Friday, November 11, 2016

Hike Voyageurs National Park’s four regions

Rainy Lake Recreation Trail
Voyageurs National Park’s vastness can be divided into four general areas, each of which offers a number of great hiking trails.

Located a few mile east of International Falls, Rainy Lake is the most popular area. From here, park visitors can explore Rainy Lake and its islands, Black Bay, and make their way to he Kabetogama Peninsula. A great trail to hike or bike here is the new Rainy Lake Recreation Trail. Opened in 2015, the fairly flat, paved trail covers 1.7 miles one-way. If looking for a longer walk or bicycle ride, the trail conveniently connects to the International Falls Bike Trail, which runs for an additional 12 miles.

To the southeast is the Kabetogama area, which sits on the south side of Lake Kabetogama. There you can see and even walk atop rock almost half the age of the Earth on the Echo Bay Hiking Trail. The 2.2-mile trail consists of three stacked loops. Part of the route runs alongside Lake Kabetogama.

Further east is the Ash River area, where the Ash River flows into Lake Kabetogama. This is an excellent area to walk alongside the lake and explore the park’s boreal forest. The short 0.4-miles round trip Beaver Pond Overlook Trail crosses a spruce, fir and aspen woods and ends at a vista of a former beaver pond.

Much of the park consists of the fourth region, the Kabetogama Peninsula. No roads lead to the backcountry peninsula, which is only accessible by boat. One easy to reach hike is through the whimsical man-made rock garden on a ranger-led Ellsworth Rock Garden Tour. Though a short hike, it includes the bonus of a boat ride across beautiful Lake Kabetogama.

Each of the areas, other than the peninsula, maintains a visitors center.

Learn more about the park’s day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at Voyageurs National Park guidebook.