I plan on taking a 10 day trip in Voyageurs with 3 other people. I am coming up from lower Michigan. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas or just plain help?
Ask away. I have paddled 90% of the park. Are you paddling or motorboat tripping? Its a great park but gets very busy during the 3 summer months.
help with VNP
I also have paddled extensively in the area and own an outfitting business. Like the prev. response Summer is busy…July and Aug. during weekends or long weekend near any of the holidays…
There are many “hidden” areas to avoid the boat traffic if that is what you’re looking for, also there are several excellent interior lakes better suited for canoe travel.
happy to help…
Paddled the park about 3 years ago…in Sept, after Labor Day…much less traffic then, I am told. Many main lanes for powerboaters but just hang inside, nearer to shore for less impact from them. Camp sites are awesome. We fixed a base camp and day paddled out from it. Kabetogama Lake has rocky mounts for most camp sites while Rainey has more with sandy beaches. If you get a chance, meal at Kettle Falls Lodge is real treat in midst of primitive outing. I would guess its pretty busy during the summer, campground seemed to be scattered out from main entry points based on how far a motor boat would travel within a couple of hours of both southern entry points (Crane Lake and ???River).
I did 10 days last June with 1 other person. It’s a great place to paddle! Rainy Lake side has higher waves, Kabetagoma side is usually smooth. We stayed overnight midway at Kettle Falls - after 5 days out it’s a perfect place to get a real meal, a drink with actual ice, and a shower! Campsites are nice, though many landings are rocky or are boat docks and a bit tough to land when the water is choppy. If you’re going on a popular weekend (Labor Day, etc.) pick your campsite early in the day because they’re 1st come 1st serve and motor boats will take them all by 3-4pm or so. You can camp anywhere but you’ll get spoiled by the bear lockers provided and not having to hang your food after a long day of paddling. Oh, a favorite place to camp was across from the Ash River Visitor Center in an inlet called Lost Lake - you have the whole lake to yourself as there’s only 1 campsite there and you won’t hear boats passing by constantly.
Things to think about:
Things to think about when heading up there in no particular order:
> Most of the campsites have rock landings or dock access. The docks are high and near impossible to get out of a sea kayak at them. I think we came across three or four sites with sand landings the entire time. Therefore, you will have to get wet, although most are shallow enough (knee deep) for the average person to get out with the help of a paddle float and wade in. If you have an ultra $$$ fiber boat you will get it scratched up. I used some cheap roof rack foam blocks to pull the boat up over the rocks and rest the boat on.
> There are black bears - a whole lot of them. They wont bother you if you dont bother them. Keep your food locked and out of reach. I cannot stress this enough. Bears are shot and killed if they become a pest to campers. So protect them by not feeding them anything.
> You will need an excellent map (McKenzie Maps are the best) and compass - period. You say,"I never get lost", well you will up here. The islands all look the same from your point of view and the buoys are never the same on the map, well most of the time.
> Beavers will scare you out of you boat as you paddle. I heard they have more beaver than anywhere in the world. They will slap their tail on the water and swim under. Watch out for buried beaver damns along the shore lines.
> There is a small fee for camping anywhere in the park. Make sure you have your permits. We were checked 2 times during the 10-day trip by the park rangers for permits. They are wonderful people and ready to help in anyway.
> Campsites are amazing! Most have picnic tables and firepits (ya, like paddlers need fire pits :)).
> Plenty of houseboats landing along your path to stop and have a break or lunch. Almost all of those are sand landings, but no privy.
> Bring a portable marine band radio, if you have one. Cannot remember the night, but someone broadcasts trivia over the radio. Oh, and it can save your life too.
> Very cheap vacation, if you already have the gear :).
> Need to filter drinking water or boil. Brought the hiker pro and worked great!
> There are a number of great outfitters up there that can help you out. They can take you out to anywhere and drop you off and you can make your way back if you want to save some time.
> Parking at the national park lot(s) are free and the camp fee is self-serve pay box. Park the car in a spot that is not in the way of others when you go out for long trips. Hide a key somewhere on your car with a magnet; trust me, finding a key in sand is hell. Dont leave a note on the car saying when you will be back. Tell the ranger station or someone like your mom at home.
> Weather radio is necessary. Most weather will come from the west and you should be able to predict a bad storm coming in, but they can surprise you fast. We had super strong winds come out of nowhere and just made it into the tent.
> Wear things that can dry fast, although you already knew that. Some areas are tree covered and hard to find sun to dry out things until afternoon.
> Fishing requires permits. You will need one for Minnesota and one for Canada if you plan on fishing both. I have been told by a number of people it is the best fishing in the world.
> If you plan on going to Canada, you will need to fill out some paperwork before crossing over the border. We had fun paddle in two different countries side by side, but you can get into trouble for entering without the proper paperwork. We did not see any border patrols the entire time, not to say there is none.
> Kettle Falls - if you stay in the Inn (which I HIGHLY recommend for long trips) they will send down golf carts to bring ALL your gear up except the boats. So do not carry it all up just walk up and enjoy the place and food and moose drool. We had some great conversation on the awesome porch. Food is great and worth it. They charge a small fee for the portage, worth every penny. The portage is a hike with sea kayaks and gear, let them do the work and have some lunch at the Inn. The rooms are very clean and the shower(s) are down the hall. No A/C either but didnt notice even at 88 degrees out.
> You can get stuck on the islands from bad winds/waves. Plan ahead and come off early.
> Stay near shore lines to avoid being hit by power boats. I had to powerboaters ask me for directions.
> Fun places to explore along the way.
> No portages! Well one short one, the other you can pay to have your kayak moved. There are a number of interior lakes only accessable by trail. Some have rowboats there already.
> Interior trails you will see more wildlife and it is so quiet you can here yourself think!
> Yes, you can snowmobile the whole place.
> The privies rule and are cleaned weekly by the rangers.
> The place is HUGE!
> Anderson bay, Mica Bay places to see.
> Rainy Lake side has less traffic but more open to winds.
NOTE TO POWERBOATERS: Please do not slow down when you see paddlers. It is the WAKE that is the problem not you flying by me.
Two of us did six days around
the peninsula starting and ending at Kab. It’s a great trip. Wade and Nichole at Voyageurs adventures are a great resource and very well informed, we camped there two nights and Wade kept our vehicle while we were gone.
I second the mandatory stay at the hotel it’s a great place.
September is great since the bugs are gone.
Enjoy the trip
do Kettle Falls Inn
there is one bedroom they say a prostitute died in, evidently back in the day the Hotel was a house of ill repute…also check out the pool room-the floor is slanted crazily…
My first experience with a loon was on Kab. and it freeked me out/almost turned over.
We did the trip mid-Sept. and the bugs were long gone.
It is a beautiful place, enjoy.
do you think that paddlers are better suited and more deserving of rights and usage of VNP. i do both but i dont bash paddlers. we all can use it.
Sorry bout spouting off but I dont like people bashing powerboaters. A few can spoil it for the rest I know but we all have to coincide.I enjoy both and respect both. Camping in VNP is free,you just need a permit from the visitors center or self register.You dont need a permit to fish there,just a MN fishing license. Snowmobiling is allowed on frozen lakes and trails,some areas are closed to protect wildlife(wolves,eagles)Check regulations for updates. I dont reccommend using canoes on the big waters as it gets rough frequently. In prime time summer campsites are easier to get on weekdays but if they are full you can camp and build fires in non designated spots.They cant force you to leave the park.(ranger told me this).Slot limits have increased the walleye size and now new regs are in place again,check regulations.A real challenge for only the real hardy would be to explore Shoepak inland lakes. There is a first come free cabin to use on a Kabby island if you talk to the right locals.Good starting points are Woodenfrog,the Visitors center,Kab Narrows and Ash River Trail.
NOTE TO POWERBOATERS:
“Please do not slow down when you see paddlers. It is the WAKE that is the problem not you flying by me.”
Yes, quite a few seem to think they are doing you a favor by slowing down.
The note was hardly bashing
I don’t think the request to not slow down constitutes bashing. Maybe preaching to the choir at this site, but not bashing.