Canoes & Kayaks at Lake of the Woods

Canoeing & Kayaking are great sports to enjoy the great outdoors and the fresh air it provides. Many people have mentioned how much more you can enjoy nature’s canoe lowsmells and sounds as you get out of your cars and let Mother Nature have her way to help you get the most out of her great attributes.

Lake of the Woods is known for its huge body of pristine waters but there are also other great areas to explore with smaller water crafts which you can also fish from. Some of those areas are the Rainy River, Baudette Bay, the Rapid River, Zippel Bay, the Winter Road River, Wabanica Creek, Bostic Bay and Silver Creek.

canoes and kayaks at lake of the woods

Sandy Shores of Lake of the Woods

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.

Canoes and Kayaks can launch at Baudette Bay which feeds into the Rainy River. Here the water is calm and often times clubs from the area host races in this wide expanse.  You can launch your canoe or kayak at Peace Park next to the Canadian Border Crossing or at Timbermill Park and travel along the shore of the Rainy.

kayaking 300x225 1Silver Creek is located east of Baudette on Hwy 11.  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. This short canoe or kayak jaunt travels about a mile up and down the creek, and is suitable for enjoying the birds, flowers, and wildlife.

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.  All of these routes are excellent for short paddles and not too much experience is required to navigate the waters.canoes and kayaks at Lake of the Woods

Now is the queen of canoe and kayak routes using the long paddle method. The Rapid River is a journey through beautiful forest areas and the canoe club has carved out great rest areas along the way. This canoe 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 trail-head 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.

Another incredible area to explore is the Northwest Angle which lies close to the Canadian Border.  The area offers dozens of islands, Garden Island State Park, Fort St. Charles and a small water experience due to the Angle Inlet and many islands.

Each year (with the exception of this year due to COVID – 19) an active group of teenagers and staff embark on the NW Angle and brave the waters of Little Traverse Bay and head to the islands for a week long adventure of canoeing and exploring.   It’s safety first with proper supervision, life preservers and safety gear.  As part of Laketrails Base Camp, fellowship and fun as well as meaningful conversations from the staff offer this experience of a lifetime! Nothing like a campfire, tenting and good friends and food while enjoying the incredible beauty of the shores of Lake of the Woods.

To learn more about Minnesota’s water trails, visit the DNR


For more information on Lake of the Woods and lodging see

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