Team in a canoe for the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races

In 1976 a group of friends and neighbors on the Gunflint Trail gathered together and organized the first Gunflint Trail Canoe Races as a fundraiser for numerous programs and causes on the Gunflint Trail. For the past 40+ years, the area has hosted the races every year – with one exception. In 1999 the catastrophic Boundary Waters Blowdown storm caused the cancelation. This was due to most of the Trail residents participating in the rescue efforts. Besides that summer, the races have been a community staple every July at Gunflint Lake.

The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races on Gunflint LakeThe Races Return!

After being canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races will return on July 20, 2022! Check out Visit Cook County for more information on this year’s event.

Gunflint Trail residents come together, along with dozens of visitors from all over the world! They come to watch or compete in the 17 races. There are races for all ages and abilities with plenty of space for spectators to enjoy the show. A food tent is set up with some incredible well-priced meals to enjoy. There are live and silent auctions, as well as local artisan booths. All processed go to the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad.

The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races are family-friendly with something for everyone. Whether you want to race, just be a spectator, or just come by for a delicious meal. Whatever your plans are, it’s well worth a trip up the Trail if you aren’t already staying there. Make a family day trip out of it and check out the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center or Towering Pines Canopy Tour before enjoying the evening watching the canoe races. Grab lunch at one of the area’s restaurants on your way up, then enjoy the food at the event for dinner. It’s a great way to spend a day on the beautiful Gunflint Trail.