Tucked along the northern boundary of the United State, Voyageurs National Park is an escape from the rest of the world. Made up of linking lakes and rivers, this place is a wonderful place to explore.
When we first started planning our visit to Vogaguers, we were a little overwelmed with the logistics and even struggled finding a good Voyageurs National Park map. It was hard to choose where to stay, the best things to do and where to rent a boat. We created this guide with a Voyaguers National Park Map and a list of things to do in the park to help you plan your visit.
You can also start by reading through our Guide to Voyageurs National Park.
Overview of Voyageurs National Park
Location: Voyageurs National Park is located in northern Minnesota, in the United States, near the Canadian border. It encompasses a stunning area of pristine wilderness, including a network of interconnected lakes, islands, and forests.
Natural Beauty: Voyageurs National Park is known for its natural beauty. The park is defined by its rugged terrain, crystal-clear lakes, dense forests, and abundant wildlife. The park’s landscape was shaped by glaciers, creating a unique and captivating environment for visitors to explore.
Water-Based Adventures: The park is often referred to as the “Land of Lakes,” and for a good reason. It is home to more than 30 named lakes, including Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Namakan Lake, and Sand Point Lake. These water bodies offer excellent opportunities for water-based activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Voyageurs National Park is a boater’s paradise, with miles of interconnected waterways to explore. Many of these lakes are connected to each other making boating a popular activity.
Island Hopping: The park is dotted with over 500 islands, making island hopping a popular activity. Visitors can take boat tours or paddle to these islands to enjoy picnics, wildlife viewing, and a sense of isolation in the midst of nature.
Wildlife Viewing: Voyageurs National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Commonly spotted animals include white-tailed deer, black bears, moose, beavers, and bald eagles. Birdwatchers will delight in the park’s avian residents, which include loons, osprey, and a variety of waterfowl.
Dark Skies: The park is designated as an International Dark Sky Park, making it an excellent destination for stargazing. On clear nights, the lack of light pollution allows for unparalleled views of the night sky and celestial phenomena.
Visitor Centers: Voyageurs National Park has several visitor centers, including the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center, and Ash River Visitor Center. These centers provide information, maps, exhibits, and educational programs to enhance your park experience. In general you can base you visit from one of these centers. Many boat rentals will deliver small boats to these locations.
Seasonal Activities: The park offers different experiences throughout the year. In the summer, you can enjoy water-based activities, hiking, and camping. Winter brings opportunities for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. The park’s seasonal beauty attracts visitors year-round.
Camping: For those seeking an immersive experience, the park offers a variety of camping options, from developed campgrounds to backcountry camping on the lakeshores and islands. Permits are required for backcountry camping, and reservations are recommended. See more about camping in Voyageurs.
Conservation Efforts: Voyageurs National Park is committed to preserving its unique ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles to protect the park’s natural resources for future generations.
Plan Your Visit: Before visiting Voyageurs National Park, it’s advisable to check the park’s website for up-to-date information on hours of operation, entrance fees, and any seasonal closures or restrictions. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Voyageurs National Park offers a remarkable and unspoiled natural playground that’s sure to leave you in awe of its beauty and serenity.
Map of Voyageurs National Park
Below you can see a Voyageurs National Park map. Click on the map to go to a page where you see more maps.
Top Things to do in Voyageurs National Park
Most people who are visiting Voyageurs National Park are looking to explore the outdoors. Below is a list of the top things to do in Voyaguers National Park.
Boating and Canoeing
Explore the park’s pristine lakes and waterways by boat or canoe. Navigating through the interconnected lakes and islands offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the park’s stunning scenery, watch for wildlife, and enjoy peaceful moments on the water.
In our opinion, renting a boat is the best way to see this park. You can see more about exactly how and where we rented a boat in this post about boating in Voyageurs. You can even rent a houseboat to spend a week out in the park.
While the parks big attraction is boating, there are also many hiking trails in the area that offer walks. In general, the trail are on the easy to moderate side with little change in elevation. The Sullivan Bay Trail and Echo Bay Trail are popular choices, providing scenic overlooks and glimpses of the park’s diverse flora and fauna.
Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s diverse wildlife, including moose, black bears, bald eagles, and otters. The Visitor Centers often have information on recent wildlife sightings, helping you plan your wildlife-watching adventures.
Voyageurs National Park is designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or just appreciate the beauty of the cosmos, Voyageurs National Park offers unparalleled opportunities for stargazing.
We were hoping to see the northern lights during our visit but only had cloudy skies.
This is truly a fishing destination and many of the boats out on the lakes were there to fish. In general, people catch walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass. Fishing is a popular activity year-round, with ice fishing in the winter being a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Explore the numerous islands within the park. Take a boat tour or paddle to islands like Cutover Island, where you can enjoy picnics, hiking, and solitude amidst breathtaking natural surroundings. We spent the night camping on one of the islands and spent the days boating and island hopping.
Snowmobiling and Winter Activities
In the winter months, enjoy snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. The park transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering a different kind of adventure.
Visitor Center Exploration
Visit one of the park’s visitor centers, such as the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, for educational exhibits, interactive displays, and ranger-led programs. This is generally a good place to start in the park to get up to date information. These centers provide valuable insights into the park’s natural and cultural history.
The campsites in the park are exceptional and the best way to really take in the park is to spend the night at a campsite. You will need to take a boat to most of the sites which make them remote and enjoyable. You need a permit/camping reservation to stay in a campsite that can be booked at recreation.gov.
Things to Know about Visiting Voyageurs National Park
Best Time to Visit Voyageurs National Park
The best time to visit the park is during the summer and fall months. While winter offers some unique opportunities to explore the park covered in snow, for most people, May-Sept are the best months.
How Long do you Need in Voyageurs National Park?
You should plan to spend 2-7 days in the park depending on what you want to do. You could easily spend 2 days in the park and get out on the water, visit some islands and camp for the night, or you can string together a week long trip by hopping from campsite to campsite.
How to get Around Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is accessible primarily by boat, so plan accordingly. There are also a few land-based entry points accessible by car. Be sure to check the accessibility of your chosen destination within the park.
Weather and Clothing
Temperatures vary a lot throughout the year from hot summer to cold winters. Rain gear and layers are commended all year long and sun protection all year long.
Insects are a part of Voayageurs National Park. Expect mosquitos during the summer and consider packing bug spray, long sleeves and a bug net.
Safety in Voyageurs
Voyageurs is a remote area to visit, and you should use your own judgement when assessing safety. A few things to keep in mind include:
- Stay Informed: Familiarize yourself with the park’s regulations, weather forecasts, and trail conditions before setting out. Check with park rangers or visitor centers for up-to-date information.
- Travel with a Buddy: Whenever possible, explore the park with a companion. Having someone with you can provide assistance in case of emergencies and enhance your overall safety.
- Carry Essentials: Pack essential items such as a map, compass or GPS, first-aid kit, extra clothing layers, sufficient food and water, a flashlight or headlamp, and a communication device. Be prepared for unexpected changes in weather.
- Wildlife Safety: Respect wildlife from a safe distance and avoid feeding them. Store food securely to prevent attracting bears or other wildlife to your campsite. Follow wildlife safety guidelines provided by the park.
- Emergency Preparedness: Have a plan for emergencies. Ensure someone knows your itinerary and expected return time. Carry a whistle or signaling device to attract attention if needed, and be aware of the park’s emergency contact information. Let someone know when you will be returning and your itinerary. Cell phone is uncertain throughout the park, although we had more connection than we expected.
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