Your Adventure Is Out There...
“It gave me a moment of exquisite satisfaction to find myself moving away from civilization in this rude canvas canoe, a model that has served primitive races since man first went to sea.”
John Hynge Milton
You are in your Suburban driving 70 MPH on a crowded four-lane interstate. The kids are in the back attached to headphones, you are listening to the sad 6 o’clock news; another murder, failing politicians, Dow went down again. Your wife is on her phone talking loudly to her friend about Instagram, when suddenly a maniac cuts two lanes across directly into your line of disaster. You slam the brakes and honk; the car behind you does as well. Your heart beats through the cavity in your chest and you can’t catch your breath as your family all have the same frightened look on their faces. “We all okay?”’ you ask and continue on your way, unsure of the traffic up ahead. Now, picture yourself with the sun on your back and the lake below. The sound of paddle dipping its head in the gentle water is all you can hear as you glide along the rocky shoreline. You take serene deep breaths of the pine-scented air as you say to yourself, “This is me.”
Native Americans utilized the canoe for centuries as means of lake transportation. In northern Minnesota, the French Voyageurs learned the efficiency of canoe travel when they ventured this area in the 17th and 18th centuries, as stewards of the fur trade. The careful turn of every paddle gliding the vessel onward is our modern equivalent of stepping on the gas or turning up the cruise control. In this world that seems to pass us by like telephone poles down a highway, it’s quite a thing to slow down and let eyes take in the grace of our surroundings.
In a state known for its 10,000 lakes, Voyageurs National Park and the waterways it consists of are truly unique and untouched. Glacier rock formations from the Ice Age have carved countless numbers islands and inlets only to be reached by means of water to this day. This is ideal for adventurous explorers, kayak enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to be surrounded by land and water human hand has not yet grasped.
We, at Voyageur’s Outfitters, believe in the ability of this area to cleanse and replenish the soul. Hiking our islands, bird watching, gazing at the humbling stars above us provide prospective. We provide the means for this life-changing getaway with a variety of canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards that people of all ages and backgrounds can learn to enjoy. In addition, we supply a wide variety of services including delivery of groceries, firewood, coolers and additional gear to make your experience as convenient as possible. We get to live here and we want to share our experience with the world. Picture yourself or your family unplugged from the constant static we surround ourselves in out of necessity. The canoe comforts the quiet splash of the paddle progressing you along as you lose yourself to the silence of gliding the glass surface of water.
Your Adventure is out there...
‘I did a lot of canoe trips early on, and I would get the feel of the forest and the wilderness, you know, that I always knew was in my soul to begin with.’
The Protection of Voyageurs National Park & History of Earnest Oberholtzer
Voyageurs National Park is full of splendor and serene beauty, and is a unique and treasured place. Without the efforts of Earnest Oberholtzer and the many others who have dedicated their lives to protecting public lands for future generations, our beloved park would not be what it is today. We are fortunate to have men and women like Oberholtzer who, over the years, have dedicated their time and treasure to defending and protecting our public wilderness areas such as Voyageurs National Park.
The history of Earnest Olberholtzer and the protection of Voyageurs National Park are well documented, and you can learn more about these stories and many others at the Rainy Lake, Kabetogama, and Ash River visitors centers, along with the Koochiching County Historical Societies Museum and many other resorts and local outlets. Here at Voyageurs Outfitters, we are happy to share the story of Oberholtzer, and guide you through many aspects of his life, including his historical property on Mallard Island and his generous donation to create Ontario's Sand Point Provincial Park.
Oberholtzer has set an example of what modern conservation should strive to be. The importance of protecting our public lands is more important today than ever. With threats to wild lands coming from various sources, we need to use Oberholtzer’s example of calm but persistent pressure on those threats so that our public lands are protected for future generations to come.
Join us on a historical learning tour of Sand Point Island and the review islands which include Oberholtzer’s very own Mallard Island. Our tour boats are equipped with comfy chairs and complimentary beverages.
Contact us for more information on scheduling a tour to learn more about this spectacular man and the rich history of Voyageurs National Park.
Humanity has pondered the stars and studied the sky since the dawn of civilization. The vast majority of people today only see the night sky through a filter of human needs. Well lit sky scrapers, apartment complexes, homes, the hum and glow of the freeway, street lamps, airplane beacons, all of which human existence depends on, also emit light pollution skewing our view of what’s above us. This list of illumination we send to the night is immeasurable since the invention of the light bulb and our rapid expanse of world population. Here in Voyageurs National Park and the gateway communities we do get to see a glimpse at the heavens unobstructed by human creation. There is virtually no light pollution in and around Voyageurs and in fact we are working with the Dark Skies Association https://www.darksky.org/ to gain our own Dark Skies Designation, a designation that few places on the planet can have.
Awestruck, by definition, means an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or even fear produced by that which is grand, sublime, or extremely powerful. The night skies of Voyageurs provide those experiences and Voyageurs Outfitters can be your vehicle to a truly awe-inspiring night sky experience.
Pictures or videos don't do justice to seeing the Lights for the first time. There are variations of this phenomena caused by Earth’s magnetosphere’s contact with solar wind where a ring of green will appear on a night’s horizon like a soft blanket. This only occurs at the poles of our world, the far north and south where metals form the strongest magnet to attract the sun’s emission of charged particles. There are other times when the ring expands with even more protons and electrons from even a more ever-reaching sun deflect off our atmosphere forming a green sheet that covers the sky with waves from above as if on a clothesline.
I was fourteen the first time I truly was awestruck. On the shoreline of Rainy Lake with friends we all stopped in our tracks of youthful ignorance and beheld the spectacle unfolding in the clear black night. Giant tidal waves of green and yellow crashed into the atmosphere above us. The sky dancing its vibrant jade in front of the infinity beyond. Violent and stunning emerald running ribbons beheld for what it seemed only us. We felt threatened like it was the end of the world yet couldn’t look away. Such a strange feeling being scared and amazed looking at the sky ripple with such color and almost break the shield we didn’t comprehend protecting us. The sun, our very light of life, making a green flashing appearance in the black of night left us mesmerized, trembling under the firmament. That flash of time I can never forget and keeps me humble.
That’s why this latitude, this dark untouched piece of Earth, this pole, pulls me like solar winds to this Northern magnet from the vast populace of urban dwelling. With friends and family appreciative to the pleasures I’ve seen, we stay as long as we can at Voyageurs National Park, the island jewel of Rainy Lake and our true home. Sometimes it’s Kabetogama, or the long fingers of Namakan, but always north. We hike, we canoe and kayak. The golden red sunset over pristine wilderness is overwhelming next to the darkening waters, but the lights of the night and all their potential, always hold me mesmerized at what’s to come.
For more information and where to find the Northern Lights check out our page!
Spring is a wonderful time of year in Voyageurs National Park. The arrival of Spring brings longer days and more direct sunshine. The energy of the sun brings a flurry of new activity to the border lakes region, northwest Ontario, sunset country, and the northern boreal forest and lakes. This fresh spring activity can be categorized into human activities and the activities of the flora and fauna of Voyageurs, the Northern forests and the waters of Crane Lake, Sand
Point, Namakan, Kabetogama, Rainy Lake, Rainy River, and Lake of the Woods. This leads to melting lakes, migrating birds, mating grouse, and the promise of another summer. Although subtler than us noisy humans, the awaking of nature after the long winters slumber can be quite riotous.
The awakening after the long winter is an amazing thing to witness. Here are five of our most phenomenal Springtime occurrences:
2. The Return of Migratory Birds
The return of the seagulls and other migratory birds marks a Springtime milestone. After the noisy return of our feathered friends, the gulls, Springtime is officially upon us. Other typically hard to spot migratory birds use Voyageurs National Park as a starting point on their way destinations farther north, sometimes traveling as far as the Arctic Circle.
3. Ruffed Grouse
The slow thump and increasingly rapid drumming of the ruffed grouse is a sound unique to springtime in northern Minnesota's boreal forests. The male grouse use an elaborate dance and drumming to attract a mate. Sometimes this phenomenon can be so loud that it distracts your thoughts and allows your mind to escape far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
4. Birth of Fawns
Spring is when mother deer, after surviving the cold winters, give birth to their fawns. Even though these fawns are extremely well camouflaged, it is not uncommon to see them testing out their new legs while on one of Voyageurs Outfitters wildlife boat tours. The circle of life is all around us in Voyageurs.
5. Preparation for Summer in the Park
As nature awakens, humans do as well. Although some may disagree, we are an integral part of our ecosystems and spaceship Earth. At Voyageurs Outfitters, we are busy getting power boats, sailboats, pontoon boats, Tour boats, canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards ready for the upcoming busy summer season. We go through all of our camping and boating gear to make sure it is safe and at the high standards that our customers demand. Captains go through safety and interpretive training programs so that our clients have the most enjoyable and safe experience in Voyageurs National Park. Voyageurs National Park staff are busy getting their boats ready and opening the visitor’s centers and campsites. Resorts are busy as well getting ready tor the bustling tourist season.
Springtime, with all of its new sounds, sights, smells, and activity is truly an incredible time in Voyageurs National Park. Call us to book your spring glamping trip, boat tour, ice harvest excursion, or hiking adventure. We are here to guide you though all aspects of planning your trip. From initial thoughts of trip planning to getting out to your campsite and cooking that authentic shore lunch, the staff at Voyageurs Outfitters are here to help you make the most of your adventure.
Here on Rainy Lake in Voyageurs National Park, we share one of the longest and most beautiful unsecured International borders in the world. We have peacefully shared this border with our neighbor to the North (Canada) for over 150 years. This border represents the wonderful relationship between the two countries and has been a model for peacefully negotiated treaties throughout the world.
Along the 1,500-mile border, which is made up of 40% water, you will find 20% of the world’s freshwater supply. From creeks and streams that are only a few inches deep to vast lakes over 1000 feet deep our International border is one of the most diverse and scenic on the planet.
Throughout the years there have been three major treaties dictating the usage of the border between the United States and Canada.
Today the border is used by a diverse group of stakeholders on Rainy Lake, Rainy River, Lake of the Woods, Lake Superior, and across the borderland of northwestern Ontario and Northern Minnesota. These user groups include but are not limited to:
The border lakes region is truly an amazing place that we share with our Canadian counterparts and should not be taken for granted. The hard work of many folks throughout the years has helped make this place protected while still remaining easy to access. Voyageurs Outfitters can help you plan your trip along the border and help you make the most of your time while partaking in the splendor of Voyageurs National Park.
Your adventure is out there…
Our Kettle Falls Tour takes you deep within the park on a full day adventure. We will visit many destinations including but not limited to Fujita Island, Anderson Bay Cliffs, Bushyhead Island and an active eagle’s nest, the Golden Triangle scenic overlook, and Daylight Beach. We will be visiting the historical Kettle Falls Hotel for lunch and an interpretive hike. There are many opportunities to view wild life that live in the park. Seeing loons, eagles, deer, bear, beaver, and a variety of ducks is not uncommon on one of our boat tours. Complimentary beverage service and light snacks are provided as well. We will be making frequent stops at sites with full bathroom facilities. Costs include boat, captain, and fuel for up to 6 people.
After confirming the day before your departure, we will meet at the Rainy Lake Visitor’s Center, or other suitable dock, for a 10 am departure. We encourage you to arrive 30 to 45 minutes early at the Visitor’s center to check out the museum and interpretive displays and videos that the Park Service has to offer. There are interpretive rangers on site to answer all of your questions about the French-Canadian Voyageurs. There is also much information on the prospectors who came to Rainy Lake to strike it rich during the gold rush and the struggles they faced in this wild and frontier environment. Before those Europeans were on Rainy Lake and the waters of Voyageurs National Park the Ojibwe and Chippewa peoples were here thriving and trading with other peoples from far away when those first Europeans arrived. Park staff can also tell you about and the prehistoric Laurel peoples that predate the Ojibwe and Chippewa by many thousands of years and how they left their mark on the area. The National Park rangers are a plethora of information on native and non-native species of flora and fauna also and can let you know what to look for while you are on your tour with us. Once introduced to your Licensed Coast Guard Captain, she/he will give a quick safety presentation and then untie the boat and get you on your way into the wilds of Voyageurs National Park.
First, we will give you a background leading back to the first people to use the waters of Voyageurs as their “water hi-ways”, the Laurel people whose history dates back the pre-historic time of the woodland era. The waterways were used by their descendants, the Anishinaabe or original people then the Ojibwe, Chippewa and Sioux. The next people to use the waterways were the first Europeans to arrive, the French-Canadian voyageurs. They observed the indigenous people transporting and trading goods, sometimes from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. The Voyageurs adapted these routes to transport beaver pelts out of the interior of the continent to be brought to market in England to supply the ever-growing beaver felt hat industry. Europeans continued to use the waterways of Voyageurs National Park for logging,
mining, and settling until the middle 20th century when talk of protecting the lands of Voyageurs started taking hold. Established on April 8th, 1975 the lands surrounding the waters officially became the protected areas that is now known as Voyageurs National Park. People still use the waterways to fish, recreate, and travel throughout Voyageurs National Park.
Next, your Captain will tell you about the gold mining era and frontier life in and around Rainy Lake City. Built because of the gold rush there are still remnants of it in what is now modern day International Falls.
Then, we will take you to see an active Eagle nest and see an abandoned gold mine shaft on Bushyhead Island. Bushyhead island is named after Charles “Bushyhead” Johnson who mined and lived on the island. It is unknown if Mr. Johnson is named after the island or if it is the other way around.
After that we will take you on a tour of the inside passage to Oveson’s historical fish camp. This is a great opportunity to view wildlife such as bear, deer, loons, ducks, otters, and a variety of furry woodland animals indigenous to Northern Minnesota.
After Harry Oveson’s Fish camp we will go across the mouth of Lost Bay and into the Brule Narrows. The Brule separates the vast east end of Rainy Lake from the western portions. This is a great chance to sit back and enjoy a complimentary beverage and a light snack provided by us. Take in the sights and sounds of Voyageurs and Ontario as we travel down the International border along the same route taken by people for eons. Learn about the Jay treaty of 1794, the Webster Ashburn treaty of 1842, and the Boundary waters treaty of 1909 and how they all used today when navigating the water of Rainy Lake along the Ontario Minnesota border.
Depending on weather and time constraints our captain will decide weather to head directly to Kettle Falls for lunch or to stop at some more sites on the east end of Rainy Lake. If you don’t stop on the way to Kettle Falls you will most definitely stop on the way back.
Nestled in the Woods along the Kettle River and only accessible by boat the Kettle Falls Hotel is a must-see attraction and historical place in Voyageurs National Park. Arriving at Kettle Falls we will be greeted with golf carts for folks with mobility issues. After walking up the well-groomed paths we will come upon the Kettle Falls Hotel. Built around the turn of the last century it is operated today by a concessionaire for the National Park Service. We will enjoy a great lunch inside or out on the screened in porch and enjoy the beautiful summer weather that Voyageurs has to offer. Maybe a burger and fries or a traditional walleye shore lunch? Or soup and salad for something a bit lighter, Kettle Falls can accommodate your desires.
When all done with lunch your captain will take you on a tour of the historic hotel and their famous bar with the tilted floor. Dubbed the “Tiltin’ Hilton” this piece of history was reconstructed just the way it historically was when renovations were done to the hotel in the late 1980s. We will also tour the grounds of the hotel and walk up to the scenic overlook of the
Kettle Falls dam. This is one of the few spots in the continental United States where we can peer into Canada while looking south. That’s right we can look south into Canada.
We will then be on our way for the journey home. Depending on where we stopped on the way to Kettle Falls, and what time and weather will allow, we will make stops on the way back. Most likely your captain will take you to Daylight beach. This is an area that the National Park Service, with the help of Voyageurs National Park Association (the friends group of Voyageurs National Park), was recently able to acquire from a private individual. This 60-acre parcel that is now completely protected by the National Park Service is a great example of how public and private non-profit partnerships can work together in conservation activities.
Daylight Beach represents the entrance to Kempton channel on the west. This is one of our favorite areas in the entire park. Virtually unchanged over the last 5,000 years it is easy for one to imagine a time that where modern day distractions did not exist.
Nestled in the heart of the Kempton Channel is Fujita Island. Juan Fujita came to this are in the 1930s and built his historic cabin that is still there to this day. While on the island Juan wrote many poems and is widely regarded as one of the foremost poets of Tonka poetry and is quite famous in his hometown of Hiroshima Japan. Our Captain will tell you of his story and show you the beauty of his island.
One of the last stops will be at the “Golden Triangle”. An area known to be a hot spot for illegal activity during prohibition times. We will get off the boat here for you to explore a private island and take picture at a scenic overlook. After answering any questions that you may have we will get back in the boat and we will deliver you safely back at the Rainy Lake Visitor’s Center.
The Kettle Falls Tour is a once in a lifetime chance to see a vast amount of Voyageurs National Park in a relatively short period of time. You will get to know the beauty, vastness, and splendor of the Park and the stillness it offers. Call us today to book your trip, your adventure is out there…
Visiting Voyageurs National Park for only a short time? Maybe you are passing through and only have a couple of hours to spend on Rainy Lake? Are you up visiting relatives and want to see the wildlife, hear the history, enjoy the scenic beauty, and walk the path of the historic French-Canadian Voyageurs? Have you lost too much money at Blackbear Casino or Fortune Bay on Lake Vermillion and must experience the splendor of Voyageurs National Park on a budget? Or maybe you are just a frugal traveler and want to get a good bang for your buck? Does any of this sound familiar? If so Voyageurs Outfitters 2-hour boat tour would be perfect for you…
All of our tour boats can accommodate up to six passengers and we provide light snacks and beverages at no charge. After a short pre-embarkation orientation, one of our experienced Coast Guard Credentialed Captains will take you into Voyageurs National Park on the pristine waters of Rainy Lake. Sit back, relax, enjoy a complimentary beverage, and take in all that this 2 hour get away has in store.
We will give you a background leading back to the first people to use the waters of Voyageurs as their “water hiways”, the Laurel people whose history dates back the pre-historic time of the woodland era. The waterways were used by their descendants, the Anishinaabe or original people then the Ojibwe and Sioux. The next people to use the waterways were the first Europeans to arrive, the French-Canadian voyageurs. They observed the indigenous people transporting and trading goods, sometimes from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. The Voyageurs adapted these routes to transport beaver pelts out of the interior of the continent to be brought to market in England to supply the ever-growing beaver felt hat industry. Europeans continued to use the waterways of Voyageurs National Park for logging, mining, and settling until the middle 20th century when talk of protecting the lands of Voyageurs started taking hold. Established on April 8th, 1975 the lands surrounding the waters officially became the protected areas that is now known as Voyageurs National Park. People still use the waterways to fish, recreate, and travel throughout Voyageurs National Park.
Next, your Captain will tell you about the gold mining era and you will tour Rainy Lake City and take a hiking tour of Little American Island. Little American is known to be the only Gold mine in the area to actually turn a profit.
Then, we will take you to see an active Eagle nest and see an abandoned gold mine shaft on Bushyhead Island. Bushyhead Island is named after Charles “Bushyhead” Johnson who mined and lived on the island. It is unknown if Mr. Johnson is named after the island or if it is the other way around.
After that we will take you on a tour of the inside passage to Oveson’s historical fish camp. This is a great opportunity to view wildlife such as bear, deer, loons, ducks, otters, and a variety of furry woodland animals indigenous to Northern Minnesota.
One of the last stops will be at the “Golden Triangle”. An area known to be a hot spot for illegal activity during prohibition times. We will get off the boat here for you to explore a private island and take pictures at a scenic overlook. After answering any questions that you may have we will get back in the boat and we will deliver you safely back at the Rainy Lake Visitor’s Center. The entire tour takes about 2 hours and only costs $30 per person.
So, if you are looking to save some money and some time the grand tour is for you. If you are interested in heading deeper into the park for more history, scenery, and chances to see birds and wildlife one of our longer tours is probably more suited to you. Call us to discuss your individual needs, we can accommodate most any. Your adventure is out there…
A New Member of Voyageurs Outfitters Joins the Team
In October of 2017 Voyageurs Outfitters had added a new addition to its family, the new tour boat “Yellow Jacket”. The boat did some light service in the fall taking a couple of families out on tours of Rainy Lake. Included in the tours were the Rainy Lake Visitor’s Center, Bushyhead Island, The Golden Triangle, Oveson’s Fish camp, and Rainy Lake city. Yellow Jacket performed wonderfully delivering persons and gear to their campsites as well. The new boat “Yellow Jacket” is a 23-foot Alumaweld Intruder with a full enclosure, large windshield, and protected cockpit. It features individual and bench seating as well as cabin heat and bathroom facilities. “It is great to have such a modern and comfortable tour boat to add to our fleet.” Says Capt. Eric Johnson. He goes on to say, “This new piece of equipment is a game changer and really ups the level of service we can provide to our tour, water taxi, delivery, and fishing customers.”
The Yellow Jacket will be able to haul either your personal canoes, kayaks, and SUPs or can haul rental canoe, kayaks, and rental Stand Up Paddleboards anywhere you want them delivered in Voyageurs National Park. Capt. Eric sums it up by saying, “We (Voyageurs Outfitters) are your full-service outfitter for Voyageurs National Park. From tours and water taxi service to your favorite hiking spot, to getting you out to your campsite quickly, the Yellow Jacket will transport you in comfort and safety.” Your adventure is out there...
Voyageurs Outfitters Website Renovation
This winter season has been full of exciting changes for our team at Voyageurs Outfitters! In case you missed it, our old website has undergone a huge renovation! The new and improved site highlights the large selection of rentals, tours and outfitting services we offer throughout Voyageurs National Park, located in International Falls, Minnesota.
The new site (launched December 2017) has one main goal in mind: to help you make the most of your visit to Northern Minnesota and Voyageurs National Park.
Voyageurs Outfitters was founded in 2011 with the objective of bringing a dream to life. We have engaged in a lifelong aspiration that all started with our adventures growing up in Northern Minnesota. Boat tours, cruises, and rides are our passion. These adventures have allowed us to build a deep connection with the wilderness of Voyageurs National Park and have inspired our dreams. These dreams have encouraged us to concentrate on creativity and openness - the core focus that the nature of Voyageurs Outfitters was built upon. We operate with the sole purpose of presenting the adventures of Northern Minnesota to a diverse array of guests so that they, too have the opportunity to stumble upon their dreams.
We’re passionately committed to providing customized experiences for the adventure seekers of the world. Adventures include:
Explore our new site to find more unique adventures that we offer on Rainy Lake, Namakan, and Kabetogama. Let’s get a head start at planning your unforgettable trip to Voyageurs National Park! Your adventure is out there...
What other rentals or services would you like to see Voyageurs Outfitters offer? Let us know in the comments down below!
With a new sunrise across the big waters of Rainy Lake, Kabetogama, Namakan, Crane, and Sand Point in Voyageurs National Park comes new opportunities and a new season. Winter is nearly over and the swans area already back in Ranier. The eagles are already fishing and feeding. The melting snow has uncovered what has been hiding beneith it for the last couple of months. Soon the lake will be greeting us with its boundless serenety and the otters, deer, bear, wolf, and all the other creatures of Voyageurs National Park will be out also.
Call us today to book your camping trip, boat tour, canoe rental, boat rental or boat excursion. This year we are offering glamping packages that leave all the work and head aches to us. We also offer sailing packages or sailing lessons along with our sunset sailing cruises out of the port of Ranier. Call us to find out how we can help you make the most of your time in Voyageurs National Park. Your adventure is out there…
Your full service adventure specialists.