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      Permit arriving from V.N.P.? Paddling UP Rainy River?     
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member (12)member
07/24/2019 02:39PM
I'm planning a Voyageurs Route / Border Route trip, starting at Lake of the Woods.

Can anyone give me insight on paddling up the Rainy River? I've got lots of experience paddling up other rivers, but was wondering about lining/wading upstream past the rapids, and general current speed?

It would be nice to have my BWCA permit in hand before I even start the trip, but that appears to not be an option. Will I have to paddle into Crane Lake to pick up my permit?

Looking at starting the trip September 10.

Any other advice for paddling this route?


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distinguished member(7353)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
07/24/2019 05:43PM
If you are able otherwise, you could get a "from Canada" entry permit in advance. It does mean passports and such. I don't know your route, but Zups Resorts might be a possibility.

I've wanted to do Grand Portage to LOTW, so I'm interested to hear your experience. Camping west of International Falls is slim pickings from what I've found and maybe two nights between LOTW and International Falls? Also, Voyagers now requires specific site reservations, so it can be a challenge.

Can't wait to hear.
distinguished member(621)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/24/2019 09:27PM
Years ago I was contemplating a repeat of a Rainy to Grand Portage trip I had done in 1968, before the current permit system was established. I contacted the Superior National Forest Supervisors Office and got a nice note back from the Supervisor herself saying they could accommodate my getting a permit well in advance of my entry. Its a special request, so you need to deal with the folks in the Supervisors Office.

The difficulty with your itinerary is planning out campsites in VNP. I would give yourself lots of room for weather related delays both in the approach and camp to camp. If you have a blustery day, the wind usually drops in the evening and you can make ten miles before dark. I would plan camps pretty close together, 10-12 miles and plan to spend some time fishing if you get there easily.

The upstream run has a couple of rapids, Long Sault and Manitou. Poles might be useful in Long Sault, looks like you could portage Manitou pretty easy. The dam in IF is portagable down 2nd street around the paper mill. The Voyageur NP headquarters is right there on the river. I imagine you could book your campsites there, taking whatever is available. I don't know how busy those campsites are.

I have no idea of time. I would suggest going up and spending a day scouting the river and paddling in the current to figure this out.

A good adventure for sure!
member (12)member
07/25/2019 08:07PM
Thank you for the ideas Bill. It's about 80 miles between Lake of the Woods and International Falls, and since I'm just getting in shape and paddling upstream, I'm planning on camping four nights on that stretch. I'll have to doing some winging it on selecting camp sites it appears.
member (12)member
07/25/2019 08:12PM
sedges: "Years ago I was contemplating a repeat of a Rainy to Grand Portage trip I had done in 1968, before the current permit system was established...

An historic trip! Must have been fun. Nice when there are less people and minimal red tape, but it will still be a good adventure nowadays, no doubt.

Thanks for all the other thoughts as well. I didn't realize the VNP office was so handy to the river. I'm guessing starting to paddle at first light can be helpful in the BWCA when wind is being an issue?
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