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About Voyageurs National Park

Where your voyageurs adventures beings

Voyageurs National Park has thousands of acres of land and water on the southern edge of the Great Canadian Shield — a geological area formed by huge, slowly moving sheets of ice, at times two miles thick. As they advanced and retreated several times, they obliterated the landscape that existed and left behind some of the oldest rock formations on the surface of the earth. The depressions gouged out by the glaciers formed the lakes and the riverbeds that would eventually become the voyageur's highway.

Ash River Trail is the central entrance to Voyageurs National Park, an area made famous by the legendary French-Canadian fur traders that paddled a route between Lake Superior and Lake of the Woods in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This route eventually established the international border between the United States and Canada. Today, Voyageurs National Park encompasses a 56-mile portion of the voyageur's water highway that our visitors can follow, but without the hardships encountered by the tough hardy water travelers of the past. In 1893, the cry of "gold" rang out across Little American Island on Rainy Lake and would-be prospectors poured into the wilderness of the Ojibwa and the voyageur's. Many arrived on foot from what was then the railroad terminus at Tower, 100 miles to the southeast. That winter they traveled over the ice of Lake Vermilion, Pelican and finally down the Ash River to Kabetogama.

Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park

This gold rush was short lived but the riches of the pine forest soon brought a new breed of prospector, and the Ash River once again became a thoroughfare. Along it's banks a railroad spur was built to haul millions of board feet of timber from Namakan's Hoist Bay out to the main line.

Voyageurs, prospectors, and big logging camps are now history, but the Ash River Trail, built on the old logging railroad bed has become a small resort community at the end of County Road 129 which winds through a dense forest and bog. Here the wing dam and pilings from the old railroad bridge that once crossed the Ash River are still visible.

Voyageurs National Park

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