The Northwest Angle of Minnesota is a gem hidden in the northernmost part of our state. Roughly 120 people call this untouched beauty their home. To many others, this has become a dreamland vacation that reconnects them with a time gone by, a time filled with fishing, exploring, snowmobiling, and relaxing.
Minnesota and Canada share the longest undefended border in the world. Living at peace with one another is a reflection of what Lake of the Woods is all about. The Northwest Angle is the highest point in the contiguous US on the map, even higher than states on the east coast. It is a 123 acres paradise filled with many things to see, experience, and explore. Planning a visit soon? You should know that you will have to leave the US and enter Canada, leave Canada, and enter the US to reach the Angle. At one point you cross the international border at an unmanned crossing, called Jim’s Corner. You simple stop at the little building, pick up the video phone, press the button under the US flag and talk to the border patrol. You give your passport information along with anyone you have in your vehicle. This used to be the only way to cross. Now you can use the ROAM Map App. You can register and video face chat, save your profile, and list your guests for crossing the border. Officials have also been working with resort owners in the Angle to house iPads that allow guest to cross the border and check-in at the resorts, bypassing Jim’s Corner all together.
How did this happen, that there is a part of the US that isn’t easily accessible? Back in 1783 during the Treaty of Paris, John Mitchell mistakenly represented Lake of the Woods as an oval shape on what has come to be known as the “Mitchell Map”. The boundary of Minnesota was decided off of that misinformation and put the Northwest Angle north of the 49th parallel. Essentially, you have to fly, boat, snowmobile across frozen water or leave the country by road to reach the Angle.
At Angle Inlet you will find the last one-room school in the state. This school brings education to all elementary students on the Angle. All other students must wake up early, board a bus, cross 2 international borders, and travel over 1 hour to reach their school in Warroad Minnesota.
There are about a dozen resorts in Angle Inlet and another half dozen located on the islands. Lake of the Woods is a popular fishing destination and keeps these resorts in business year-round. Lake of the Woods is known as the Walleye Capital of the World for a good reason. There are over 10,000,000 saugers and walleyes waiting in the waters to be caught.
If you are planning your adventure up to the Northwest Angle be sure to check out the Lake of the Woods App developed by Joe Laurin, a local who has been exploring Lake of the Woods for more than 20 years. He has explored the 14,552 islands in the lake and researched the history behind his finds. There are over 130 abandoned gold mines, a waterfall, an abandoned fort and so much more to discover on your trip and this app will help you make the most of your time in the Northwest Angle.