Paddle through Minnesota’s spectacular North country as you explore waterfalls, hidden coves, and scenic waterways. Listen for the cry of the loon and the howl of the timber wolf, as you glide through the crystal clear waters of the North country’s big lakes. View ancient rock exposures, spectacular lake country scenery, abundant wildlife, and unmatched stargazing!
Sample ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Paddle into pristine Kabetogama Lake before setting up camp at Bald Rock
Meet your trip mates at Ash River Visitor Center. Unload North canoes and gear, participate in a canoe orientation, and learn necessary details for a safe and fun trip. Paddle into Kabetogama Lake toward your first campsite on Bald Rock. After a delicious dinner, discuss trip expectations around a warm campfire.
Day 2: Enjoy a full day of paddling before setting up camp on Cutover Island
Get up early for breakfast, break camp, and get to exploring! The day may consist of a full day of paddling, crossing many lake miles. Paddle west past Wolf Island and out into Kabetogama Lake. Stop near secluded Shoepack Beach for lunch. Set up camp on Cutover Island and spend the evening exploring your surroundings. Don't forget to look for shooting stars or northern lights!
Day 3: Fish, swim, and explore the shore on this layover day
Enjoy a layover day in this area and the many activities the park has to offer. Sit back and soak in the wilderness, take a day paddle to the artistically distinct Ellsworth Rock Gardens, explore the hidden trails and blueberry patches of Cutover Island, or fish from a North canoe. The evening can be spent swimming, fishing, and relaxing around a cozy campfire.
Day 4: Paddle to your final campsite at Ek Bay and enjoy an afternoon of hiking, fishing, and geological exploration
Paddle to your final campsite in Ek Bay and set up camp. Explore and fish the bay from a canoe or hike to the backcountry lakes. Here you will find ancient geological features that are half as old as the Earth. Spend your last night in the wilderness telling tales and reliving your adventures around the warm fire.
Day 5: Enjoy one final paddle before saying farewell to your trip mates
Rise early for hot coffee and breakfast and paddle to the take-out point near the Ash River Visitor Center. The trip officially ends after lunch in the early afternoon.
What to Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: The area lies on the Canadian Shield, with terrain characterized by exposed granite carved by the water and ice action of the big lakes. On the water, many islands provide protection from the wind. Voyageurs National Park offers a wide range of route options from very easy to very difficult–great for explorers with varied interests.Read more »
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do we meet?
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Ash River Visitor Center at 1:00 PM (local time)
End: Ash River Visitor Center at 11:00 AM (local time)
This trip begins at the Ash River Visitors Center in Voyageurs National Park at 2:30 PM. The trip ends at the same location at 11:00 AM. By car, it is 6.5 hours north of Minneapolis, and 4 hours from Cloquet, MN. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. Booking a Flight? We recommend flying in to the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport the night before your trip, and flying out no earlier than 10:00 PM on the last day of the trip.
Do I need paddling experience to join a canoe or kayak trip?
Paddling trips with WI are appropriate for beginners and seasoned paddlers alike. On the first day of all trips, basic paddling strokes will be taught by the trip leader. Each trip gives participants multiple opportunities to practice their skills. Participants with more experience will have plenty of opportunity to paddle during the trip, and even to help teach less experienced paddlers!
Will I see the northern lights in Voyageurs National Park?
While we cannot guarantee you will see the northern lights on your trip, many visitors do catch a glimpse of them every year. You can check out this northern lights forecast website a few days before your trip to see the likelihood of seeing the aurora: https://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/aurora-3-day-forecast