3131 State Hwy. 53, International Falls, Minnesota
The trappers and traders who canoed the waters of this scenic wilderness in the 1700s would be surprised to know that their legacy is not in furs or dollars but in a 218,000-acre park named in their memory. Within the bounds of the park are countless streams and ponds and more than 30 lakes, interspersed by islands of bog, marsh, meadow, and forest, forming many hundreds of miles of waterways. The main way to see the entire area up close is by boat in the summer and snowmobile in the winter. The park plows a seven-mile ice road for vehicles. Fifty miles of hiking trails are maintained, of which 171/2 miles are accessible only by water. There are also more than 120 campsites, 78 houseboat sites, and many day-use sites available.
Wildlife abounds here. Black bears are common, and the park is home to about 40 timber wolves. Beavers and white-tailed deer are also plentiful, and moose are sometimes seen. Among the birds that nest here are loons, eagles, and great blue herons.
From both Rainy Lake and Kabetogama Lake visitors centers park naturalists lead guided canoe trips, providing canoes, life jackets, and instructions. Tour-boat trips are also available on both lakes. Fishing is allowed throughout the park, and catches include black crappies, lake trout, muskellunge, northern pike, rock bass, and walleye. Several fine beaches offer excellent swimming.
During the winter snowmobiling, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are popular.
Open year-round. Fee for boat rentals and guided trips. Free overnight-use permits required for overnight camping.