Come out and drive to the end of the Rainy Lake Ice Road. For the first time in several years, ice conditions have allowed the ice road to extend all the way to the mouth of Cranberry Bay. From the Rainy Lake Visitor Center to the mouth of Cranberry Bay is seven miles, one-way. The road follows the purple snowmobile trail along Rainy Lake’s Inside Channel and meanders its way between the many islands. When returning from Cranberry Bay, make the loop around Dryweed Island, now complete.
Cranberry Bay is a great location to leave your vehicle and experience winter in the park. Have a snowmobile? You can pick up the purple trail a short distance from the Cranberry Bay parking lot. Like to ice fish? Search out an old hot spot for ice fishing, now more accessible than in past years.
Don’t have snowshoes or skis of your own? Borrow some for the day at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, free of charge, though donations are welcome. At the end of the Rainy Lake Ice Road at Cranberry Bay, snowshoe around the islands and north shore of the Kabetogama peninsula. As Rainy Lake slowly froze, waves splashing against north facing shoreline created intricate ice formations against the rocks and trees.
For a longer adventure, trek east across the mouth of the bay and visit the Harry Oveson Fish Camp (about two miles one-way from the Cranberry Bay parking lot). Bring a map and prepare for any weather. Built in 1959, this location preserves the commercial fishing legacy of the region, and visitors can wander amid Harry’s ice house, fish house and two-roomed home. Winter in a place like Harry Oveson Fish Camp reminds us of the people who worked the land, enjoyed the land, and called this place home across different seasons.
This winter, Cranberry Bay is one of many places open for all to experience. Whether by car, snowmobile, or snowshoe, get outside and search for that ray of winter sunshine which illuminates the snow-covered landscape in a whole new way.
The most up to date winter trail conditions are available at www.nps.gov/voya.
Pressure ridges, places lake ice has buckled or heaved due to winds or currents, have developed both on and off designated snowmobile trails within Voyageurs National Park. Pressure ridges can raise, lower, widen, and develop into open water or pockets of deep slush, sometimes becoming a hazard within a few hours. Snowmobilers have reported riding a smooth trail during the day only to find a raised ice ridge, deep slush, or other hazard along the same trail a few hours later. Trails are rerouted as hazards are found, but visitors are encouraged to check each pressure ridge prior to crossing due to changing conditions.
- International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
- Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
- Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
- Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
- Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
- East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) – Open, staked, and groomed
- Rainy Lake Ice Road – Open to Cranberry Bay and around Dryweed Island
- Kabetogama Lake Ice Road – Open
- Echo Bay Ski Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
- Black Bay Ski Trail – Open, packed, and tracked – Pine Loop rocky in places.
- Tilson Connector Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
- KabAsh Trail – Open
- Black Bay Beaver Pond Trail – Open, not packed
- Blind Ash Bay Trail – Open, not packed
- Oberholtzer Trail – Open, not packed
- Sullivan Bay Trail – Open, not packed
“STAKED TRAILS MAKE SAFETY SENSE”
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