The historic Rainy River is the original “Voyageur’s Highway,” which linked the entire Great Lakes area with the northern waterways of Canada. Lake of the Woods hosted early trading posts in the 1700’s and is still the living legacy for this era. Getting out on the water is a great way to experience all of the history and nature Lake of the Woods has to offer.

Here are a few suggestions:

Short Paddles

Explore Baudette Bay right in the heart of Baudette. You can start from Peace Park or Timber Mill Park for a relaxing paddle around the bay.

Zippel Bay offers a lot of good wildlife viewing due to its marshy environment right on Lake of the Woods. The best access for Zippel Bay is at Zippel Bay State Park.

Silver Creek – This short jaunt, about a mile up and down the creek, is suitable for enjoying the birds, flowers, and wildlife. To access Silver Creek, go east of the Hwy. 11 – 72 junction for 3.6 miles, turn south 0.4 miles, and then turn east for 0.3 miles. Put in at an old bridge crossing. Paddle in the early spring, and you’ll likely see a lot of waterfowl. Water levels may get low in late summer, so inquire locally.

Winter Road River – Turn north on Hwy 172, then west on Cty. Rd 88/4th ST. NW. Put in 2.5 miles west of Hwy 172 at the bridge. This is about a 3 mile trip with lots of opportunities to view wildlife and waterfowl, especially in the spring. Take out at the public water access at Hwy 172.

Wabanica Creek – Put in right behind Wabanica Lutheran Church, located east of Hwy 172. This is a short, 2-3 mile trip up and back the Wabanica Creek. The creek forks, so you have a couple of routes to explore.

Longer Paddles

The Rapid River Canoe Route covers approximately 50 miles of one of the Rainy River’s major tributaries – the Rapid River. The sections designated as the Rapid River Canoe and Kayak Route cover 33 river miles with a few small riffles and Class I rapids. Beginning at the trailhead and paddling to the trail end takes 8 to 12 hours under optimal water levels. The narrow, winding waterway is perfect for short canoes and smaller recreational kayaks.


2-day trip down the Rainy River – Imagine what it was like to travel the water highways like the voyageurs. Put in at the public access just east of Pelland Junction, where Hwy 11 and Hwy 71 come together. Follow the waterway downstream 31 miles to Franz Jevne State Park. Camp overnight and paddle 28 miles to Baudette the next day, or linger awhile longer to enjoy the hiking offered at the park. Wind can be a factor on the Rainy River, particularly if it is from a northerly through westerly direction.

Kayaks and canoes can be rented locally from Zippel Bay Resort and Zippel Bay State Park has canoe rental as well.

The Northwest Angle, Zippel Bay State Park, other tributaries of the Rainy River, and the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area, are all other wonderful areas for a serene canoeing getaway.

There is also a River Runners Canoe and Kayak Club based in Baudette. Be sure to ask about their group activities when planning your next adventure!

To order additional information, Click Here or call 1-800-382-FISH. To learn more about Minnesota’s water trails, visit the DNR website http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/index.html.

To order additional information Click Here or call 1-800-382-FISH.

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