Rainy Lake

International Falls, Minnesota 56649

Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake Professional Review and Guide

"Rainy Lake is a wild and scenic international waterway. More than a lake, it is an inland sea 60 miles long, 12 miles wide, and covering 350 square miles, with 2,500 miles of shoreline and 1,600 islands. The shoreline is wooded and rocky, and wooded islands are always in sight, jutting up from the deep blue water. From some of the bluffs and islands, the paddler can see the next day’s destination, 8 to 10 miles away. Rainy Lake has a capricious nature, mild and calm one minute, a white-water tempest the next. Danger, in the form of high winds and waves, is always a threat. It is safe enough, however, if the paddler stays close to shore, watches for the approach of storms or high winds, and is prepared to sit out windy days.

This route leads among the islands and bays of the south shore of the lake to Soldier Point, with a quick look at Saginaw Bay. A ghost town, gold mines, a point named after a military sortie, a fish camp, scenic bays, wildlife pastures, and a rookery can be seen. Fishing for walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass can be very successful. A short, 0.2-mile portage across Soldier Point is the only recommended portage, and it can be bypassed. Reverse the route to return to the put-in point. Lengthen the trip by continuing to Kettle Falls or beyond."

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Trail Information

International Falls
Nearby City
Skill Level
4 days; longer with "wind days," fishing days, and intensive exploring.
Class I
May through September, depending on weather
Voyageurs National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Soldier Point, Cranberry Bay, Island View
Local Maps