Winter Activities

The front of the Rainy Lake Visitor Center with a fresh coat of snow
Rainy Lake Visitor Center in winter.

NPS

Come Enjoy this Winter Wonderland!

Winter visitors enjoy the beauty of Voyageurs National Park by snowmobile, on cross country skis, in an auto on the ice road, on snowshoes, or in ice-fishing houses. Voyageurs invites visitors who want to get out of the cold to come to the Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

Be prepared for your adventure. Plan ahead and watch the weather. Here are tips for winter safety while snowmobiling, ice fishing, and enjoying all that winter has to offer.

 

Trail Conditions

Read the latest Winter Ice and Trail Conditions Report (Posted weekly during the winter months) for the most updated park ice and trail conditions. For additional area trail conditions, please visit:

Winter Trail Maps

Snowshoe & Cross Country Ski Trails

Explore the winter landscape by snowshoe, or enjoy the tranquility of cross country skiing across lakes and through forests in Voyageurs National Park. Visit our trails page to find which trails are accessible in the winter and plan your next adventure!

 
Pair of snowshoes in the snow

Don't Have Skis or Snowshoes?

Voyageurs National Park's Winter Equipment Rental Program offers a variety of winter equipment for rent from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, so that you can set off on your own adventure exploring our winter trails or frozen lakes.

  • Availability: Every Saturday & Sunday starting January 7
  • Cost: $10 per pair for adults / $5 for children 16 & under
  • Rental Reservations: On recreation.gov starting Jan 3
  • Snowshoes: Child and adult sizes available in a variety of traditional wooden styles
  • Cross Country Skis: We offer a variety of sizes in boots, skis, and poles to choose from. Visitor center staff can assist you in finding the right fit.

Due to overlap in adult/youth sizes, inventory in certain sizes of skis or snowshoes may be limited and is not guaranteed. Please call the Rainy Lake Visitor Center at (218) 286-5258 for on-site availability of specific sizes.

 
Rainy Lake Ice Road
Rainy Lake Ice Road

NPS

Ice Roads

The Rainy Lake Ice Road begins at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center boat launch.

The Kabetogama Lake Ice Road stretches between the boat launches of the Ash River and Kabetogama Lake Visitor Centers.

  • Be sure to check the park's most recent Winter Ice & Conditions Report before considering a trip onto the ice.
  • Routes vary year to year depending on conditions.
  • The ice road is open to cars and trucks of less than 7,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight. Snowmobiles are not permitted on the ice road.
  • The speed limit is 30 mph.
  • When heavy snow, slush, or thin ice exists, the ice road may be closed or shortened for safety. Travel beyond the plowed sections is unsafe.
  • Safety on the ice roads


Ice Fishing

Ghostly winter quiet, rugged piney shorelines, and outstanding angling make Voyageurs National Park an ice angler’s dream. Place icehouses at least 50-feet from the center of snowmobile trails and the ice road. Check ice conditions before going out. Fishing license and ice house registration is required.

 
Snowmobiling
A visitor snowmobiling across a land portage.

NPS

Snowmobiling

Snowmobiling is allowed on frozen lake surfaces and designated safety portages in Voyageurs National Park. The park provides 110 miles of staked and groomed trails for snowmobiling.

All land areas, including rock faces, are closed to snowmobiles with the exception of designated safety portages. Hill climbing is prohibited.

Obey all closure signs. Areas are closed to protect your safety and to protect sensitive resources.

Watch For:

  • Pressure ridges – they change the surface of the lake. Always stop and inspect ridge areas before crossing. Pressure ridges are marked with two crossed orange caution stakes on each side.
  • Slush and open water – avoid them by staying on staked and groomed trails.
 
Kids and adults playing at a sledding hill
Kids and grownups alike spend winter days playing at the Sphunge Island Sledding Hill

NPS Photo

Sledding Hill

A new addition to our winter activities is the Sphunge Island Sledding Hill. Take the Kabetogama-Ash River Ice Road from the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center just a short distance to a large plowed parking lot on the north side of the island. Visitors will find picnic tables and a fire ring at the bottom of the hill near the sledding hill parking lot. The sledding hill consists of a small hill for younger children and a larger hill for older children and adults. A skating rink on the ice is also maintained when conditions allow.

Last updated: December 21, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls , MN 56649

Phone:

(218)-283-6600

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