the entrance of Rainy Lake Visitor Center the 1.75-miles include benches for taking a breather while taking in the views of Rainy Lake.
Make a memorable ending to your day on Rainy Lake by catching a sunset at one of these easily-accessible sites. Before you go, check a weather app for sunset time and make sure your camera batteries are fully charged.
Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
Located on Highway 11 just east of International Falls, this site faces northwest and provides a view of the Rainy River and the community of Fort Frances, Ontario, on the opposite shore.
Located about 3 miles east of International Falls, the community of Ranier welcomes visitors with a restaurant, bar, brew pub, ice cream shop and several opportunities to catch the sunset. The Ranier River dock has a unique view of the convergence of Rainy Lake and Rainy River, which flows briskly under the railway lift bridge. Located at the end of Ranier’s main street, the Spruce Street dock offers the chance for a leisurely stroll, as well as the chance to see spectacular sunset. When standing at the end of dock, you’ll notice a beach with another dock not far to your right, which is another great place to watch mother nature’s end-of-day light show.
Tilson Bay Wayside Park
Further east on Highway 11, Tilson Bay has a dock, boat launch and parking lot, as well as a trail used for both hiking and cross-country skiing. Those who take the trek are rewarded with a picture-perfect view from a high ridge. You can also watch the setting sun warm the colors of the bog on the south side of the bridge.
If you have boat access, simply head onto the lake and face west for endless photo opps framed by deep blue water and rocky pine shores.
For campers, Voyageurs National Park is like Lambeau Field for Green Bay Packer fans. Thousands of acres of pristine wilderness beckon to those who love waking up to the call of loons, brewing coffee over a fire and discovering endless Instagram-worthy lake views. All Voyageur National Park (VNP) campsites are accessible only by boat, which is one of the reasons they are so beloved by campers. When you pitch a tent on Rainy, you experience the singular solitude of nature.
Here’s everything you need to know about camping in VNP:
Where to Camp
Campsites are divided into two categories: front country, which includes Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point and Crane lakes; and back country, which includes the Chain of Lakes and other interior lakes. Front country tent campsites are accessible only by boat and have a maximum stay of14 consecutive days or no more than 30 in a calendar year. Backcountry tent campsites are accessible by boating to a trailhead and hiking in and have a maximum stay of 7 days in a calendar year. You can reserve canoes and row boats for back country use at www.recreation.gov.
Maximum group size: small campsite - 9, large campsite - 18, group campsite - 30, canoe permit - 3, rowboat permit - 3
Etiquette and Amenities
Many of the campsite in the park have amenities such as privies, tent pads, picnic tables, food lockers and fire rings. In addition to using these, visitors can help keep the park pristine for future trips by following the “Leave No Trace” principles, which include:
By planning your Voyageurs camping trip in advance and following some basic guidelines, you help ensure your time in the park is memorable and enjoyable for everyone. Do you have a favorite memory from camping in Voyageurs National Park? Let us know in the comments down below!
The Visitor Centers of Voyageurs National Park
The fact that one-third of Voyageurs National Park is water – including four large lakes, Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, and Sand Point – can make it difficult to access and explore. For this reason, the park has established three visitors centers for guests to not only learn more about the area’s history and wildlife, but also understand its unique geography. What’s more, the centers provide hiking trails, naturalist programs, boat tours and water access for watercraft of all types, so you can fully enjoy all the park has to offer.
Rainy Lake Visitor Center
The first thing you see when entering the Rainy Lake Visitor Center is an adult stuffed moose, which serves as the building’s focal point and is a much-photographed feature. Located in the northern part of the park, the center is 11 miles east of International Falls on Highway 11. Several hiking and cross-country skiing trails are accessible from here, including the 1.7-mile Oberholtzer Trail and an immersive Ojibwe Indian camp exhibit open during the summer months.
The Rainy Lake Visitor Center is nestled on the shore of Black Bay and provides views across the water to the Kabetogama Peninsula. A free boat launch serves as an ice road entrance during the winter months, when the center remains open with seasonal hours. You can visit the center anytime or as shelter on rainy days for a variety of indoor activities for the entire family. There’s a theater for viewing a film about the life of the Voyageurs, historical and wildlife displays, a bookstore and children's activity table. The park also offers boat tours and ranger-led programs, including canoe trips out of the visitor center throughout the year.
Rainy Lake Visitor Center
1797 UT 342, International Falls, MN 56649
Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center
Kabetogama is the largest of the Voyageur National Park lakes located entirely in the U.S. It includes 25,000 acres of clean, cool water and more than 100 miles of forested shoreline, with less than 10 miles of it developed on the south shore. Open from late May through September, the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center is a great place to launch your Northwoods adventure. Features include interactive exhibits, a children's activity table, bookstore and theater for viewing a park film. There’s also a free public boat launch, separate paddle access and picnic area.
Several boat tours and ranger-led programs are offered through the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center. Voyage to historic Kettle Falls Hotel and Dam, explore Ellsworth Rock Gardens, where chances are good you’ll spot a bald eagle, or try your hand as a Voyageur aboard a 26-foot North Canoe. Join park staff as they portray historic characters from the region's past on a Twilight Walk and gather ‘round the campfire for an evening of stories, science, and history of the evening sky.
Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center
9940 Cedar Ln, Kabetogama, MN 56669
Ash River Visitor Center
To reach the third visitor center in Voyageurs National Park, take the scenic Ash River Trail (County Road 129) off Highway 53. Deer are plentiful along the road, which features several scenic outlooks that are worth the stop. The Ash River Visitor Center, open late May through September, is located in the historic Meadwood Lodge. It features a bookstore, children's activity corner, exhibits, and a theater. Nearby picnic tables invite you to relax over your picnic, and a free public boat launch and separate paddle access provide water access.
The center is the starting point for a ranger-lead, 1.5-mile hike along the popular Sullivan Bay Trail. You can also enjoy a tranquil canoe trip while keeping an eye out for wildlife including the Minnesota State Bird, the Common Loon, bald eagles, deer and bear.
Ash River Visitor Center
9899 Mead Wood Rd, Orr, MN 55771
Connect with us for more help planning your trip to Voyageurs National Park.
Although most of Voyageurs National Park trails are maintained throughout the year, becoming snowshoe and cross-country ski attractions during the winter months, Spring is perhaps the best time for a hike through the forest. Delicate, lime-colored leaves are just beginning to appear, pairs of mating geese can be seen – and heard – over nearby lakes, and cool breezes keep temperatures mild.
All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes, drinking water and a map in order to immerse yourself in nature and witness the emergence of a new season. And, with a variety of trails to choose from, hikers can easily find one that suits their individual skill levels, from 20-minute jaunts to hours-long adventures.
Voyageurs is known for its acres of water (84,000) and miles (more than 600) of undeveloped shoreline. But that doesn’t mean you need a boat to explore and enjoy the park, which features close to a dozen land-accessible trails.
In addition to providing varying degrees of difficulty and lengths, park trails also provide the opportunity for people with disabilities to experience Voyageurs’ singular scenery.
Trails with Views
Make time in your trip to the Ask River Visitor Center to enjoy theses little-known gems:
Before you begin a journey on any of the park’s trails, be sure to pick up a map at one of the visitor centers.
Interested in hiking at Voyageurs National Park? Let us know in the comments below!
The Most Comfortable Way to Explore: Family Houseboating on Rainy Lake
While sleeping under the stars or in a leaky tent may appeal to some, others prefer their nature experiences to include more creature comforts. Think full-size refrigerator vs. a half-dozen coolers full of melting ice, a bathroom with shower vs. open-air ranger pot, or a queen-size mattress vs. a musty sleeping bag. For these Rainy Lake visitors, houseboat vacations provide the opportunity to explore the area’s natural beauty without forgoing the comforts of home. With kitchens and bedrooms, open-air porches – even bathrooms and showers! – houseboats allow entire families to explore the lake and its endless miles of shoreline together.
There are two options for houseboating on Rainy Lake: Rainy Lake Houseboats and Northernaire Houseboats, both of which boast a full fleet of vessels in varying sizes that come with a host of amenities like screen porches and grills, and add-ons like slides and top-deck hot tubs. Like your own home, houseboats are accessible and comfortable for all ages. Kids love jumping off the back of the boat into the sparkling water, while grandparents enjoy drinking a cup of coffee in the morning while gazing at the expansive scenery.
A houseboat vacation offers something for everyone. Whether you spend the day fishing, swimming, playing on the beach, or hiking the trails, your boat is the home base everyone returns to for family meals, games and long-lasting memories. There are about 50 designated houseboat camping sites* located throughout Voyageurs National Park on Rainy Lake, and most include fire pits, bear lockers, and picnic tables, along with unparalleled immersion into the Boreal wilderness. Make a campfire to roast s’mores, then hop into cozy beds. Challenge family members to card games on the picnic table, then dash inside your houseboat in case of a rain shower. Spend the day in the sunshine knowing a cold beverage awaits in the refrigerator.
Whether your family vacation time falls in the spring-time or late-summer, choosing to take a houseboat trip is a sure way to ensure fun --- and comfort – for everyone.
*Permit reservations are required for houseboats within Voyageurs National Park May 1 – October 31 and can be obtained at recreation.gov. You can also find step-by-step instructions on how to make houseboat reservations online, or call 1-877-444-6777.
As you begin making plans for the weekend, we want to remind you that Sunday, April 22nd is Earth Day - a global event with a great cause. People across the world will join together on Earth Day, 2018 to focus on mobilizing the world to End Plastic Pollution. If you treasure Rainy Lake and the environment that surrounds it, here are a few events you could participate in this Sunday to help decrease the pollution of water, wildlife, and the devastating effects this pollution is causing globally.
Establish a Recycling Plan
It doesn’t take a large effort to make a big difference. Incorporate a recycling plan into your household, or expand on the one that you might already have in place.
Consider Adopting a Highway
With the arrival of warm weather, the trash littered along the highways that was once covered in snow is unveiled. Adopting a highway can be a fun and fulfilling project for work groups, families, or friends.
These are just a few ideas of how to celebrate Earth Day 2018, but the possibilities are endless. How are you going to participate in this great event?
Let us know in the comments below!
Voyageurs Outfitters Boat Tours
If you've already taken part in the tours provided by Voyageurs National Park, or if you're looking for something a little different, check out the various options offered by Voyageurs Outfitters. The knowledgable guides at Voyageurs Outfitters will bring you on an adventure filled with much more than just sight seeing. They'll help you explore one of the most beautiful places on earth: Rainy Lake.
Time-Lapse: A Hypnotic Look at Voyageurs National Park
Featured on National Geographic's Short Film Showcase
In the northernmost tip of Minnesota, Voyageurs National Park is a watery wonderland of pristine lakes, big fish, and incredible night skies. With a third of its area covered by lakes, the park is named for the fur-trading French Canadian voyageurs who paddled birchbark canoes in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this hypnotizing time-lapse, filmmakers Will Pattiz and Jim Pattiz capture the dancing northern lights and scenic beauty of Voyageurs National Park...
View full showcase here
Are you looking to witness this alluring natural light show in the sky? ThisNorthern Lights prediction tool can help you plan a time to venture into Voyageurs National Park on Rainy Lake to experience this stunning phenomenon.
Article by Ron Kruger Aug 1, 2017
At the top of Minnesota, a gem of a fishery awaits anglers willing to ply cold, early-season water temperatures and unpredictable weather for the Minnesota Fishing Opener on May 13. This vast body of water is an expanse of 275,000 acres, straddling the northern border with Ontario and features multi-species action.
While huge ice-out crappies lure anglers to kick off the open-water season, it’s the primary gamefish species—walleyes, smallmouths, pike—that offer the greatest temptation to explore Rainy Lake in mid-May.
This popular tourism destination attracts families and fishermen in all seasons, with the height of summer providing a water-based playground for fishing, water sports, houseboating or simply enjoying quality time in the Minnesota’s Northwoods.
The resorts here can fill up early for peak dates, so advance planning and research is recommended. However, because mid-May weather in northern Minnesota delivers a potential mixed bag, you can usually find last-minute accommodations or rent a houseboat to explore this waterway during the early season. Rainy Lake is home to Voyageur’s National Park, meaning you’ll encounter a setting that feels mostly pristine and beautiful. But it’s the fishing action that is the main attraction...
Read full article
Article by International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Not only a destination for four-season fun, Rainy Lake is also a great place for the entire family to enjoy. Here are our top family-friendly recommendations:
Voyageurs National Park
The only national park in Minnesota, Voyageurs is more than 40 percent water, which means you’ll want to bring your own boat, rent one, or take a boat tour to fully experience the park’s rocky shores, sand beaches, abundant wildlife and verdant landscape. Reconnect the entire family with nature by hiking the park’s miles of well-marked trails or spend a night (or two) at one of the many well-appointed campgrounds. The park visitor center also offers opportunities for learning, discovering and interacting. Beginning in June and running throughout the summer, it provides programs and excursions, including a boat tour to Kettle Falls, where you can place one foot in the United States and the other in Canada.
One of the park’s most popular and immersive features is the chance to glimpse the life of the fur traders who explored the area more than 250 years ago. The park’s visitor center features wildlife and historical displays, as well as a movie about the Voyageurs. Visitors can also go on a canoe trip that traces the intrepid explorers’ footsteps, complete with paddling in time to traditional songs. Make sure your camera is photo-ready when you get to the visitor center; the giant moose inside is a selfie waiting to happen.
Plan Your Rainy Lake Vacation
Smokey Bear Park
Another can’t-miss photo opp is the 26-foot tall statue of Smokey Bear and his two cubs, located adjacent to the International Falls City Square, at the corner of 3rd Street and 6th Avenue. The statue has been a community focal point since its arrival in 1954. Seasonally, he’s decked out with gigantic accessories such as hats and mittens in the winter and fishing vest and landing net in summer (To learn more about Smokey’s history, visit smokeybear.com). From International Falls, you can ride the Rainy Lake Bike Trail, which runs 12 miles from International Falls to Voyageurs National Park.
Ranier and City Beach
Smokey isn’t the only famous statue in the area. As you travel east from International Falls on Highway 11, the entrance to the community of Ranier is marked by Big Vic, a 25-foot tall Voyageur created by colorful local resident, Vic Davis, in protest to the creation of the national park in 1980. After posing with the imposing figure, head into Ranier to explore the port town’s parks, shops and restaurants. Grab an ice-cream cone at Tara’s Warf, then stroll to the end of the dock, where you can see the Canadian shores of Fort Frances. Don’t miss the easily-accessible Ranier beach, where you can play in the sand and perfect your cannon ball jump off the dock.
Another can’t-miss beach is located just outside Ranier. City Beach boasts a large sandy shore, roped off swim area, lifeguard, volleyball and basketball courts and more. The pavilion is perfect for picnics and can be reserved for larger groups and events.
Top 10 Rainy Lake Activities for December
We all know that Rainy Lake summers are worth bragging about. The tranquil sunsets, great fishing and gorgeous scenery all make a visit to this area an unforgettable experience. However, what some people don't know is that Rainy Lake winters can be just as wonderful. We know what you're thinking...the title "Icebox of the Nation" doesn't appeal to everyone. We may have the extremists hooked with our record-breaking temperatures, but we know some of you require a little more convincing. That's why we're here to tell you that winter on Rainy Lake has something to offer everyone! Not completely persuaded yet? Let us break it down for you in this list of ten Rainy Lake activities that will make this winter one to remember for years to come.
Rainy Lake is known across the country for it's great fishing. For this reason, we have countless visitors from thousands of miles book a yearly trip to this area. When the ice conditions are good, our frozen lake is speckled with hundreds of ice-fishing shelters. It's hard to beat the feeling of sitting around a warm stove, waiting to hook into a beautiful walleye or Northern pike. If you're looking for something a little different, one of our local favorites is tip-up fishing. Whether you're five or fifty years old, the excitement you feel watching a flag pop up never goes away. Our planning experts can help you plan your trip if you've never experienced fishing quite like this.
Voyageurs National Park is home to excellent cross-country ski trails. This is an incredible way to experience the serene beauty of Rainy Lake. Leading deep into the backcountry of the park, you never know what kind of wildlife you might see. The best part? Free ski rental is available at Voyageurs National Park Rainy Lake Visitors Center! Pack some warm clothes and a thirst for adventure, they will supply the rest!
3. Northern Lights
While the Northern Lights are stunning to observe from Rainy Lake year round, they are witnessed most commonly in the late fall or winter. The dark skies and bright snow create an undeniably exquisite backdrop to the beloved Aurora Borealis. If you haven't experienced Mother Nature's incredible light show, book a trip to Rainy Lake this winter.
If you're looking to cover all areas of Rainy Lake, snowmobiling is the winter activity for you. This well-loved past time is perfect everyone, from thrill-seeking adventurers to laid back explorers. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate and be sure to dress warm, there's endless beauty to observe.
If you're looking for the perfect family adventure, it's time you give snowshoeing a try. Snowshoes allow you to explore areas that even cross-country skis will limit you from. It's no wonder that snowshoes have been around for thousands of years...they offer a great way to explore beautiful hidden territory, even in the deepest of snow. If you don't have your own, stop by Voyageurs National Park Visitors Center to borrow a pair for the day - for free!
The International Falls border crossing is the busiest in Minnesota... and for good reason! After passing through Border Customs into Fort Frances Ontario, make a stop at one of their many fine-dining restaurants or downtown shops. Ontario also has great ice-fishing opportunities to encounter. No passport? No problem, International Falls offers many incredible restaurants and small-town shops!
7. Icebox Days
Mark you calendar, January 17-21 is the legendary Icebox Days Festival! This well-known event has been covered by CBS, NBC, and ABC. It has also been featured on the Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, MSNBC, and dozens of other national and international publications. If you're bold enough to brave the cold, Icebox Days has something for everyone! With moonlight skiing, the infamous "Gizzard" 5k and 10k runs, fireworks (yes, fireworks in the winter) and more, this is an event you don't want to miss!
8. Voyageurs National Park Visitors Center
After a long day of skiing or snowshoeing, head towards the Voyageurs National Park Visitors Center to warm up! Offering an exhibit area, displays, a bookstore, staffed information desk, a children's activity table, and a theater for viewing a video on the park, this is a fun stop for the whole family! Did we mention that they offer free hot chocolate during the winter months? You won't regret this stop during your winter visit to Rainy Lake!
Take advantage of the fantastic free ice skating rinks that International Falls has to offer! This is a proven favorite for both kids and adults alike! Try your hand at a game of hockey, or watch the kids play from the comfort of a warming hut. Lace up your skates and get ready to experience the Rainy Lake area like a true Minnesotan.
10. Wildlife Watching
Last but certainly not least on our list is wildlife watching. From eagles and rabbits to white-tailed deer and wolves, Rainy Lake is home to an immense array of captivating animals. Whether it be on skis, snowshoes, snowmobile or vehicle, watching these creatures in their natural habitat is an incredible sight to see.
We could go on and on listing winter activities that we love...but you have a trip to schedule! Don't miss out on the stunning beauty and great activities that this area has to offer. You have nothing to lose and world to see, Rainy Lake is calling your name.
Did we miss your favorite winter activity? Tell us in the comments below!
If you're a longtime Minnesota local, or new to the area, you'll be interested in checking out some of Minnesota's Best Attractions.
Rainy Lake is the Gateway to Voyageurs National Park, which has been recognized in the Top 10 Best Minnesota Attractions. Want to bump Voyageurs up on the list? Vote now!
Among the top five greatest places to visit include Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul, the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona.
Still have some vacation time to use up? Great! Check out Canal Park in Duluth, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, North SHore Scenic Drive and Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan.
No matter where you are, as long as you're in Minnesota--we're pretty excited! Comment below with your favorite Minnesota Attraction!
Floating Bogs were put on the move with recent storms and one has been causing concern in the west end of Rainy Lake heading into the popular islands area west of Grindstone Island. Naturally, our advice is to steer clear of it. Meanwhile, there have been good reports on walleye hitting jigs or spinners tipped with live bait near the submerged reefs east of Grindstone Island and well away from the floating bog. Crappie are hitting in Black Bay and up the Rat Root River to Rat Root Lake. The crappie are apparently a bit finicky, showing up on graphs, but not hitting on the bait. Northern Pike are fairly active in the morning and evening along the weedy edges at the mouth of Cranberry Bay and in Black Bay.
On Rainy River, the outside bends have been producing walleye and smallmouth bass, while the sturgeon anglers are sticking to the shallow flats downstream from any of the deeper holes. The sturgeon tag season is now open and the catch-and-release only North American Sturgeon Championships are coming up August 19, 2017 at Nelson Park in Birchdale.
For the most up-to-date information you can call the International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1 800 325 5766.
The ice is off of Rainy Lake and Rainy River is attracting anglers. The River attraction is the catch-and-release sturgeon season, pulling in one of these monster sized fish is quite a thrill. However, anglers on the lake and the river can also fish for northern pike, smallmouth bass and crappie.
In the meantime, signs of spring and summer are popping up everywhere, things such as wildflowers, mushrooms, songbirds and more. This is the time of year Ruffed Grouse are drumming and American woodcock are peenting. These are fairly noticeable breeding activities that come with spring.
Whitetail deer are browsing where they can get to new growth pushing out from damp areas well exposed to the sunlight, like the southern exposure of a ditch. Keep your eyes open while traveling our highways. It will be a month or more, but soon does will be giving birth to their fawns.
Us humans are stirring more as well. This past weekend a group of 80 ATV’s toured through the western part of Koochiching County. Bike riders are getting out on the bike paths joined by roller bladers.
It won’t be long before summer vacations start, and if you haven’t planned your outing, you should. We have information on Voyageurs National Park, accommodations ranging from Houseboats to Vacation Cottages to convenient motels near restaurants. Things to do both within and outside of the Park. If you’d like some information, just go to the bottom of the page and access our order form. We can also answer your questions by phone or email, those options are also listed at the bottom of the page.