Voyagers National Park

I want to take my folding kayak up there this spring, summer and fall…any advice would be greatly appreciated…I am not afraid of bugs…I’m from NW Wisconsin;)

Voyager Nat’l Park
I’m not sure how much I can help you, but I will try. I use a canoe instead of a kayak and my canoeing experience has been mostly in the BWCAW and Quetico and not in Voyager Nat’l Park. At least in the BWCAW/Quetico, most people use a canoe rather than a kayak due to the number of portages and the amount of gear taken. I guess that initially I have more questions for you than I do answers. What kind of assistance are you looking for? Do you have all of your own gear or will you need the services of an outfitter? How many days will you be out on each trip? Your bio indicates that you already do a fair amount of solo backbacking, so I have to assume that you are comfortable with camping in general. Perhaps it would be best if you ask some specific questions and then maybe myself or someone else on this forum can provide you with the assistance that you are looking for.


specific questions…got tons…
I wondered if anyone had entered via Ash River. I have plenty of camping gear; I am good at reading maps and using a compass. Is a NOAA unit a good idea? Will my Garmin Geko 201 GPS be useful? Do I need a wetsuit? I hang my food but do have a Garcia bear canister…is one necessary? How are the bugs before Memorial Day…generally, of course? Should I bring my Bug suit? Is there a place you think is not-to-be-missed. Places you would advice me not to go? Great place for seeing wildlife? Is it a good idea to head up to the main visitor center at Rainy Lake before beginning? Are raccoons a problem? Any car-camping campgrounds you recommend or recommend avoiding? Are you allowed to use a sail on the lakes…my Yukon has a sail attachment that I’ve not had a chance to use yet…sailed most of my life…were you bugged by drunken fisherman or loud houseboats in any particular campsites? I appreciate any time given to answer any or all of these questions…I have cabin fever which can only be relieved by planning trips…help a sick woman (wink)…

Been there
I’ve done 2 trips there in a sea kayak and it’s beautiful. The large lakes allow for tripping without much, if any, portaging. You can use designated sites which have bear boxes. The lakes can get rough if the wind blows, especially Rainy. Can be lots of fishermen in motorboats so it’s not as quiet as Quetico or the BW. Camping is free, bass fishing is good. Good luck.

The blackflies and skeeters can be tough right after Mem. Day, so a bug suit might be good; I never used one. Monitoring the weather is always good. The gps is fine,but I don’t own one. Coons have not been a problem for me in the area, bears can be so bring your bear can. I think your sail will be good being that folks use big motorboats. I know of no particular areas to avoid, except to say that Kabetogama seems to have lots of fishermen in motorboats esp. on weekends. The scenery is good everywhere. Wildlife viewing is good: otters, eagles, loons. However, I’ve seen more moose by far in Quetico, which is right next door. The fisherfolk I’ve met have all been fine. I’ve skipped the Rainy visitor center and launched at Ash R. Oh and the wetsuit is a good idea as the water will be in the process of warming, but could still be cold at the end of May. It sounds like you have lots of equipment and will be well prepared for a great trip.

Voyageurs Adventures
Contact Wade with Voyageurs Adventures, I’m sure we’d help you out with whatever you needed, he’s a really good guy.


Big lakes
I paddled Rainy and Namakan before there was a national park so I don’t know about rules and regs, but the lakes and weather have not changed. These are BIG lakes with large open stretches that can produce big waves, perfect for a kayak. Be prepared to take some time on shore if the winds are high. Don’t plan a trip that you have to be moving every day to complete it. If you are windbound you can take some time off and explore on land instead of taking chances. I don’t believe you need a GPS. A good map and handy compass will get you where you want to go.

kayak/canoe registration in MN
Is the registration also required for folding kayaks in Minnesota?

Paddling guide book for Voyageurs Park
"Paddling the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park" by James Churchill Has a section devoted to Voyageurs. Lists possible routes, camps, things to see and discussion of the regulations. Published by Falcon Guide which is part of The Globe Pequot Press out of Gulliford CT

got it…

– Last Updated: Feb-22-04 4:26 PM EST –

that's what got me started:D There's also some good info in Paddling Minnesota, a Falcon Guide..thanks..I was looking for some personal experiences..since there've been so few it's become the top destination on my list..I'm just that kinda girl;) I've decided on beginning at Namakan Lake entering from the Ash River Visitor, if the ice would just leave!

If your state does not require you register your kayak, you have to register it here. Drop in at a county courthouse on you way up.

That is the link to the DNR WEB site that describes the fees.

Good luck,


Yes this is a great area. We used to have a cabin there till the park came in and we had to sell it. I dont recommend canoeing. Rainy,Kabby,Nam all can get rough quicky in its big waters. Ash is probably a good start,more sheltered. Good campsites with bear lockers,use them,bears and VNP go together. Also has inland lakes. Dont do Shopaks unless your an ironman. Some inland lakes on Kabby have park canoes at end of portage,check w/park. Kettle Falls is nostalgic/neat place. Best fishing early in year. Hybes

Voyager info…
I attended Cancoecopia last week-end in Madison, WI and heard a talk given by Wade and Nicole Watson, owners of Voyageurs Adventures outfitters. The slides they showed and route information they shared were really helpful…they had proper maps…

They are very enthusiastic and, as Wade was raised in the area, knowledgable. I think they’ve been to every camping site in the whole park…another great thing about Voyageurs…you can camp anywhere…not just in designated sites! of course, you’d want to practice LNT but that’s no chore…that’s a PLEASURE! They thought the route choice for my initial trip to Voyageurs a good one…now, if only the ICE WOULD MELT! LOL

I was impressed by Wade and Nicole
As well, I’m trying to talk a friend into a Sept trip but may go solo. I’m thinking of circling the peninsula. Make sure to post a trip report so we’ll know how it went.

Good Luck