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A circumnavigation of the Kabetogama Peninsula is the ideal adventure to experience all that Voyageurs has to offer a paddler. Kayaking was made for areas such as Voyageurs National Park. Leaving from Woodenfrog State Campground on the shores of Lake Kabetogama, enjoy the island passages that guide you to "Gold Portage" and into the big water of Rainy Lake. A short portage (one of only two portages) gets you started in Black Bay a portion of Rainy Lake that is isolated by pine trees and a grassy shoreline.
The paddle down Rainy Lake is an adventure on its own as you spend 2-4 days paddling approx. 50 miles of shoreline and island passages where civilization returns with the sight of Kettle Falls Hotel. This historic hotel is only accessible by water, and once housed the ladies and booze that attracted the original logging camps and early settlers. A truck portage will shuttle your kayaks across the 1/3 mile portage for approx. $5 per boat (a fee that is well worth the trouble). Enjoy a warm bed, a beer, and good food if you want to rest or begin the return trip as you continue down Namakan Lake. The surrounding scenery of Namakan tends to be dramatic. Higher rock walls, and smaller passages is the reason this section is my favorite along the way. Spend 1-2 day paddling or enjoy yourself on a sanding beach for an extended trip. Namakan connects directly into Kabetogama without any portages, and it's here we see more tourists, but again passages and islands that seem to make you feel invisible from fisherman or motorboats. The paddle up Kabetogama to Woodenfrog State Campground will take an additional 2-day or one long paddle (approx. 16 miles)
The total distance is between 75-85 miles depending on routes taken, but should easily be handled in approx. one week of kayaking. I've had guest do it in 3 days when the wind is right and you want to move, but I suggest taking your time an enjoy the variety of subtle differences that account for the beauty of Voyageurs National Park! Whether you're a beginner or expert kayaker, the benefit of Voyageurs is the variety. A definite must on your destination list for paddlers!
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