Boating & Canoeing
The Edge of the Wilderness Area is home to hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of lakes and several rivers. So it’s not surprising that most vacationers and area residents alike love to spend as much time as possible on the water - be it fishing, boating, waterskiing, tubing, canoeing, and pontoon riding. The brilliance of the Northwoods sunsets, the wilderness islands, unique shorelines, and spectacular waterfowl and wildlife take on a whole new look when viewed from a fishing boat, pontoon, cutty or runabout. Bring your own boat or rent one here - just make sure you get out on the water.
Back in the days of the late 18th Century and up to the middle of the 19th Century, the wilds of what would later become the Edge of the Wilderness Area were virtually uncharted. There were no roads, few trails and a trip over land was extremely difficult if not impossible. Back then, Indians and fur traders traversed the area’s wilderness riverways and lakes in sleek birchbark canoes. These canoes were light, easy to handle in currents and capable of turning quickly and sharply, yet were durable enough to withstand the elements and carry a large cargo. Today you can experience the same beauty and excitement when you canoe the Edge! Paddle your canoe down a pine-fringed river, across a sunset-lit lake or ride the whitewater rapids: our rivers and lakes come in all shapes and sizes and offer great adventure for beginners and experts alike.
Canoe Trips in Itasca County
Itasca County is an idyllic destination for canoeing enthusiasts.
The Big Fork River flows north to the Rainy river. Most of the river is easy to canoe with several areas of Class I rapids. There are two spectacular water falls that need to be portaged by all but the most experienced paddlers: Little American Falls (Class III-IV) and Big Falls (Class IV-VI).
From Cass Lake to the Vermillion River, this segment of the river consists mostly of marshlands. The area has a rich history and provides great opportunities for viewing wildlife. Paddling skills for marshy areas and for making sharp turns are needed for this stretch of the river but no special skills for paddling through rapids are required. This part of the river is among its first 420 miles which is denoted as the Mississippi Headwaters River Trail.
Recreational canoe enthusiasts enjoy the Prairie River. Much of this stream is located in Savanna State Forest which was once part of an important portage route during fur trade era.
The Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center in Marcell, MN rentas canoes, kayaks, paddles, and life jackets for use on Ranier Lake. For rates and reservations call 218-832-3161.
God’s Country Outfitters located on Highway 38 north of Grand Rapids rents canoes, paddles, life jackets and car-top canoe carriers by the day, 3-days and full week. For rates and reservations call 218-326-9866.