Voyageurs National Park is a land and water environment of great beauty, exceptional natural and cultural resources, and abundant recreation opportunities. Located in the lake-country of northern Minnesota, the park protects 218,054 acres that include roughly 134,000 acres of forest, 84,000 acres of water, 655-miles of undeveloped shoreline, and hundreds of islands. The park's 55-mile northern boundary is the international border between the United States and Canada and includes an important segment of the "transcontinental highway" traversed by French-Canadian voyageurs during the late 1700s and early 1800s.
The rocks tell the oldest story here. Lying in the southern portion of the Canadian Shield, the bedrock of Voyageurs National Park is 2.8 billion years old, some of the oldest exposed rock in the world. Younger rock formations do not appear here. Perhaps they never existed; but more likely a series of glaciers removed them. Those glaciers, more than a mile high, also scoured out the lake and river beds here and set the stage for vast forests.
Voyageurs is unique among national parks as a place where the southern boreal forest meets and mixes with the northern hardwood forest. Wildlife thrives here. Voyageurs is one of only two national parks in the continental United States with an indigenous population of the Eastern timber wolf.
Once visitors arrive at one of the park’s four entry points, most of them leave their cars behind and set out by water, much as the voyageurs did centuries ago. The park includes four major lakes – Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, and Sand Point, and twenty-six smaller inland lakes that together make up more than a third of the total park area. The smaller inland lakes are scattered throughout the park, but primarily on the Kabetogama Peninsula. The peninsula is Voyageurs’ largest landmass and can be reached by water in summer or over the ice in winter.
There are four distinct seasons in Voyageur country. The air is temperate during June, July, and August when periods of fine, mild weather prevail. The frost-free season averages 120 days from June to mid-September. The average ice-out date is May 3 but varies year to year. Annual precipitation (rain and snow) averages 25-28 inches in the park and average snowfall ranges from 55-70 inches, but is highly variable. The first measurable snowfall occurs in late October and the last in late April or early May.
The park offers more than 52 miles of hiking trails, 110 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 7 miles of groomed crosscountry ski trails, and more than 290 designated campsites, houseboat sites, and day use sites.
Visitors who wish to camp overnight within park boundaries are required to obtain an overnight permit. Starting in 2014, 51 sites are available by reservation only from May 15 through September 15 through Recreation.gov.
For the rest of the park’s 240 campsites and houseboats sites a free overnight permit must be obtained at a self-serve park entry point upon arrival. No permit is needed for day use within the park boundaries.
Know Before You GoPermits
- Visitors are responsible for knowing which campsites are reservable within
Voyageurs National Park.
- Permit holders may not occupy a reserved campsite without their permit.
- Permit holders must print and bring their permit with them otherwise the permit
is void and the site will be open for others to make a reservation. Once a visitor has
reached the park, there is no place to print permits!
- Permits may be printed 14 days in advance of your scheduled arrival date.
- Permits are not needed for vehicles but are required to be posted at your site.
Rangers may check your permits.
- The permit holder and party will need a watercraft to get to the campsite.
- Permit holders must be 18 years of age or older.
- There are multiple ways to enter the park. However, the National Park Service
offers three designated boat launch ramps for visitors: Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, and
Ash River Visitor Centers.
Length of Stay
- Frontcountry camping: the maximum stay in the park is 14 consecutive days and no
more than 30 days in a calendar year, except at group campsites where the maximum stay is
7 days. Backcountry camping/boat rentals: the maximum stay in the park is 7 consecutive days and no
more than 30 days in a calendar year.
- Check-in time is 3:00 p.m. or later on the day of the permit
- Check-out time is 12:00 p.m. on the last day of the permit
- Day use/picnicking by those not in the permit holder’s party is not allowed at
- All items with an odor such as food, garbage, and toiletries must be stored in the
bear-proof food locker(s) provided at the site or hung 10’ up and 4’ out from a tree or
pole where provided.
- Bear-proof food locker dimensions are 52” wide x 36” deep x 21” high or equal to
two 48-quart coolers.
- Firewood that is brought into the park must be purchased from an approved Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources vendor.
- Permit holders may collect downed and dead wood.
- All tents must be placed on tent pads where provided.
- Pets must be on a leash no greater than 6' and attended to at all times.
- Pets are permitted only at campsites that are within 100’ of a shoreline on
Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, or Sand Point Lakes.
- Cell phone coverage is spotty within park boundaries.
- Rangers monitor marine channel 16 during regular business hours.
Park Operating/Quiet Hours
- The park is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
- Visitor centers typically operate between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
from May 15 through September 15.
- Quiet hours in the park are between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
For complete listing of rules and regulations visit the Voyageurs National Park
Remember: You must print your permit before you enter the park.
There will be no place to print your permit at any park locations, including visitor
centers. Reservations will be void if the permit is not present at the selected campsite.
For any changes or cancellations to your reservation, contact Recreation.gov.