Crane Lake, Kabetogama, Ash River, Minnesota

About the Area

If there is a place in Minnesota that still feels like the Hamm's Beer Bear commercials of a half century ago, it is Crane Lake. This truly is the Land of Sky Blue Waters and each day is kind of like a throwback to the past, with a parade of seaplanes lifting off for places even more remote, and a jumbled concoction of businesses that spring up or subside as needed.

Crane Lake is the end of the road! About a half hour from Orr, you simply can't go any further…unless it's by boat or on foot. The community lives off of itself, its visitors, and those who need what it has to offer - its simplicity. More of a resort outpost than an actual town - as towns go - when you get here you really don't see any reason to leave. It is kind of like you finally escaped! Most every real estate parcel in the area is connected to the lakeshore by frontage, access or views, which makes living here all the better yet. Caught between wilderness land grabs of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Voyageurs National Park, the town is only a few miles from either of them. It somehow sustained its independence in a time when politicians would have loved to bury it and its buildings so that visitors never knew it ever existed - kind of like they did with many lakefront cabins, fish camps, and resorts along the other border lakes. Although the government was able to dissect the northern shore of the lake, the community was left intact, and most of its lake cabins, lots and homes remained in private ownership. However, most of Crane Lake's waterfront properties are boat access only, which makes them even more special and chaos-free!

At only about 3,000 acres, Crane Lake is not one of Minnesota's giants. However, there is just about no better place on the planet to begin a week-long water journey. From Crane you can travel east through Little Vermillion Lake and the Loon River into Lac La Croix…and on from there almost forever into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area or Quetico. And if you take a left turn instead, you can motor through Sand Point Lake, Namakan and Kabetogama, or pull into one of the watering holes hidden way back in Ash River.

But if your boat is 23 feet long or less, feel free to pull up to the dock at the Kettle Falls Hotel, and in a few minutes they will drop you in Rainy Lake for another forty to eighty mile ride in various directions. It's a good idea to bring a compass if you haven't made the trip before. In fact, you might even need one if you don't venture any further than the hotel bar, because those “pink drinks” can really put a wallop on you!

Lake Kabetogama also was somewhat spared from becoming an entire wilderness. Still retaining many of its popular resorts, it provides lodging and a jumping off point to all the park and the border lakes have to offer. There are several fine restaurants in the Kabetogama Area, and an ample supply of lakeshore properties for those who fall in love with its unique surroundings.

The border lakes are a great place to own a lake home or cabin, but the choices can be quite confusing. Please contact one of our local real estate specialists if you would like more information on real estate in this area.


  • Ash River
  • Crane Lake
  • Kabetogama


  • Ash River
  • Crane Lake
  • Lac La Croix
  • Lake Kabetogama
  • Little Vermillion Lake
  • Loon Lake
  • Loon River
  • Namakan Lake
  • Sandpoint Lake
  • Sullivan Bay

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