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Things to see and do around Rainy Lake, Minnesota

Updated on March 6, 2015

Rainy Lake offers Four Seasons of Fun!

Suggestions and photos of things to see and do around Rainy Lake, Minnesota, this is your source for information to help you enjoy a visit to Rainy Lake, International Falls and Koochiching County.

The photo is from the Ranier Summer Festival, here kids ride the "Ranier Train" through town as part of the annual parade. The festival usually signals that summer is coming to an end and fall will soon offer displays of brilliant color. Fall also offers small game hunting and good fishing as walleye, crappie, northern pike and smallmouth bass all feed heavily to prepare for winter.

Summers are great in our area, with temps in the 70's and abundant sunshine. Voyageurs National Park boat tours offer trips to the historic gold mine districts, likely areas to spot wildlife and to the remote and historic Kettle Falls Hotel. There are trails to hike, bike or ride an ATV, photos to take and things to do.

Winter offers ice fishing, snowmobilihng, cross country skiing and more. Voyageurs National Park even makes snow shoes available to get out and enjoy nature. The landscape changes as a blanket of snow covers the ground and ice forms offering travel on the lake surfaces.

Spring brings special border waters regulations that allow for the latest ice fishing and earliest open water fishing in the state. Snowmelt causes our waterfalls and rapids to thunder with spectacular outflows. Watching the forest green up brings some beautiful and sometimes subtle hues to the forest.

Start scrolling down and learn more about International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake, Minnesota's Vacation Paradise.

spring flowers near Rainy Lake, International Falls, Minnesota
spring flowers near Rainy Lake, International Falls, Minnesota

Time Travel???? (E = mc2)

This lens was created by adding new photos and information through a couple of seasons, so you are traveling back in time. You'll see fun events, places to go and things to do throughout the seasons. If you enjoy the trip, I appreciate hearing your comments. To contact me directly, the email is cvb@rainylake.org

As the saying goes, April showers bring.....

Here, shrubs along the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic byway are sprouting out in May of 2012. Incidentally, the scenic byway starts at Sha Sha point on Rainy Lake. The sign says "end of the road" but the signmakers are mistaken, it is the beginning!

Ranier Festival Photos - click to enlarge and rotate.

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Official events start with the "Dog Parade" here a volunteer is walking a dog in need of an owner.Otherwise, owners walk their charges, often wearing costumes....the dog that is.Willburr serves weiners for a free will donation to the pound.Color Guard leads off the regular parade.Here's a classic truckHere's a group of '55 Chevies.The Barrel train heading south.
Official events start with the "Dog Parade" here a volunteer is walking a dog in need of an owner.
Official events start with the "Dog Parade" here a volunteer is walking a dog in need of an owner.
Otherwise, owners walk their charges, often wearing costumes....the dog that is.
Otherwise, owners walk their charges, often wearing costumes....the dog that is.
Willburr serves weiners for a free will donation to the pound.
Willburr serves weiners for a free will donation to the pound.
Color Guard leads off the regular parade.
Color Guard leads off the regular parade.
Here's a classic truck
Here's a classic truck
Here's a group of '55 Chevies.
Here's a group of '55 Chevies.
The Barrel train heading south.
The Barrel train heading south.
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Big Business?

It takes some time to negotiate the 90 degree corner with one of these! These are blades for wind turbines heading for Canada, at other times, parts of the towers that support these blades also cross. They are HUGE, and it takes a team of workers to herd them through the border. The rear wheels, by the way, can be remotely operated. On this day, three truckloads of turbine blades lined up before crossing into Canada.

4th of July, International Falls - click to enlarge and rotate

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Color Guard leads the parade!Pipers are always PopularSeveral riders show off their bikes.Int'l Falls Mayor Shawn Mason and Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis re-enact the International Tug of War held July 2nd, 2011....team Canada won.Shriners buzz around on go carts dressed up as canoesAntique Fire Truck
Color Guard leads the parade!
Color Guard leads the parade!
Pipers are always Popular
Pipers are always Popular
Several riders show off their bikes.
Several riders show off their bikes.
Int'l Falls Mayor Shawn Mason and Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis re-enact the International Tug of War held July 2nd, 2011....team Canada won.
Int'l Falls Mayor Shawn Mason and Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis re-enact the International Tug of War held July 2nd, 2011....team Canada won.
Shriners buzz around on go carts dressed up as canoes
Shriners buzz around on go carts dressed up as canoes
Antique Fire Truck
Antique Fire Truck

International Tug of War 2014

Couldn't pull it off!

Pulling for Peace 2014

The annual tug of war had to be cancelled due to high water. The flooding covered areas where the teams would have to line-up on the rope and that was deemed unsafe. The US won the trophy in 2013. The Rainy River was declared the winner for 2014 and the next event will be on July 2, 2015. It's a fun event in between Canada Day and Independence Day, plan a visit to take in all the fun in that 4 day stretch.

Pulling for Peace! - Fun Photos

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Pull! The Canadians pulled a little harder and won the 2011 event. This is becoming a quite popular event, with a rope stretched over the international border and teams from the US and Canada doing their best to best the other team. Yes, that's "BencUS Team Captain Matt BlairRaising the FlagThe PrizeStretching the rope over Rainy River
Pull! The Canadians pulled a little harder and won the 2011 event. This is becoming a quite popular event, with a rope stretched over the international border and teams from the US and Canada doing their best to best the other team. Yes, that's "Benc
Pull! The Canadians pulled a little harder and won the 2011 event. This is becoming a quite popular event, with a rope stretched over the international border and teams from the US and Canada doing their best to best the other team. Yes, that's "Benc
US Team Captain Matt Blair
US Team Captain Matt Blair
Raising the Flag
Raising the Flag
The Prize
The Prize
Stretching the rope over Rainy River
Stretching the rope over Rainy River
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Jaunt with Jim!

Some 120 bikers descend on the area!

Jim Klobuchar, a Minnesota celebrity, leads a bike tour somewhere in the state each summer, and in 2011 chose to have their lay-over and recreation day in International Falls. Bikers camped in Smokey Bear Park, took boat tours of Voyageurs National Park, toured the Boise Paper mill, checked out our local eateries and of course, biked around the area.

The group truly enjoyed their visit, which coincided with our Chamber's annual Crazy Days promotion and "Music in the Parks" so there was plenty of live entertainment for them. Many said they planned to return with their families for a more extended visit.

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Field and Stream

The May 2011 issue of Field and Stream carries a full page on International Falls and Rainy Lake, explaining why the area is a fishing hot spot, and a fun place to visit. It is on page 44 if you'd like to check it out. I'd put a link here to take you to the info on the Field and Stream website, but it doesn't appear to be posted there. Go figure! At any rate, it's a nice article.

Snowshoe fun photos - click to enlarge and rotate

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Ron Wilcox breaking trail...okay, so I was ahead of him.Fluffed out Grouse, how cool (warm) is that!Berta coming up the trail from Rainy Lake.View of Black BayPhew, that was a workout and probably good for all of us.
Ron Wilcox breaking trail...okay, so I was ahead of him.
Ron Wilcox breaking trail...okay, so I was ahead of him.
Fluffed out Grouse, how cool (warm) is that!
Fluffed out Grouse, how cool (warm) is that!
Berta coming up the trail from Rainy Lake.
Berta coming up the trail from Rainy Lake.
View of Black Bay
View of Black Bay
Phew, that was a workout and probably good for all of us.
Phew, that was a workout and probably good for all of us.

Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run - Icebox Days-click to enlarge and rotate.

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Five sisters make up a team of Runners for the 31st Annual Race, and they dress for the occasion.The start of the Race,The end of the race.The effect of the race.Kids pose after creating snow sculptures in Smokey Bear ParkNew to the events this year, ice carvings, using blocks of ice harvested from Rainy Lake.Kids having fun.Frosty Morn'tracks in the snowfrosty trees
Five sisters make up a team of Runners for the 31st Annual Race, and they dress for the occasion.
Five sisters make up a team of Runners for the 31st Annual Race, and they dress for the occasion.
The start of the Race,
The start of the Race,
The end of the race.
The end of the race.
The effect of the race.
The effect of the race.
Kids pose after creating snow sculptures in Smokey Bear Park
Kids pose after creating snow sculptures in Smokey Bear Park
New to the events this year, ice carvings, using blocks of ice harvested from Rainy Lake.
New to the events this year, ice carvings, using blocks of ice harvested from Rainy Lake.
Kids having fun.
Kids having fun.
Frosty Morn'
Frosty Morn'
tracks in the snow
tracks in the snow
frosty trees
frosty trees

Photo Essay-Fall - click to enlarge and rotate.

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Whitetail Deer brazenly browse on the edge of town.Oak add an interesting layer of color.Forestry roads provide some great fall color tours.A serene little lake.Prototype Port-a-potty?Waterfowl count on lowland waters in their migration routes.A sure sign of fall.Looking down the "Lost 40" trail toward the Minnesota Champion Red Pine.Soft green moss helps temper some of the fiery colors of fall.The first snow of the season, ironically, the pins were still in the greens at our local golf course.
Whitetail Deer brazenly browse on the edge of town.
Whitetail Deer brazenly browse on the edge of town.
Oak add an interesting layer of color.
Oak add an interesting layer of color.
Forestry roads provide some great fall color tours.
Forestry roads provide some great fall color tours.
A serene little lake.
A serene little lake.
Prototype Port-a-potty?
Prototype Port-a-potty?
Waterfowl count on lowland waters in their migration routes.
Waterfowl count on lowland waters in their migration routes.
A sure sign of fall.
A sure sign of fall.
Looking down the "Lost 40" trail toward the Minnesota Champion Red Pine.
Looking down the "Lost 40" trail toward the Minnesota Champion Red Pine.
Soft green moss helps temper some of the fiery colors of fall.
Soft green moss helps temper some of the fiery colors of fall.
The first snow of the season, ironically, the pins were still in the greens at our local golf course.
The first snow of the season, ironically, the pins were still in the greens at our local golf course.

School days are back! - International Falls Schools, click to enlarge.

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Falls High SchoolWest End Elementary SchoolRainy River Community Collegequirky artAdmin Building, RRCCBronco ArenaFalls Elementary SchoolOld Forestland Building (former Elementary school)Backus Community Center (former Junior High School)St. Thomas Aquinas School
Falls High School
Falls High School
West End Elementary School
West End Elementary School
Rainy River Community College
Rainy River Community College
quirky art
quirky art
Admin Building, RRCC
Admin Building, RRCC
Bronco Arena
Bronco Arena
Falls Elementary School
Falls Elementary School
Old Forestland Building (former Elementary school)
Old Forestland Building (former Elementary school)
Backus Community Center (former Junior High School)
Backus Community Center (former Junior High School)
St. Thomas Aquinas School
St. Thomas Aquinas School

A little history footnote

In the photos above, you will find all the International Falls area schools including Rainy River Community College. There are also two former school buildings that have been adapted to other uses. The former Forestland Elementary School is now a Koochiching County office building. The former E.W. Backus Junior High School is now a community center housing the art deco Backus Auditorium.

The Backus building is named for Edward Wellington Backus, the man who developed International Falls around the turn of the century. Backus constructed a dam to harness the tremendous amount of water rushing from the Rainy Lake watershed toward Hudson's Bay. The volume of the Rainy River at International Falls is the same as the volume of the Mississippi River at Minneapolis. The dam was constructed in 1909 and soon, paper mills on either side of the river sprung up. The Minnesota and Ontario (Mando) Paper Company in International Falls and the Ontario and Minnesota (O & M ) mill in Fort Frances. If you walk across the bridge between International Falls and Fort Frances, you get a clear idea of just how much water is rushing downstream, and if you look, you will see water swirling around some of the rock that made the falls.

St. Thomas Aquinas Church was constructed with rock quarried from the falls during construction of the dam. In the photo below, the building is a little dark because of the bright back light from the sun, but that is made up for in the effect of the sun behind the steeple.

St. Thomas Church

St. Thomas Church
St. Thomas Church
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International Falls Bass Championship

August brings the International Falls Bass Championship, which is always a great event. The big tent fills every day for entertainment and the weigh-ins. 60 teams fish Rainy River and Rainy Lake for a day each, then combine the total weight of their catches. There are car shows, kids games, vendors, daytime and evening entertainment and more. If you'd like all the information, just go to their website at www.ifallsbass.com

100 years of paper making

Boise Cascade's paper mill is a centurian!

It started as the Minnesota and Ontario Paper Company back in 1910 and today boasts one of the largest and fastest paper making machines in the world. Celebrations were held Friday, June 25, 2010 at Smokey Bear Park. Speaking of Smokey Bear, he donned a safety vest and hard hat for the occasion.

Safety First Smokey

Safety First Smokey
Safety First Smokey
Kuttes
Kuttes

A Busload of Fun!

The North Dakota Farmers Union scheduled three mystery tours to see some of what our Rainy Lake area is like. Traveling here, the group came along the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway. The tour includes checking out Koochiching County with a drive to Littlefork and Lindford, then past the Grand Mounds and back to the Falls. Then it's off to the Koochiching Museums for a tour of the history and Bronko Nagurski exhibits.

Take a Hike!

Take a Hike!
Take a Hike!
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Mystery Tour?

They call this a mystery tour because the participants are not told where they are going or what they will see. The tour takes them through Ranier and along the south shore of Rainy Lake to the Thunderbird, where everyone enjoys lunch and the spectacular view. You simply have to drive to the end of the road (I like to think it's the beginning of the road) after that. A stop at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center for Voyageurs National Park includes a short walk on the Oberholtzer Nature Trail with a park naturalist. The tour then heads back to International Falls. All along the way, the groups hear about the recreation, history and industry of our area. The trips have been great fun.

McKinstry Mound I

McKinstry Mound I
McKinstry Mound I

Wait, let me ask......

Is this all new to you? are you on a mystery tour?

How familiar are you with Rainy lake?

See results
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Places to Go!

Koochiching County allows ATV travel on county roads. You can ride your ATV to visit interesting spots like the Flowing Well. You could ride the old BN line from the southwest corner of Koochiching County to International Falls and any of the small communities in between!

float plane at the seaplane dock in International Falls.
float plane at the seaplane dock in International Falls.

See Plane?

It is not unusual for float planes to carry people between our area lakes, which sometimes involves international travel. The seaplane dock is adjacent to a remote reporting station for U.S. Customs to allow for travel from Canada to the U.S. by float plane. For what it's worth, perhaps the best known and most popular airplane floats were originally manufactured in International Falls by Pee Kay Products.

MD & W Switching engine.
MD & W Switching engine.

Minnesota, Dakota and Western

Railroad Buffs have commented on the switching engines used by our local railroad, pictured is a newer one with a fresh paint job. There are some that were made by the American Locomotive Company in the 1940s that the railroad set gets excited about. They are apparently somewhat rare, and clearly made to last. Some comment on the whistling sound of the diesels winding up, which is apparent music to their ears.

Winter is for ice fishing! - click to enlarge and rotate

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CBS goes LIVE

Below zero temperatures attract attention.

CBS came to International Falls during a nationwide cold spell that brought freezing temperatures to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Here you see Dave Price and Robert Laforty posing for a photo after braving the cold for about 2 hours during the live shot.

See the link below....see what Dave had to say.

We get national attention!

Check out this link!

Catch a Big One!

Catch a Big One!
Catch a Big One!

Holy Cow! as we might say around here.

Brad Hagen caught this 46" 30 pound northern pike while ice fishing on Rainy Lake. Naturally, we couldn't possibly tell you where, and you'll even have to guess about the rigging or bait. However, this photo does clearly show it's possible to pull in some monster fish.

It's true what they say: "If you are not the lead dog, the scenery never changes."

Dog Sled Exploring!

Dog Sled Exploring!
Dog Sled Exploring!
Bull Moose is Voyageurs National Park.
Bull Moose is Voyageurs National Park.

There is Moose! Where is Squirrel?

Voyageurs National Park began research on the resident Moose population in 2010 with on-going research to continue. Moose tend to be in wet, swampy areas where most people seldom venture, but they can be spotted. The research should provide more insight into the long-term viability of the moose population.

The photo is of a resident VNP bull moose and provided here courtesy of Voyageurs National Park.

Tilson Bay Ski Trail

Tilson Bay Ski Trail
Tilson Bay Ski Trail

More Icebox Days photos - Click to enlarge and rotate

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Ice Sculptures-Smokey Bear parkIce Sculpture-Smokey Bear ParkI'd run too!ready to start the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard RunRace UnderwayMore racersWinners!Boot Hockey TournamentTurkey BowlingSmoosh Racing
Ice Sculptures-Smokey Bear park
Ice Sculptures-Smokey Bear park
Ice Sculpture-Smokey Bear Park
Ice Sculpture-Smokey Bear Park
I'd run too!
I'd run too!
ready to start the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run
ready to start the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run
Race Underway
Race Underway
More racers
More racers
Winners!
Winners!
Boot Hockey Tournament
Boot Hockey Tournament
Turkey Bowling
Turkey Bowling
Smoosh Racing
Smoosh Racing
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Winter Recreations

Icebox Days in International Falls brings the annual "Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run" and many fun community events. Winter visitors will find excellent Snowmobile trails connecting our area to all nearby communities. Cross Country ski trails and snowshoe trails are also available and ice roads on Rainy Lake offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The National Park Service plows a road around the north side of Dryweed Island, opening a great deal more area to visitors.

Winter is a great time for wildlife watching. Raptors, such as this owl, will be out hunting. Whitetail deer, and a number of other mammals will also be seeking food and shelter. Snowshoes are a great way to check for wildlife in a relatively quiet mode. It's very exciting to have a ruffed grouse that has been roosting in the snow burst out of a snowbank while snowshoeing. If you didn't know, grouse dive into deep snow to roost because of the additional insulation the snow provides.

snowmobile trail groomer near Voyaguers National Park, International Falls, Minnesota.
snowmobile trail groomer near Voyaguers National Park, International Falls, Minnesota.

Miles to Ride!

There are hundreds of miles of great snowmobile trails throughout the region, often connecting to other communities where you will be albe to get gas or a bite to eat, or both. ( I know, I know....but some things, one can't resist) The trails are usually very well groomed by the local snowmobile club, and you can get the latest trail reports at their website, just click on the photo.

Sled Heads

Sled Heads
Sled Heads

Wintery Scenes - click to enlarge and rotate

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Smokey dressed for the weatherRainy Lake ice roadRainy RiverSt. Thomas ChurchLooking west from the Ranier Dock on Rainy River
Smokey dressed for the weather
Smokey dressed for the weather
Rainy Lake ice road
Rainy Lake ice road
Rainy River
Rainy River
St. Thomas Church
St. Thomas Church
Looking west from the Ranier Dock on Rainy River
Looking west from the Ranier Dock on Rainy River
Rainy
Rainy

Winter Work!

Loggers do the bulk of their hauling in the winter when freezing temperatures firm up the network of haul roads. Those roads are commonly called "Winter roads" and provide great access to remote areas of Koochiching County. A variety of sizes and types of wood are delivered for storage in International Falls where Boise will use them to make paper. Some logs are chipped in the forest and loaded into covered trailers that are then raised high in the air to dump their loads. Check the photos below!

Destined for Paper - clisk to enlarge or rotate

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Fall Colors

The mix of conifer, aspen, maple, oak and other hardwoods gives Rainy Lake great fall color potential. There are some great hiking trails where you can snap a few nice photos. Among them are the Oberholtzer trail at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center where you will trek through some lowland habitat and then head to the higher and drier uplands surrounding Black Bay.

Stop at the Tilson Creek boat launch and you'll find a hiking trail on the north side of the road that takes you along the higher shoreline of Rainy Lake. Just off the end of the parking area is a sign for the Tilson Creek ski trail. The first part of the trail system will be through some lowlands that soon rise to provide the mix of forest habitat that gives us great splashes of color.

Another benefit of this stop is the fishing pier near the bridge. There is a good possibility of catching fish at this pier at any time.

Then there is the bike trail, which starts in International Falls and goes along the south shore of Rainy River and Rainy Lake all the way to the access road to the Voyageurs National Park Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

click to enlarge and rotate

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Tilson Bay hiking trailOberholtzer Trail at Rainy Lake Visitor CenterOberholtzer Trail at Rainy Lake Visitor CenterGetting a photo on the hiking trailFishing Pier at Tilson Access.
Tilson Bay hiking trail
Tilson Bay hiking trail
Oberholtzer Trail at Rainy Lake Visitor Center
Oberholtzer Trail at Rainy Lake Visitor Center
Oberholtzer Trail at Rainy Lake Visitor Center
Oberholtzer Trail at Rainy Lake Visitor Center
Getting a photo on the hiking trail
Getting a photo on the hiking trail
Fishing Pier at Tilson Access.
Fishing Pier at Tilson Access.

Forestry Road framed with fall colors.

Forestry Road framed with fall colors.
Forestry Road framed with fall colors.

"The Voyageur" is Ready for Business!

Saturday, September 26, 2009, the Voyageur departed from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center with her first public tour of Rainy Lake. The new 49 passenger boat provided plenty of seating and deck space. It is a really big boat, and while it seems to be lumbering along, it is really going at a good clip. The Voyageur continues to cruise through the spectacular summer scenery of Rainy lake.

The first tour left the dock at 1pm, traveling past Rainy Lake City, out of Black Bay and into the channel. The Captain (John Romosz) took her east past Bushyhead Island so everyone could see the shaft remaining from a defunct mine, then rounded the island to the north and went back the the Visitor Center. It took a little more than 40 minutes and everyone got to gawk at wildlife, historic sites, other boaters, picturesque cabins and the general beauty of Rainy Lake.

The only drawback to this tour was the overcast skies. It wasn't really cool, or windy, just dark and gloomy. fortunately, the sun was out on Tuesday as the park service continued their free tours.

The 4:00pm Tour, Tuesday, September 29, 2009 - click to enlarge and rotate

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The Voyageur is underway, heading north from the Rainy Lake Visitor CenterPlenty of room inside.Snapping a shot of some anglersLooking west from near Big American IslandIsland View?The only horizontal mine shaft in the historic mining district.Lichen growing on the north side of Bushyhead Island.Looking past the wheelhouse.Back at the dockRainy Lake Visitor Center.
The Voyageur is underway, heading north from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center
The Voyageur is underway, heading north from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center
Plenty of room inside.
Plenty of room inside.
Snapping a shot of some anglers
Snapping a shot of some anglers
Looking west from near Big American Island
Looking west from near Big American Island
Island View?
Island View?
The only horizontal mine shaft in the historic mining district.
The only horizontal mine shaft in the historic mining district.
Lichen growing on the north side of Bushyhead Island.
Lichen growing on the north side of Bushyhead Island.
Looking past the wheelhouse.
Looking past the wheelhouse.
Back at the dock
Back at the dock
Rainy Lake Visitor Center.
Rainy Lake Visitor Center.

Here's a quick introduction to Rainy Lake.

Sunrise, Sunset

Part of the beauty of Rainy Lake are the rocky islands carved from the Canadian shield, but the wide expanses of open water reflecting the rising or setting sun always makes for great photos.

Beautiful hues of crimson and gold frame the craggy shoreline in the photos below. You can imagine the colors dancing off the water had you been there to see these scenes in real-time.

Photos Courtesy of Val Lennox and Bill Dougherty - click to enlarge and rotate

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Fishing may be the most popular recreation on Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake is a great fishery. Walleye are the most prized game fish in the lake, and a protective slot limit has been returning big breeding fish to the lake for better than a decade. All walleye between 17 and 28 inches must be released and only one trophy fish over 28 inches can be kept.

Smallmouth bass are gaining in popularity among anglers. The International Falls Bass Championship is a catch-and-release tournament that brings 60 teams of bass anglers to Rainy Lake and Rainy River every August.

Big pike can almost always be caught along the weedy and rocky shorelines along some of the popular bays, like Black Bay, Jackfish Bay, Cranberry Bay and Lost Bay.

Muskie are also among the game fish in Rainy Lake and lake sturgeon lurk in the Rainy River below the dam at International Falls.

John Cann and Ted Olson - Locals win the Bass Championship

John Cann and Ted Olson
John Cann and Ted Olson

want to know more?

check out all the information on the International Falls Bass Championship at their website, just google International Falls Bass Championship, or check later in this lens for a list of links.

Great fish photos, from Billy Dougherty, Elisa Winterland and Bill Genell. - click to enlarge and rotate

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Great Slide Show - fishing trip pics accompanied by original music

Water sports?

Rainy Lake and Voyageurs National Park are best explored by boat. For some, that means a houseboat, where you bring your vacation cottage with you wherever you go. For others, a runabout or simple fishing boat is all that is needed.

Although there can be big stretches of open water on Rainy Lake, canoe and kayak enthusiasts find plenty of room.

Beaches on many of the islands provide an opportunity to laze around in the sun. No boat? No problem, just head to City Beach, just outside of Ranier. The beach has areas for volleyball or basketball, changing rooms, dock, slides and picnic areas.

Fun on the Water Photos - click to enlarge and rotate

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Canoe on Black BayJump in the lake, courtesy Elisa WinterlandJumping in the lake, courtesy, Elisa WinterlandWalk on water? courtesy, Elisa WinterlandFun at the beach, courtesy, Elisa WinterlandTake a hike? courtesy, Elisa WinterlandKayaking, courtesy, Elisa WinterlandTake a break, courtesy, Billy DoughertyShorelunch, courtesy, Billy DoughertyCanoe at the Visitor Center, courtesy, Ron Wilcox
Canoe on Black Bay
Canoe on Black Bay
Jump in the lake, courtesy Elisa Winterland
Jump in the lake, courtesy Elisa Winterland
Jumping in the lake, courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Jumping in the lake, courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Walk on water? courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Walk on water? courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Fun at the beach, courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Fun at the beach, courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Take a hike? courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Take a hike? courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Kayaking, courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Kayaking, courtesy, Elisa Winterland
Take a break, courtesy, Billy Dougherty
Take a break, courtesy, Billy Dougherty
Shorelunch, courtesy, Billy Dougherty
Shorelunch, courtesy, Billy Dougherty
Canoe at the Visitor Center, courtesy, Ron Wilcox
Canoe at the Visitor Center, courtesy, Ron Wilcox

Where else are you greeted with a boatload of flowers?

Whatever your needs, you'll find great lodging choices on Rainy Lake. From houseboats to comfy lodge rooms or cabins to bed and breakfast operations.

The resorts on Rainy Lake offer food and beverage service and can arange guide service for a memorable trip.

If you need more information click on the big arrow link.

Beautiful Rainy Lake watercolors by Valerie Larson - click to enlarge and rotate

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Get into the Swing!

Falls Country Club offers 18 holes on a Joel Goldstrand designed course along Rainy River. Rolling hills, mixed hardwoods and conifers and the wide Rainy River come into play when it comes to beauty. It's a great golf course and offers all the expected services, but there's no need to go into detail, they have their own website which does.

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Archery Range Draws Attention!

The Moonlight Archery Club operates a nice range near Moonlight Rock a bit east of International Falls. There are occasional competitions staged at the range, but alas, no website to refer to. If you want to know more about the range, call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1 800 325 5766 or email to cvb@rainylake.org

Eagle photo courtesy of Voyageurs National Park

Eagle photo courtesy of Voyageurs National Park
Eagle photo courtesy of Voyageurs National Park

Eagle Banding in Voyageurs National Park

A healthy bald eagle population makes voyageurs an excellent place for wildlife research.

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There will be fireworks!

July 1st is Canada Day and July 4th is Independence Day. That means there are two big celebrations, and yes, there will be fireworks. Visit Ranier for Canada Day, they have a great view over Sand Bay, where the Canada Day fireworks will be exploding. On the U.S. side, the July 4th fireworks are usually best viewed from the International Mall parking lot on the west end of International Falls.

fireworks

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United Way Fundraiser!

Every summer, the United Way organizes a "Kooch. County Cruise" where last year over 100 motorcycles joined for a tour of Koochiching County. The tours try to take in something new or different each summer, but always include a few stretches on scenic Minnesota 1 skirting the southern border of Koochiching County.

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Driving Around!

Ever want to just take a ride and see something different? Well, there aren't too many things more different than "Basshenge" a roadside artwork west of International Falls off of highway 11. Bass violins cut from sheet steel are mounted on concrete pedestals roughly in the shape of Stonehenge. Along the way, you will get great views of the Rainy River separating the U.S. from Canada. The highway is part of the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway which begins at Sha Sha point on Rainy Lake 12 miles east of International Falls.

Ranier Summer Festival

The lakeside community of Ranier holds a summer festival around mid-August each summer, there are usually booths, games, parades, canoe rides and just generally a lot of fun. If you can't check it out in person, at least flip through the photos below.

Ranier Days - click to enlarge and rotate

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Too cute!Barrell TrainYikes trikeHay rideCanoe ride
Too cute!
Too cute!
Barrell Train
Barrell Train
Yikes trike
Yikes trike
Hay ride
Hay ride
Canoe ride
Canoe ride

Live Entertainment!

Every summer, the Band Shell in Smokey Bear Park draws in some good sized crowds. Concerts in the Park is a popular program that schedules local bands and music groups every Wednesday evening in June and July. There's a lot of variety from acapella church groups to bluegrass bands and more.

Icebox Radio Theatre also performs at the band shell. This group produces radio drama and comedy just as it was done in the golden age of radio, or should I say audio. Below is a clip for Icebox Radio Theater from the local Fox Network affiliate. A link to IBRT's website will be found below.

Icebox Radio Theater

You Made it this far!

So you must have found some of this entertaining and informative.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You are so lucky to have a job that allows you to travel around such a lovely part of the world. What a labour of love this lens has been.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow, nice photos and a LOT of info. Wish it would rain here in AZ! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

      Loved the lens. That's a beautiful place you live in. Enjoyed the fishing!

    • BuddyBink profile image

      BuddyBink 5 years ago

      This looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thank you for the tour.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I used to live in Duluth when I was a child and we visited the International Falls area often.

    • pajnhiaj profile image

      pajnhiaj 5 years ago

      Very nice! More ideas for my family and I to do around minnesota now. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Traveling through your neighborhood and ending up with so many memories of growing up. I think us kids must have asked if we could go see Smokey the Bear every time we went to International Falls....and Bo's Dairy Bar, which is gone now, I always wanted to sit on a pink stool.

    • profile image

      SweetsFishing 5 years ago

      I saw the blades for the winds turbine the other day driving on the highway! I can't believe how large they are. I need to make another trip to Rainy Lake soon!

    • annleecakes profile image

      Trulee Ann 5 years ago from Arkansas City, Kansas

      Thank you!

      My Bob just finished reading your lens sharing and it remonded him of home! He has fished Rainy Lake many times and viewed many things you have written about, although he homed closer to Duluth. But, was born and raised in Minnesota.

      Blessings.........Annlee

    • profile image

      Runnn 5 years ago

      I can see a lot of interesting activities in this town. It looks fun!!

    • profile image

      aardvarkapparel 5 years ago

      The tug of war looks fun!

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      This is an amazing lens. I am ready to book a trip to Minnesota. Thanks for the effort put into this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A really beautiful lens and thanks much for the virtual tour! A really well deserved PS indeed. Awesome! :)

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      Very nice lens, beautiful area of the country. Thanks for sharing. See you around the galaxy...

    • Bercton1 profile image

      Bercton1 6 years ago

      Great info certainly learn something today. Nice lens !!

    • profile image

      dessertlover 6 years ago

      I've been to Rainy Lake once but never saw too much of it. This lens is so helpful! Next time i'm up there I will def take time to look around a little bit :)

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 6 years ago

      I live near Minneapolis and haven't made it up to Rainy Lake, but it looks amazing any time of year. I have fond memories of fishing for Northern Pike with my Dad when I was a kid....I can't believe how big some of those fish are in your photos. You did an amazing job with this lens and the purple star was well deserved!

    • ltraider profile image

      ltraider 6 years ago

      I love the ice fishing pictures. Great lens!

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      @moskit: Thanks for the comment and the blesing.

    • moskit profile image

      moskit 6 years ago

      Great lens and what a beautiful place! It looks so fresh and clean there!

      I liked the photos and the watercolor paintings are so pretty.

      You have been Blessed!

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I can't deny we have cold winters, but summer is quite moderate and fall is my favorite season. It's warming now with spring, but until everything is green, warmer temps don't seem to have the same effect on me. I agree with the beautiful part of the comment and I thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It sure looks cold up there. Beautiful but cold!

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures, I would love to visit, if i ever get a vacation. lovely job

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There's some beautiful pics on this lens!

    • GeoffSteen profile image

      GeoffSteen 6 years ago

      Rainy Lake looks a beautiful place to visit in any season. The Fall trees look particularly lovely.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      You did a FABULOUS job with this lens... my oh my! Congrats Pete.

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      @hubleigh: Thanks for the comments, you may use the photo, that's fine with me. That particular prototype is located at the head of a popular hunter walking trail in the Chippewa National Forest.

    • hubleigh profile image

      hubleigh 6 years ago

      I love the porta potty. lol. Looks like lovely country. Shame I live so far away in Australia and will probably never get to visit. Oh well, the photos are great.

      Can I use that photo of the porta potty with a link to this lens on my camping site? I'll also put a link to this lens on my resources page as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice lens. This is a great resource page about Rainy Lake.

    • profile image

      GetSillyProduct 6 years ago

      massive amount of information about Rainy Lake here, I think I like the watercolor paintings the best

    • azac profile image

      azac 6 years ago

      The photos are so inviting. It's like seeing a mirror image of Ontario.

    • antoivo lm profile image

      antoivo lm 6 years ago

      Great Job done on this lens well done Voting you up now!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Pete, you have done a very nice job creating this lens. Congratulations on the Purple Star on your Rainy Lake lens, I love this. A nice to visit the Falls and Rainy on Squidoo.

      I hope to get up to Kabetogama Lake this summer. By the way, thank for featuring one of my lenses, I will return the kindness by featuring this lens there.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Looks like a fun place.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 6 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens. Looks like a wonderful place to visit

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 6 years ago from Michigan

      Rainy Lake looks like a great place to raise a family. I loved all the photo's. What a great lens.

    • evitaa profile image

      evitaa 6 years ago

      I would love to visit all these places. Hmm...maybe one sunny day.Thanks for wonderful lens.

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 6 years ago

      Wow! Great lens. Looks like there is plenty to do around Rainy Lake!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures. Love your humor throughout this lens. I'd love to visit one day.

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      Thank you all for the interest in this lens, I appreciate you checking it out. Please feel free to contact me at cvb@rainylake.org if you are planning a trip to the area, I'd be happy to tell about points of interest and scenic spots throughout northern Minnesota. Kajohu, I'm curious, where, in Minnesota, did you grow up?

    • profile image

      M_Farid 6 years ago

      Nice lens, i would love to visit rainy lake for some bass fishing.

      bass fishing techniques

    • profile image

      Makavile 6 years ago

      Great lens, i love bass fishing and i heard that rainy lake is great for catching bass....thanks and keep up the good work

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

      I grew up in Minnesota but never made it up to International Falls or Rainy Lake. I need to remedy that! I'd enjoy visiting there.

    • profile image

      AdriennePetersen 6 years ago

      Gorgeous! I can't wait to come and visit!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 6 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Great lens on Rainy Lake.

      I've seen those "prototype porta potties" here too. I guess if you gotta go you gotta go. LOL

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A mind blowing spectacular narration of the rainy Lake Minnesota, I am already missing it. What beautiful collection of images - thumbs up.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      Very much enjoyed your lens and photos, especially the boatload of flowers and watercolor paintings. Great job, thumbs up!! :)

    • profile image

      GeorgiaHiker 6 years ago

      Nice lens. Very informative with great pictures and videos!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      I love the way you have written this lens. I feel like I've had an extensive tour with a real insider. Very interesting history about how the town developed. Being a Canadian living in the U.S., it was interesting reading about the joint activities with your Canadian neighbors. What better niche to develop than the place where you live. You are doing a great job with that!

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the comments, I appreciate them. Should you decide to visit Rainy Lake, let me know, I can provide info on a wide variety of recreations in the area.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fantastic lens! I had never heard of Rainy Lake before reading this. After reading and seeing all the great pics I would love to visit one day. The Rainy Lake watercolors by Valerie Larson are beautiful!

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      @mazbond: Thanks for visiting and commenting. The rotating photos are the "Photo Gallery" module. I choose not to have them automatically rotate, but that is an option.

    • mazbond profile image

      mazbond 6 years ago

      Great lens and very informative. I love the photos. What module do you use for the rotating photos?

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 6 years ago

      Great, if you need any information, feel free to contact me. Pete Schultz, 218 283 9400 cvb@rainylake.org

    • ZablonMukuba profile image

      ZablonMukuba 6 years ago

      i will be visiting soon

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

      This is so great! I've heard there was a lot to do there, so this was great to read!! I featured you on my lens titled The New Alpine Coaster in Duluth, MN - for all the fun things to do in minnesota :)

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 7 years ago from Croatia

      You are one of Fresh Squid April 2010 graduates! Come by and answer few questions to show the way to those who will follow! Wish you many, many more great lenses!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      returned with wings. Blessed and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

      Norma

    • profile image

      Sibelius 7 years ago

      terrific lens! 5* and lensrolled to my great American destination lenses!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 7 years ago from Croatia

      This lens entered Fresh Squid Contest for April 2010: http://www.squidoo.com/freshsquidcontest

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

      Oh wow, there are so many fun things to do over there, thank you for this excellent virtual tour! I would certainly love to visit Rainy Lake someday. *blessed by another angel*

    • wyrm11268 profile image

      wyrm11268 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens - love the pictures.

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 7 years ago

      Great job of highlighting the things to do in Rainy Lake. Your pictures are awesome. Blessed by an angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very nice lens. Almost makes me want to come play in the snow, well, almost!

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 7 years ago

      @justholidays: I'm glad you enjoyed it. We have no choice on the snow thing....when life gives you lemons, make lemonade....when life gives you snow and cold, make snowballs and they'll keep for a while. I truly appreciate the comments.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      Definitely a great lens, I really enjoyed all the pictures presented here (even while I hate snow, lol), all the details and information. Crafted with perfection, really enjoyable place to come!

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens and well structured with great presentation. I love the way you guys fish through holes in sheds in winter. In Aus fishing season is closed at that time. Great fish too. Top marks from me and lens rolled and featured on the Great Outdoors and Save Planet Earth. Well done.

      Norma

    • profile image
      Author

      Pete Schultz 7 years ago

      @grannysage: Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it. Here, a little north of "da raynge: we might say Yah Sure, You betcha.

    • profile image

      grannysage 7 years ago

      Well, it's pretty, but not as pretty as the UP of Michigan, lol. Just kidding, can't really tell the difference. Looks like there is a lot of that white stuff there in the winter too. Awesome pictures, Great lens, ya betcha!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      We'll probably be back up that way next year (might canoe from International Falls to Grand Portage or at least part of the route), so I'll have to return to your lens before we go. Thanks for all the info!