Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I go to Laketrails?

Laketrails provides you with the opportunity to live in the wilderness, make new friends and do many things you don’t usually, or can’t do at home. Things like canoeing, kayaking, sailing, fishing, swimming, water carnivals, and hikes to historic gold mines or logging camps are all part of the Laketrails experience.

What else will I do at Laketrails?

The heart of our program is a five-to-six day wilderness canoe trip. You have the opportunity to choose what type of trip you wish to take, and become instrumental in planning and carrying out the trip.

What Should I Bring?

Camp provides all food and all camping gear except a sleeping bag. Generally, camp is a great place to bring old clothes because they will get dirty. Check out our guidelines

I’ve camped with my family and car camped before–will this help?

Sure, but at Laketrails we camp in the roadless wilderness far from civilization. You’ll learn how to move through the lake and woods with minimal impact, and how to camp and carry all the gear needed to survive several days in the back country.

I’ve never camped before, is that a problem?

Not at all, we spend the first day of your stay at the Base Camp reviewing the canoeing and camping skills you will need. On the trip, you will be with other kids near your age and two experienced Laketrails Guides who are typically college-aged students. Both in camp and “on trail” everybody helps each other out.

Can Anyone Come to Laketrails?

Laketrails was founded in 1952 to provide a true wilderness adventure for teens. Laketrails campers must be at least age 13 or out of the seventh grade to attend Camp. We also offer a session for Middle School youth who have completed grades 6 through 8.

What to Bring

Clothing and Equipment
Trips are hard on clothing and equipment. Portage trails are uneven, weather can change abruptly, and campers will be very active. Consider each item carefully as you pack. Is it durable? What would happen if it were torn, lost, or damaged? For the canoe trip, campers’ personal gear and sleeping bags are packed together in waterproof packs supplied by the camp.

All personal belongings should be plainly marked with first and last name for identification. Items you do not take with you on your canoe trip can be left in your luggage at Base Camp. Cabin storage is limited. As a general rule of thumb, bring old clothes. If you are going to invest in something, rainwear is the most important part of the wardrobe, when you need it. It is also a good idea to pack a clean, dry set of clothes that you will wear for the bus ride home and not be wearing during your stay at camp.


What to Bring and What Not to Bring

Do Bring

  • Sleeping bag
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • Underwear for 1 week
  • 3 shirts
  • Socks for 1 week
  • 1 or 2 sweatshirts
  • Warm jacket
  • 2 piece durable raingear
  • 2 pair shoes (at least 1 pair sturdy tennis shoes)
  • Brimmed cap or hat
  • Swim suit
  • 1 towel
  • Toiletry kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, personal hygiene products)
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Insect repellent (no more than 30% D.E.E.T.)
  • Sunscreen (minimum SPF 15)
  • Metal or sturdy plastic refillable water bottle
  • Lip balm (minimum SPF 15)
  • Sunglasses

Don’t Bring

  • Electronic devices of any kind (including electronic toys, games, CD players, TV’s, I-Pods, phones, etc.). They are a distraction from the experience, and their use is not allowed at camp. You may use these items on the bus ride, but they must be turned in to the camp store (the Duck’s Nest) for safekeeping when you arrive. You’ll get them back for the bus ride home.
  • Excessive cash. The camp store has items ranging from $1 to $55.00. You will also want some money for lunch on the bus rides to camp and back home. We do ask campers to deposit all cash in the camp store. If deposited, we will be responsible for it; otherwise we are not responsible for lost or stolen cash.
  • Weapons, fireworks, firecrackers and other hazardous materials are prohibited at camp and are also prohibited at Canadian customs.
  • Alcohol/drugs and tobacco products are prohibited. Any of these items or other inappropriate or hazardous items brought to camp will be confiscated.
  • All personal sports equipment is not allowed unless there has been prior approval by the Camp Director.

snacks, foodPlease do not bring extra food, candy, or snacks to camp. Camp will provide plenty of nutritious, tasty food for meals. Food brought from home could lead to unwelcome guests (i.e. mice, bears, etc.) in the cabins!
Optional Items:
book, camera, pencil, camping gear

  • Notebook/pen or pencil for “journaling”
  • Camera
  • Fishing gear (rod & reel, artificial lures, etc.)
  • Rugged Sandals (no flip-flops)
Download PDFwhat to bring to camp, camping gear, downloadDownload our What to Bring to Camp PDF!


It all starts on a bus....


So, how does this Laketrails experience actually “play out?” It all starts on a bus (Yes, a bus! – look below for the schedule) of all places. Due to our outstanding (yet remote) location, Laketrails provides a bus to transport young people from as far away as the Minneapolis St Paul area to our site. Campers first Laketrails experience is of the joys (and sorrows) of a 6-8 hour bus ride to the “end of the road.”
They also meet new friends on the bus, and begin what for some may become life-long friendships. When they arrive at Young’s Bay where the road ends, campers are greeted by a flotilla of boats skippered by Laketrails’ Guides. Several of these are smaller (18-foot) craft which will allow them to experience the thrill of spray in their faces as they make the final passage to the Base Camp on Oak Island.

Bus Departure Schedule:

Rogers Super 8 Motel at Exit 207, Hwys 101 & 94 7:00 am
St. Cloud SuperAmerica on Hwy 10, just south of cloverleaf 8:00 am
Little Falls McDonald’s junction Hwy 10 and 27 8:45 am
Detroit Lakes McDonald’s on Hwy 10 11:00 am
Thief River Falls Arby’s on Hwy 1 1:30 pm
Roseau Doug’s grocery on Hwy 11 3:00 pm
Northwest Angle Young’s Bay Resort 5:00 pm

Bus Return Schedule

Roseau 10:15 a.m.
Thief River Falls 11:30 a.m.
Detroit Lakes 2:15 p.m.
Little Falls 4:00 p.m.
St. Cloud 5:00 p.m.
Rogers 6:00 p.m.

Session Schedule and Rates

Session Dates and Rates

Laketrails runs wilderness trips from May thru September

You can either register for Laketrails Base Camp online, by clicking the register links below,
or by downloading and filling out the appropriate pdf forms located here.

2020 Laketrails Schedule:

Memorial Day Work Weekend* May 22-25 Cancelled
Session 1 – FULL June 21-29 Cancelled
Session 2 June 30-July 8 Cancelled
Session 2F (Fishing Trip)** June 30-July 8 Cancelled
Session 3 July 10-18 Cancelled
Session 4 – FULL July 19-27 Cancelled
Women’s Way Canoe Trip**** July 19-25 Cancelled
Session 5 (middle school) July 29-Aug. 6 Cancelled
Session 6 Aug. 9-17 Cancelled
LOW Artists’ Retreat*** Sept. 10-13 Cancelled

* Memorial Day Work Weekend is a chance for Laketrails friends, both old and new, to spend time at camp helping to get the island ready for the summer. Join in the camaraderie while lending a hand to your favorite wilderness youth camp. Bring a pair of work gloves and comfortable clothing. You can even bring a friend! First-timers are also welcome! There are no fees for the weekend, but please register early so that meals can be planned.

** Laketrails is pleased to offer a special Fishing Trip during Session 2 for teens who love to fish! Campers wishing to sharpen their angling skills should register for this special session, but will share in the usual Laketrails experience with other campers at Base Camp. Laketrails Guides will lead the trip and be accompanied by Jeff Birchem who will teach campers how to locate good fishing habitat, the best kind of lures to use, how to clean fish, and even how to cook them. Jeff spent 25 years working and patrolling the NW Angle area of Lake of the Woods as a MN DNR Conservation Officer. Since retiring in 2013 he has been involved with numerous outdoor adventures getting students involved with all facets of our natural resources.

*** Laketrails is once again working with Kim Hruba of Red Shoes Writing Solutions to offer our 7th annual Lake of the Woods Artists’ Retreat. Come, enjoy the wide variety of artists and join us for this relaxing weekend! Fees for the weekend: $250-$300. For more information go to kimhruba.com.

**** The Laketrails Women’s Way Canoe Trip is just that–a canoe trip for women! Join us for a week of paddling and exploring Lake of the Woods and sharing campfires with other adventurous women. Fees are $500 per person. Click here for more information.

Download Forms and Information

Session Fees (Includes bus transportation):

Sessions 1 and 3 – 6 ………………$780 per session

Session 2 ……………………………….$570

Womenʼs Way Canoe Trip (for women only) fees are $500.

Deposit Information

All Sessions require a non-refundable $100.00 deposit to secure your reservation.

  • Early Enrollment Discount
    Register and pay in full before February 28, and deduct $50 from your fee.
  • Sibling Discount
    If you have more than one child coming to Laketrails this summer, the first pays the regular fee. After that, deduct $50 from your fee for the second, third, or fourth child. (If you have more than four – give us a call!)


Age Requirements:

Sessions 1-4 and Session 6 are open to all teens, age 13-18. Session 5 is for Middle School youth only (those who have completed grades 6-8).


Our wish is that no one will be prevented from coming to Laketrails because of the cost. Our campership program provides both partial and full financial support based on need for those wishing to attend Laketrails. Copies of the policy and application form are available here. (link to Campership Policy & Application)

Special Sessions:

  • Middle School Session
    To better meet the needs of younger campers, Laketrails offers a session for youth currently in grades 6, 7, or 8. The program format is similar to our other sessions, but enrollment is limited to youth in these grades.