Voyageurs National Park Winter Ice & Trail Conditions Report - Jan. 7, 2014

VOYA_Snowshoeing_2013_FamilyRecent snowfall has allowed for good progress on opening trails throughout the park. Use caution off trail; ice ridges have been active, and high winds over the past few days have created snowdrifts, currently soft, on the lake surface. Some snowmobile trails still remain closed, but progress is moving quickly to open them as ice conditions allow. The Rainy Lake Ice Road is now open from the visitor center to Cranberry Bay, and around portions of Dryweed Island. The Kabetogama Lake Ice Road is now open from the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center Boat Launch to the Ash River Visitor Center Boat Launch. Ski trails are open, packed, and tracked. Snowshoe trails are open, but not packed.

Please remember the snowmobile speed limit within the park is 45 mph on frozen lake surfaces and 25 mph on all overland portages. Speed limit signs are posted at trailheads and portages. The speed limit for the ice road is 30 mph.

When ice fishing, please remember holes must be drilled at least 50 feet from ice roads and snowmobile trails.

The Rainy Lake Visitor Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. During business hours, the visitor center offers maps, information, and hot cocoa. Snowshoe and cross-country skis loans have started for the season.

The most up to date winter trail conditions are available at

Snowmobile Trails

  • International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) – Closed
  • Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) – Open and staked
  • Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) – Open and staked
  • Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) – Closed
  • Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) – Open and staked
  • East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) – Closed

Ice Roads

  • Rainy Lake Ice Road - Open to Cranberry Bay, and around portions of Dryweed Island
  • Kabetogama Lake Ice Road - Open

Ski Trails

  • Echo Bay Ski Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
  • Black Bay Ski Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
  • Tilson Connector Trail – Open, packed, and tracked
  • KabAsh Trail – Open

Snowshoe Trails

  • 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



Teen Ambassadors Return from Paddling Voyageurs

Our national parks are outstanding outdoor classrooms that allow students of all ages to make lasting connections to our natural world. DSCN0013This July, Voyageurs National Park Association worked with the National Park Service and Wilderness Inquiry to send 16 National Park Teen Ambassadors to Voyageurs for a five-day learning expedition.

Most of these young people, who are from the Twin Cities and communities near the park, had never had the opportunity to paddle, camp, or visit the park before.

They had so much fun, gained great confidence, and returned home excited to share their stories and their love of this incredible place. It’s amazing to see how the experience enriched their lives – and it’s our hope that among this group may be the park stewards of the future.

10550185_686425187615_586935509640826770_oVoyageurs is best experienced on the water, and these teens spent many days on or in it. Whether paddling to their campsite or to see a giant floating bog, the large Wilderness Inquiry canoes were their primary mode of transportation, not unlike the park's namesake Voyageur canoes hundreds of years ago.

And while their days were busy meeting park staff and exploring, back at camp, time was always left for a dip in Kabetogama Lake at the end of the day.

As Ranger Melissa Carlson observed, "I 10547870_686425482025_1038371927999178198_oenjoyed hearing about their evenings in camp. They heard loons and owls calling, went swimming, played games, star gazed, and even had a black bear visit camp. Watching this group of strangers come together over the week and see them head home with new friends and great memories was inspiring. The power of nature and being unplugged is undeniable."

Exploring the park was just part of the experience. The teens were able to connect with each other as well. "Some of the people I met, they were pretty extraordinary. And the things we did in camp, like the games and everything," said Angel Anderson.

10628639_686426185615_2640974334899507308_o"It's fun and you get to meet interesting people from all over the state and you get to watch the pretty view and scenery and you get to see animals," said Maly Lee.

To be successful for years to come, we know that it is crucial to engage young people in our National Parks. We want to be sure that young people from Minnesota who have never had the opportunity to paddle, camp, or explore our park have the chance to do so.

This program is made possible by the generosity of our program partners and supporters. You can help, by making a gift to support the Teen Ambassador program.

Thank you!

Click here to see more photos from the 2014 Teen Ambassador trip.

Contact our office to learn more about this program at or calling 612-333-5424 (or sign up for our email newsletter.) We'll let you know when we are recruiting students for next summer's program.