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Winter on the Gunflint Trail
Brilliant Blue Skies and snow covered trees at Voyageur

boundary Waters chickadee
Frequent visitors at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

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Video of a close encounter with a black backed woodpecker
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Listen to the sound of cross-country skiing on a cold winter day on the Gunflint Trail

Snow flocked trees in the BWCA
Snow flocked trees in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in the Winter
Voyageur Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Gunflint Trail

Sunset on a BWCA lake
Boundary Waters winter sunset


There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest
clothed to its very hollows in snow.
It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray,
every blade of grass, every spire of reed,
every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.

William Sharp

Picture Perfect Setting

The Gunflint Trail is cloaked in a blanket of pristine white snow.  Everywhere you look there are large piles of snow clinging to the branches of the trees.  Some bending under pressure while others stand strong.  It's nearly impossible to walk through the woods without brushing up against a tree limb and getting a flurry of snow dropped onto your head.  The beauty of winter is incredible to see when the sunlight dances on each snowflake making it look like a piece of glitter shining brightly.

It's difficult to complain about the cold temperatures when it's providing such wonderful recreational opportunities for us winter enthusiasts.  The cross-country ski trails are in top-notch condition, the ice fishing is good, snowmobile trails are terrific and there's enough snow on the ground to make snowshoeing routes endless.  You can always dress for the cold weather and if you're out moving around you're more likely to get warm than cold.

The temperatures have been cold with over 20 of the days in January recording below zero degrees.  The average daytime temperature at mid-trail is 2.24 degrees and there's been 23.75 inches of snow recorded.  We've only received more snow twice in the past ten years in 2004 and 2005 with 34.45 and 32.90 inches respectively.

For a winter lover like me it's been a perfect winter so far.  If we're lucky we'll continue to get snow and cold temperatures throughout March and even into April.  If you don't appreciate winter as much as me then I dare you to come up to Voyageur and give it a try.  I think once you see what winter is like in our northwoods you'll be hooked forever.

Winter Wildlife Watching

One of the best parts about winter at Voyageur is the ability to see a variety of wildlife.  Of course we see wildlife year around but in the winter we often get a closer look.

The birds swarm to our feeder and will even eat out of your hand if you are patient.  The neighborhood fox walks his nightly rounds and can be seen with his nose pressed against the patio door of our neighbor's house looking inside to see where his food is.  Pine martens also come around and snowshoe hares hop about freely.  The deer congregate near Gunflint Lake as do the wolves who can often be seen on the wide open expanse of a frozen lake.  Moose meander slowly about using the Gunflint Trail as their own personal pathway as they pause to lick the salt from the road. 

Yes winter is a great time to explore the Boundary Waters and the wilderness at the end of the Gunflint Trail.  Grab a pair of cross-country skis, snowshoes or snowmobile and catch a glimpse for yourself.

It's Permit Time

It's never to early to start planning for your 2011 wilderness canoe trip. The sooner you know your entry point and entry date the better the chance you will get your first choice. While most entry points on the Gunflint Trail don't fill up too quickly you never can tell when the day you are looking at might fill up. Feel free to email or call us when you have your dates set and we'll be happy to reserve your permit for you.

The Quetico Park has their new permit reservation service ready, open and waiting for your call. You cannot reserve interior Quetico Park permits online so don't spend unnecessary time browsing their website for the reservation page.

The 1-888-ONT-PARK (668-7275) number (or 1-519-826-5290 for outside of North America) is for parks reservations only.  For general information about visiting a provincial park call 1-800-ONTARIO (1-800-668-2746); write or phone the park you plan to visit; or check the Ontario Parks website (  Fees for Camping, Group Camping, Back Country/Interior Camping, Vehicle, Trailer Dumping, Day Use and Cross-Country Skiing.  Overnight camping permits for 2011 are $8.50/youth/night and $21.50/adult/night. Reservation fees are $9.50 with a deposit of $107.50.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area website is open for reservations.  We can reserve your permit for you or you can reserve it for yourself online.  If you want to pick your permit up at Voyageur then be sure to choose us as the issuing station during the reservation process.  Entry points leaving from Voyageur's dock are 55 Saganaga to the north and 54 Seagull to the south.  We outfit to all entry points on the Gunflint Trail so choose the entry point that's right for you.

We want to be a part of your 2011 wilderness canoe trip so give us a call today and we'll get the planning started. 1-888-CANOEIT

A Little Bit of This and That

Summer Crew- It's that time of year when we're looking for people who would like to spend their summer at the end of the Gunflint Trail.  It' takes a special kind of person to live without their cell phone, television and conveniences of a city but if you think you're up for it then drop us an e-mail or check out our website for more information. 

Mush for a Cure- The 5th Annual Mush for a Cure on the Gunflint Trail will be held March 11th-12th.  As a co-founder of this event I would like to invite you to join us for this Sled Dog FUNdraiser.  Over the past four years we have raised over $75,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  It's a good time for a great cause and we appreciate your support of our event.

Ham Run Half Marathon- In addition to planning the Mush for a Cure plans are underway for this year's Ham Run Half Marathon and 5k Fun Run on May 1st, 2011.  The Gunflint Trail is an awesome place for running and is challenging too. If you're up for the challenge then sign up for the Ham Run on the Trail Less Traveled.