As you venture into the park on foot or by boat you will be greeted by hidden pockets of wilderness; calm, reflective waters; and statuesque outcrops of the oldest rock on Earth. Traveling the waterways that guided early explorers, you are steeped in a groundbreaking era of history.
With more than one-third of Voyageurs made up of lakes, this is a haven for those seeking restorative time on the water. Passages wind among 900 islands, giving access by boat to the unforgettable landscape of Minnesota’s North Country. The islands comprise forested uplands, marshes, bogs, and ponds—all perfect for hiking and exploring. Just beyond the rocky shorelines lie excellent spots for camping. The glassy waters reflect glacier-formed rock, intriguing to the eye and even more so to geologists researching three-billion-year-old specimens of Earth.
Hiking paths follow the park road into the woods and among rocky outcrops
An angler’s heaven
Unsurprisingly, in a land of endless water, you’ll find world-class fishing, with the chance to snag 50 different species—lake sturgeon, northern pike, and smallmouth bass among them. Also angling for fish amid the serene beauty are black bears, gray wolves, and bald eagles. The plant-eating moose roams here, too, while in the distance is the ever-present call of the loon.
A journey back in time
This raw wilderness is matched by an intriguing history of the indigenous peoples and the intrepid Voyageurs. You will need to travel by boat to retrace the historic route the fur traders took.
Rock of Ages
Voyageurs is one of the few national parks where you can hold rocks half the age of Earth in the palm of your hand. Part of the Canadian Shield, the rocks cradling Voyageurs formed two billion years before the dinosaurs appeared.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Voyageurs—French-Canadian fur traders who traveled by canoe—navigated the waters between Quebec, the Great Lakes, and the US interior, opening trade routes and forming ties with the Ojibwe. They came in search of beavers, both plentiful and highly sought after, as their fur was prized by European fashion houses. The Ojibwe provided them food, clothing, medicine, and guidance. In return, the Voyageurs traded goods, technologies, and knowledge of European ways.
The sun sets over an island opposite Rudder Bay, in Lake Kabetogama