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Voyageurs: Maps & Routes

While the park provides an online overview map of the park, trip planning and navigation would be best served by more detailed maps produced by W. A. Fisher Maps and Publications and McKenzie Maps. Paddlers in Voyageurs generally gravitate toward the chain of “interior lakes” on the Kabetogama Peninsula, but Voyageurs is also a great place to enjoy some big water paddling on the historic voyageur route between Grand Portage and Lake Athabasca.

Some points of interest in the western region for planning a trip might include:

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Little American Island (on Rainy Lake)
In the summer of 1893, gold was discovered on Little American Island, which led to the Rainy Lake Gold Rush. Today you can discover the past while exploring the remains of mining activities on the island, including a 210-foot shaft along with machinery and adits (horizontal entrances leading into mines). Little American Island is located just north and west of the Voyageurs National Park boundary on Rainy Lake.

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Gold Portage and Hacksaw Pass day use site (Kabetogama Lake)
Gold Portage is a half-mile trail connecting Rainy Lake with Kabetogama Lake. Hikers, canoeists and kayakers can travel between the two lakes on this portage. The Kabetogama Lake end of the Gold Portage is an excellent place to begin an exploration of the west side of Kabetogama Lake. Visitors can picnic at the Hacksaw Pass day use site and explore Chief Woodenfrog’s Islands, both south of Gold Portage. Continue southwest to Tom Codd Bay to discover quiet, rocky wetlands and an abundance of wildlife. 

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Ellsworth Rock Gardens (Kabetogama Lake)
Imagine terraced flowerbeds and stone statuary in the midst of the wilderness. Jack Ellsworth, a Chicago contractor who spent summers on Kabetogama Lake from 1944 to 1965, created the Ellsworth Rock Gardens on a 60-foot granite outcrop. At its peak, the site grew to 62 flowerbeds with over 13,000 lilies blooming. As a visitor to the rock gardens today, you will see some of the original flowers Mr. Ellsworth planted along with the artistic stone sculptures.


Some points of interest in the central region for planning a trip might include:

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Kettle Falls (Rainy Lake and Namakan Lake)
Kettle Falls has been a portage area as long as people have used the boundary lakes for travel. The falls were well known to American Indians, early fur traders, explorers, gold miners, commercial fishermen, and loggers who had to portage around this transportation barrier when traveling between Namakan and Rainy lakes. Hotel accommodations were established at Kettle Falls in the 1890s and exist today; the only lodging available in the park.


Some points of interest in the eastern region for planning a trip might include:

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Grassy Bay Cliffs (Sand Point Lake)
Sheer granite cliffs rise 125 feet above the surface of Sand Point Lake and reach one of the highest points within Voyageurs National Park. Grassy Bay is an area rich in natural and cultural resources. The area provides examples of three reasons why the park was established: geologic features, outstanding scenery, and interconnected waterways. The bay and cliffs are accessible from Sand Point Lake on the far eastern edge of the park.

 

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