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International Falls Rainy Lake, the Ice Box of the Nation, is legally recognized! Yes, they received official designation over Fraser, CO, and Big Piney, WY, both unofficially claim it. Of course, the three towns fought a legal battle over the designation. After visiting the area, you can brag about visiting the Ice Box of the Nation! That is if it’s something to brag about! By the way, if you want to go back to the overall post about Northern Minnesota, here’s the link.
You will find the city on the Canadian border but still in MN on the US side. The city lies on the Rainy River and on the west end of Rainy Lake. Also, the line in the center of the lake marks the International border with Canada. Additionally, across the river is Fort Francis, Ontario.
Rainy Lake is a massive body of water that stretches across the border between the United States and Canada. The lake is over 200,000 acres in size, with 929 miles of shoreline. It’s known for its crystal-clear waters, which are home to a wide variety of fish species, including walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass. Tourists at Rainy Lake can enjoy fishing, boating, and other water-based activities, as well as hiking and camping on the lake’s many islands and in the surrounding forests.
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More about International Falls
You may make a reservation on either side of the border. Both locations offer great places to stay. The interactive map linked below gives a few options for places to stay and eat. By the way, the map covers more than 200 miles from east to west. I made it that large to show the relative emptiness of the area.
International Falls Table of Contents
Voyageurs National Park
Also, to the east lies Voyageurs National Park. Here’s a link to the International Falls area and Voyageurs NP. It’s one of the least visited National Parks and contains more lakes than any other park.
Again, Rainy Lake is primarily a fishing lake. Boating, including rental houseboats, make up more tourism. Since Voyageurs National Park borders it, those visiting the park also access the lake. Since Voyageurs is primarily a lake and island park, most visitors have access to boats.
Exploring Rainy Lake
International Falls Rainy Lake is a beautiful destination that offers a variety of outdoor activities. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a nature enthusiast, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the best ways to explore beautiful Rainy Lake:
Fishing and Boating
Rainy Lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities. With over 227,000 acres of water, anglers can find a variety of fish species, including walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and more. Visitors can rent boats or bring their own to explore the lake. There are also several fishing guides available for hire. You can always find a spot to fish! In some places, you can fish off a dock slip.
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Hiking and Camping
International Falls Rainy Lake offers several hiking trails that provide stunning views of the lake and its surroundings. The Rainy Lake Trail is a popular option that spans nearly 13 miles through Northern Minnesota woodlands, marshlands, and lakefront neighborhoods from International Falls to Voyageurs National Park. Several campsites are also available for visitors who wish to spend the night in the park.
Tips for Going to International Falls Rainy Lake
One of the must-visit museums in International Falls is the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s a great place to learn about the history of ice hockey in the United States. Another museum worth visiting is the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, which offers information about the area’s natural and cultural history, as well as interactive exhibits and a gift shop. Here’s a link to a Great River Road detour. I visited the city while near the area. I found lodging in Fort Francis. The county museum features an old-time NFL player named Bronko Nagurski.
Weather and Climate in International Falls Rainy Lake
International Falls is known as the “Icebox of the Nation” for a reason. The winters can be extremely cold, with temperatures dropping well below freezing. If you plan on visiting during winter, dress in layers and bring warm clothing, including a hat, gloves, and a heavy coat. Summers can be quite warm, with temperatures averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, checking the weather forecast before your trip is always good. And, yes, the stories of cold are true!
Winter Seasonal tourists & Northern Lights
Yes, it’s open year round for fun and adventure. Snowmobiling remains a popular activity on the trails. You will find a full list of spectacular things to do. For example, a facility to rent winter gear. Or for any season, for that matter. In the winter, you are more likely to see northern lights.
International Falls Rainy Lake Conclusion
International Falls Rainy Lake is a beautiful destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and endless recreation opportunities, it’s no wonder that so many people flock to this area each year. And it’s family friendly!
Whether you’re interested in fishing, boating, hiking, or simply relaxing in the great outdoors, International Falls Rainy Lake has something for everyone. From the crystal-clear waters of Rainy Lake to the lush forests and rolling hills of the surrounding area, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore.
Of course, no destination is perfect, and International Falls Rainy Lake is no exception. People going there should be aware of the potential for flooding during certain times of the year and the occasional presence of mosquitoes and other insects. However, these minor inconveniences can be easily overcome with some preparation and the right attitude.
International Falls Rainy Lake is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty and majesty of the great outdoors. So why not pack your bags, grab your fishing rod, and head to this incredible destination today?
Classic Rock Recollection
“Winter” by The Rolling Stones
And it sure been a cold, cold winter
And the wind ain’t been blowin’ from the south
It’s sure been a cold, cold winter
And a lotta love is all burned out
Written by John Denver / Mike Taylor / Dick Kniss