Hotels and Resorts
A night in Voyageurs’ historic Kettle Falls Hotel (12977 Chippewa Trl., 218/240-1726 or 218/875-2070 winter, www.kettlefallshotel.com, May–Sept., $60 rooms, $160 cabins) is a highlight for many park visitors. The 12 antiques-filled rooms in the main lodge share three baths, plus there are modern cabins that sleep up to six—the cabins usually require a three-day minimum stay. Canoes, kayaks, boats, and everything an angler could need is available, and a shuttle service runs from the mainland.
Dozens of other lodging options sit on the periphery of the park. The casual Thunderbird Lodge (2170 Co. Rd. 139, 218/286-3151 or 800/351-5133, www.thunderbirdrainylake.com, $89 lodge, $280 cabins), out near the tip of the peninsula, has great Rainy Lake views from most of its lakeside lodge rooms and cabins—during the summer cabin rentals require a three-day minimum stay. There is a marina with boat rental on-site, and all cabins have their own docks.
Kabetogama’s Arrowhead Lodge (10473 Waltz Rd., 218/875-2141 or 866/847-7118, www.arrowheadlodgeresort.com, $165/day and $945/week cabins, $35/person lodge rooms) is a simple, family-friendly fishing resort. The 10 cabins, several on the shore and all with at least some lake view, are centered on an atmospheric log lodge built around the 1920s, and its screened porch is a popular place to dine. They have a full-service marina (they’ll even clean your fish) and rent fishing boats, pontoons, canoes, and kayaks.
Sandy Point Lodge (10606 Gamma Rd., 218/875-2615 or 800/777-8595, www.sandypointlodge.com, $135/day and $620/week cabins, $95/day lodge rooms, $45/day RV campsites), out at the end of the road, is similar. They’ve got a sauna and sandy beach.
Ironically, the largest of the dozen resorts around Crane Lake is also one of the most peaceful. Nelson’s Resort (7632 Nelson Rd., 218/993-2295 or 800/433-0743, www.nelsonsresort.com, May–Sept., $1,100/week one-bedroom), family-run since 1931, has 28 classic log cabins along 1.5 miles of private lakeshore over on the quiet end of Crane Lake. Facilities include a wonderful swimming beach, hiking trail, sauna, shuffleboard, and a vegetable garden used to prepare the Thursday Swedish Smorgasbord ($20, open to the public) and other dinners.
The little Pine Ridge Motel (7258 Crane Lake Rd., 218/993-2265 or 888/310-4225, www.pineridgemotel.com, $69 rooms, $35/person three-bedroom cabin) is completely modern inside, but looking at the log exterior you can still imagine it as the trading post–fish shop–bar that it was back in the 1950s when this was still a truly wild corner of the country. There is also a bunkhouse (no shower, bring a sleeping bag and pillow, $16) with beds.
There is no single resort association for Voyageurs’ four gateways, so if you want additional lodging information contact the Crane Lake Visitor & Tourism Bureau (800/362-7405, www.visitcranelake.com), Ash River Trail Commercial Club (www.ashriver.com), Kabetogama Lake Association (800/524-9085, www.kabetogama.com), or International Falls Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (800/325-5766, www.rainylake.org).
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition