Navigating our Northwoods Waterways
In the days of the late 18th Century and up to the middle of the 19th Century, the wilds of what would later become Itasca County were virtually uncharted. There were no roads, few trails and a trip over land was extremely difficult if not impossible. Back then, Indians and fur traders traversed the area's wilderness riverways and lakes in sleek birchbark canoes. These 10-to 20-foot long crafts weighed 40 to 75 pounds and were extremely sturdy. The birchbark canoes were light, easy to handle in currents, and capable of turning quickly and sharply, yet were durable enough to withstand the elements and carry a large cargo. Two able bodied men could carry the canoe across the many long portages, without staggering under a brutal weight.
Today, you can experience the same beauty and excitement when you canoe Itasca County! Paddle your canoe down a pine-fringed river, across a sunset-lit lake or ride the whitewater rapids; Itasca County's rivers and lakes come in all shapes and sizes and offer great adventure for beginners and experts alike.
With more than 1,400 Itasca County lakes and rivers to choose from, the view from our clear blue waters is simply nothing short of spectacular. The brilliance of the Northwoods sunsets, the wilderness islands, unique shorelines, and spectacular waterfowl and wildlife take on a whole new look when viewed from a canoe, fishing boat or pontoon. Bring your own canoe or boat or rent one here -- just make sure you get out on the water.
Most of the resorts located here provide a fishing boat or dock space with cabin rental. Many of them have pontoons, speed boats, canoes, kayaks and other water vessels for rent. There are also outfitters that can provide you with the rental equipment you need.
For more information about Canoeing opportunities in Itasca County, visit the following links:
Mississippi Headwaters River Trail
The Big Fork River
Itasca County - Sporting Goods Outfitters