Voyageurs National Park Camping Permits Overview
** All frontcountry and backcountry campsites require travel by water to access. When building your itinerary, click on campsite names to know approximate boating distances. **
Voyageurs National Park has 147 reservable frontcountry campsites and 14 reservable backcountry campsites for those wanting an authentic northwoods camping experience.
FRONTCOUNTRY CAMPSITES are located on our large lakes (Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan and Sandpoint) and require travel by watercraft. They are equipped with fire rings, tent pads, picnic tables, bear lockers for safe food storage, and outdoor privies. Click the Build Itinerary button to plan your frontcountry camping trip. Find more detailed frontcountry camping information and view a campsite map here .
BACKCOUNTRY CAMPSITES are located on the park's interior lakes and offer a more remote and secluded camping experience. They have fewer amenities, consisting of fire rings, a bear pole for safe food storage, and an outdoor privy. These sites first require travel by personal watercraft or local water taxi service to a trailhead and then hiking up to several miles to the backcountry lakes. From here, some backcountry campsites require a canoe to be reached, while others can be hiked to directly. Please note that Voyageurs National Park only offers canoes that remain stationed at these remote inland lakes; not on Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan or Sand Point. For those without a boat, transportation to the backcountry trailheads must be arranged through local businesses. Find more backcountry camping information and view a map of all backcountry campsite and canoe locations here .
BACKCOUNTRY BOAT RENTAL PROGRAM: Voyageurs offers the ability to rent canoes with a backcountry camping permit at certain campsites. These canoes are stationed at the remote inland lakes; the park does not rent watercrafts for Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan or Sandpoint. Click the Build Itinerary button to plan your backcountry camping trip.
- Locator, War Club, Quill, Loiten, and Shoepack Lakes: camping reservations for these backcountry campsites automatically include one canoe because it is required to reach the site. Additional canoes can be added to your reservation on a first come, first served basis.
- Ek, Cruiser, Brown and Peary: these backcountry campsites can be hiked to directly after boating to trailhead and have an optional canoe located at the site which can be added when making a reservation.
- Agnes, Jorgens, Quarter Line, Oslo, and Ryan: these backcountry campsites are camp-only locations and have no canoes available at them.
- Beginning in 2022, backcountry canoe rentals will require a combination code to access. This information can be found in your confirmation email and in the Reservation Details section of your recreation.gov account. Be certain to print your permit within 5 days of your trip start date; it is required to have this with you and it will also contain the necessary code and instructions.
- Backcountry canoe rentals are available May 15 - September 30 annually. This means that the Chain of Lakes campsites (Locator, War Club, Quill, Loiten) and the Shoepack Lakes campsites cannot be reached and are closed outside of those dates.
DAY USE BACKCOUNTRY BOAT RENTALS: The same canoes avaialble in the backcountry for use with overnight camping can be reserved for day use. This first requires travel by personal watercraft or local water taxi service to a trailhead, and then hiking into the backcountry lakes where the rental canoes are stationed. Click on the Reserve Day Use Rentals button above or scroll further down on this page to view options.
DAY USE & VISITOR DESTINATION SITES: With 27 Day Use sites and 7 Visitor Destination sites scattered throughout, Voyageurs National Park has plenty of areas to enjoy for visitors who are just out for a day trip on the lakes. Each Day Use site has picnic tables, fire rings and vault privies, while the Visitor Destination sites offer short trails with wayside exhibits, picnic areas and comfort stations. No reservations are required for Day Use or Destination sites. View a map of Day Use and Visitor Destination sites here .
Keep Voyageurs National Park Wild for Future Generations: The Voyageurs Conservancy is the park's official nonprofit partner representing a community of people who care about the ongoing stewardship of Voyageurs National Park. VNPA works to fund projects and programs that will help sustain the park's waters, wild character, and visitor experience for generations to come. Become a member today , follow them on Facebook and Instagram , or sign up for their e-newsletter .
From spring through fall, explore Voyageurs National Park on land by stopping in at a visitor center or hiking any of our 52 miles of scenic hiking trails. To explore the vastness of the same lakes the Voyageurs and Ojibwe Indians once traversed, leave your car behind and explore park waters by kayak, canoe, sailboat, motorboat, houseboat or tour boat. Public boat launch ramps are available at park visitor centers, the Crane Lake ranger station and the two state forest campgrounds - Woodenfrog and Ash River.
With Voyageurs National Park's scheduled programs and boat tours, you can paddle a canoe on the Voyageurs Highway, watch wildlife by day and stars by night, and explore historic Kettle Falls Hotel, Hoist Bay and Ellsworth Rock Gardens. Check the park website for a current list of these activities and many more, or contact a Voyageurs National Park visitor center and speak with an interpretive park ranger. Reservations in advance are highly recommended for boat tours, and can be made here on recreation.gov.
Voyageurs National Park has three visitor centers, which offer area information, exhibits, a park movie, bookstore, Junior Ranger programs, boat ramps, hiking trials and more. All visitor centers are open daily in the summer, and the Rainy Lake Visitor Center operates year-round.
Raniy Lake Visitor Center (218) 286-5258
Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center (218) 875-2111
Ash River Visitor Center (218) 374-3221
Voyageurs National Park is a land and water environment of great beauty, exceptional natural and cultural resources, and abundant recreational 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, scoured out the lake and river beds 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.
There are four distinct seasons in Voyageur country. The air is temperate during June, July, and August when periods of fine, warm 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.
Unique attractions near Voyaguers National Park:
The City of International Falls sits on the U.S.-Canada border, across from Fort Frances, Ontario. You can have a picnic lunch in Smokey Bear Park, and then tour the Bronko Nagurski Museam and Koochiching County Historical Museum, which both sit on site. Don't forget to take a photo with the 26-foot statue of Smokey the Bear himself - a well-known and beloved national symbol of fire prevention and forest conservation. There are many unique businesses and shops along main street, as well as some great coffee shops and restaurants. Heading eastward out of town, you will pass the village of Ranier and numerous resorts where you can find delicious lake-side dining, fishing guides, hotel and cabin accomodations, houseboat rental companies and much more.
The Historic Port Village of Ranier is a quaint little community situated right where Rainy Lake empties into the Rainy River underneath a cantilever-style train bridge that spans from the U.S. into Canada. Here you will find lodging, an RV park, a park and playground, a public beach, public docks, delicous food, an ice cream parlor and a lakeside brewpub, all packed into one small charming town of about 150 residents. Be sure to take a photo with Big Vic, the 25-foot tall statue of a French-Canadian voyageur, who stands at the entrance to this unique little town.
The entrances to the communites of Kabetogama and Ash River are located about 30 miles south of International Falls, and both serve as gateways to the southern district Voyageurs National Park. Be sure to stop and take a photo of yourself "riding" the walleye statue at the entrance to Kabetogama on Highway 53.
Charges & Cancellations
CANCELLATION POLICY: Cancellations and/or modifications to an existing reservation can easily be made online via your recreation.gov account. Log in to your account, click on your name in the upper right, and select My Reservations. Click on the "Modify or Cancel" button next to the reservation needing to be changed. The national recreation.gov call center at (877) 444-6777 can also assist. You cannot call a park office to cancel a reservation.
THE FOLLOWING FEES APPLY:
- Reservation system fee of $10 charged at time of reservation is non-refundable
- Any change (i.e. trip dates, campsite) to your reservation more than 3 days prior to your trip: No charge
- Any change (i.e. trip dates, campsite) to your reservation less than 3 days prior to your trip: $10 service fee per
- Cancel reservation more than 3 days prior to arrival date: additional $10 cancellation fee; receive refund of remaining amenity fees
- Cancel reservation less than 3 days prior to arrival date: additional $10 cancellation fee + forfeit first night’s fee; receive refund of remaining amenity fees
- Once permit has been printed: No refund; printing your permit confirms your reservation and must be done within 5 days of your trip start date from the My Reservations section of your recreation.gov account
- Once trip dates have started: No refund; if you are unable to make your trip, cancel your reservation in the My Reservations section of your recreation.gov account before your trip start date to be eligible for a refund
Directions to Campground
VEHICLE:Voyageurs National Park is approximately 5 hours north of Minneapolis-St. Paul on I-35 and Hwy 53, 3 hours north of Duluth on Hwy 53, and 4 hours south from Winnipeg, Manitoba. PLANE: Falls International Airport is located in International Falls, Minnesota. Taxi service and rental cars are available here. Most flights entering the area will pass through the larger Minneapolis-St. Paul airport located around 5 hours south of Voyageurs National Park.PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: There is no public transportation to Voyageurs National Park. No bus lines or passenger trains serve this area.