Falls & Park Day Trip In Lake Vermilion Area

Falls & Park Day Trip in Lake Vermilion Area

This post is about a day trip from our cabins on Elbow Lake, in the Lake Vermilion area. It visits parts of the Vermilion river and reaches as far as Crane Lake. This trip highlights local rapids and waterfalls. 

day trip elbow lake

If you are staying in the Lake Vermilion Area, you may want to take advantage of some of the wonderful area attractions. We wright these articles specifically for our guests at Elbow Lake, but they can easily be adapted to anyone staying in the region. For more on our cabins, please check out dan330.com/minnesota.

One of my favorite trips is to see the waterfalls and rapids along the Vermilion River. The Vermilion River runs from Lake Vermilion’s north west side north to Crane Lake at the head of Voyageurs National Park. There are a few points of interest worth stoping for on your day trip.

Here’s a map from Google Earth. If you are saying in the area, you can figure out how to get to our starting point or change the address embedded below. Otherwise the Vermilion River is a Minnesota DNR Water Trail and you can see the guide here: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/canoe_routes/vermilion.pdf

This trip is easily a half day trip if you just want to scoot up and see the Vermilion Falls and the gorge, or can take a full day if you want to relax and enjoy more of the river.

First on our drive, stop to see the Vermilion Dam. The Vermilion Dam Lodge is where you want to stop at. From their parking lot you can visit their restaurant for a drink or walk a path that skirts the edge of the water and rapids. This rapids is rated between a III and a VI based on water levels.

vermilion dam

Second, after continuing North up Crane Lake Road you will come to the town of Buyck. Buyck is a golf course, an intersection, and a bar. But there is a bridge that crosses over the river and gives you an interesting view. Personally, I just keep going here. There are better food options and sightseeing in Crane Lake.

As you get closer to Crane Lake, you will see signs for the Vermilion Falls. The Falls are just to the west on a road called Vermilion Falls Road of all things. You can drive up to about 70 yards from the waterfall. Get out of your car and walk the paths and overlooks. It is very pretty.

Just north of the vermilion falls is the town of Crane Lake. There is a sea plane base, a couple of restaurants, gift stores, and is just kind of a fun town overall. Drive the main road to the end and park at Voyageur Houseboats. This is a great place for lunch. It has great food you can eat on the patio looking over the lake where you will likely see sea planes coming in and out of the base. To the left as you drive in (west) there is a storage area for boats and trailers. Here, you will find a path that leads you to the Vermilion Gorge. It is a relatively easy walk, about 1 mile each way. But watch your kids because there is no safety rails or walkways when you get there.

Vermilion Gorge Vermilion Gorge Vermilion Gorge

If you can get to Crane Lake for lunch a walk to the gorge and back will get you back to Elbow Lake in plenty of time for dinner. Don’t forget to check out our rentals in the area and follow our Minnesota Vacation facebook page!

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About Chris 759 Articles
Chris Ashbach is one of the founders of Dan330. Chris is a pilot and avid outdoorsman who loves fishing, hunting, camping, and exploring. He loves taking kids (especially his own) on trips to share his passion of the outdoors. Chris is also a gardener, volunteers at Let's Go Fishing, and teaches Sunday school. Chris holds a MA in Organizational Leadership and is faculty at a local university in Minnesota; teaching undergraduate business classes.