When you visit Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota, you’re going to want to ditch the car. The stunning 218,000-acre park — with more than 500 islands and 655 miles of pristine shoreline – is best explored by boat. But what if you don’t want to bring (or rent) a boat yet still want to experience Voyageur’s scenery of rugged, pine-covered shorelines and bountiful wildlife? No worries – the park staff has you covered!
You can enjoy this watery wonderland aboard a tour boat offered by the park. With Voyageurs staff member as guides, you’ll experience incredible views of forests, rock outcroppings and secluded islands while hearing captivating stories of the park’s past. And if you visit in the next month or so, the fall foliage will begin standing out amid the evergreens, their reflection on the water providing twice the color.
Depending on which visitor center you leave from, the park has two tour boats to choose from, each of which travels on different lakes. The “Voyageur” cruises on Rainy Lake and the brand new “Ne-zho-dain” on Kabetogama and Namakan Lakes. The 32-passenger Ne-zho-dain debuted this summer and features trips to areas only accessible from the water, like Kettle Falls and the whimsical Ellsworth Rock Gardens. Visitors can view the park’s wildlife, geology, and scenery from an enclosed cabin or an open-air deck. The new tour boat was named after Chief Ne-zho-dain, a a local indigenous leader who was reported to be the last known Ojibwe survivor of an infamous 1842 battle with the Cut Foot Sioux.
Both of the park’s tour boats are fully accessible. If weather conditions permit, they will operate during the first part of autumn before shutting down for winter. So if you can’t make it to the park right now, be sure to book a spring or summer tour next year. Tickets can be booked online here.