Frequently Asked Questions

How far are you from Grand Marais?

We are located 28 miles northwest of Grand Marais, Minnesota on the beautiful Gunflint Trail.

In summer, it takes about 40 minutes to get here from Grand Marais.

In winter, it takes up to an hour (Our roads can get snowy and icy!).

Do you lead trips into the Boundary Waters? Is Okontoe an outfitter?

We do not lead Boundary Waters trips and we are not an outfitter.

However, we do have canoes, paddles and life jackets available for camper use, along with kayaks that are rented separately.

You must keep them all on the property—they are only for use on Bow, Quiver and Shoko Lakes. They cannot be transported to other lakes (Okontoe does not carry an Outfitter/Guide permit).

If you want to canoe on other area lakes, here’s a list of Gunflint Trail outfitters who will be happy to accommodate you.

How do I make a reservation?

  • Book a Retreat Cabin
  • Book a Campsite
  • Are You a Full-time Minister or Missionary? If you are, we want to bless you! You’re welcome to fill out our scholarship application form for a reduced rate for our cabins or campsites. Please email for more information.
  • Are you booking for a group? If so, please contact us by email at or by phone at 218-388-2285.

What are your check-in/check-out times?

  • For campsites, check-in is 3:00 p.m. or later.
  • For cabins, check-in is 4:00 p.m. or later.
  • Check-out Monday-Saturday is 11:00 a.m.
  • Check-out on Sunday is 2:00 pm, so you can join us for our Chapel service!

What is your cancellation policy?

We ask for full payment at the time of your reservation. 30% of that is a non-refundable deposit. If you must cancel, the rest is refundable upon certain terms.

Please read the details of our cancellation policy here.

Are pets allowed?

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Okontoe under the following guidelines:

  • Must be leashed and/or under your direct control at all times.
  • May not be left unattended outside your cabin, or inside your cabin unless it’s confined to a kennel.
  • If your dog barks excessively or if it runs at-large and is bothering our other guests or staff, we may have to ask you to leave.
  • Okontoe is surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness, including right up to our property line. There’s abundant wildlife in the area, including bears, wolves, foxes and eagles—all of which would see a small dog running loose as a potential meal. You’re responsible for your own pets.

Do you have RV sites?

Yes! Our campsites can accommodate smaller RVs (we suggest a 25-foot maximum). Two sites are pull-through and are able to host a large RV. Check out our campsite page for more information.

What’s provided in the cabins?

Each cabin’s kitchenette includes:

  • 5-gallon water cooler
  • Small oven/stove and fridge
  • Coffee maker
  • Cookware and dishes

We also provide soap and toilet paper. Bring your own bedding, linens, and towels. Find more information on each cabin here.

What is included in a campsite reservation?

  • Canoes are included with your campsite, along with paddles and life jackets (our canoes must stay on our local lakes: Bow, Quiver and Shoko).
  • Each campsite has a fire ring.
  • Firewood is available for sale: $3/bundle of kiln-dried pine (by White Pine Cabin/formerly Garden Cabin) or $6/bundle of cut, split and seasoned birch. Please don’t bring firewood from outside Cook County (this is a Minnesota DNR regulation to keep unwanted pests out of our area).

Do you have canoes available for rent?

Canoes, paddles and life jackets are available for camper use, and kayaks are rented separately.

You must keep them all on the property—they are only for use on Bow, Quiver and Shoko Lakes. They cannot be transported to other lakes (Okontoe does not carry an Outfitter/Guide permit).

If you want to canoe on other area lakes, here’s a list of Gunflint Trail outfitters who will be happy to accommodate you.

Do you have laundry facilities?

There’s no place to do laundry in camp. However, there are a couple of laundromats in Grand Marais.

Is there Wi-Fi or cell service?

There’s no cell service on our section of the Gunflint Trail, so you won’t have service or Wi-Fi in your campsite or cabin.

But we now offer Wi-Fi at our Library/Camp Office (which is in progress) if you need to check in with someone at home, check the weather forecast or have another quick online task.

We see this as replacing the pay phone we had “back in the day” so campers could connect with others when needed. We encourage you to use it only when necessary and only for as long as necessary so your focus can be on your time away and the people you’re with.

Also, be courteous to anyone staying in White Pine Cabin (formerly Garden Cabin), which is in the same building. Please don’t sit on the porch when the cabin is in use. You’ll be able to get a signal nearby in your car or simply by walking near the building.

Enjoy the relaxed pace of life while you’re here and soak in the peace and quiet. An occasional media fast is life-giving!

Do you provide meals?

We do not provide meals, but each cabin has a kitchenette with a 5-gallon water cooler, small oven/stove and fridge, coffee maker, cookware and dishes.

The Dining Hall with a full industrial kitchen is also available for rent (more information here).

Are the buildings heated and/or air conditioned?

All buildings have electricity and a wood stove if needed. They have ceiling fans, but no AC.

Is there a place to have a campfire by the cabins?

There is one shared fire ring for the Retreat Center area. There is no fire ring for White Pine Cabin.

Is there an area for my group to meet?

Our Retreat Center (RC) is ideal for groups of up to 20 people who love a rustic and beautiful northwoods setting. It includes four Retreat Cabins, the Dining Hall and fire ring. It also includes free use of our canoes, along with our regular low rates for kayaks on Bow Lake.

The Dining Hall can also be reserved separately. Please email or call 218-388-2285 for more information and to book a stay for your group at the RC.

Additionally, we have group campsites for groups of 7-12 people.

Can I bring a motorized boat on the lake?

Bow Lake is a non-motorized lake. Electric motors are allowed but for canoes or small rowboats only. There’s no motorboat launch.

What are quiet hours?

Quiet hours are 10:00 pm – 8:00 am.

When is your Sunday Chapel Service?

We have Sunday morning Chapel services during our summer season and into the fall. They’re open to the public.

We begin at 10:00 on Sunday mornings. We have a time of worship, some fellowship with each other and teaching, via live or online. Coffee and tea is served.

We provide a few tabletop children’s activities during the service for your young ones. No dogs/pets please.

Does Okontoe still have a sleigh ride business?

We’re sorry, but Okontoe’s Sleigh Ride business (Patten Family Sleigh Rides) permanently closed at the end of the 2015 season. We no longer have the horses, sleighs or gear.

Unfortunately, several online sources still advertise them, which we’re not able to control.

Are you associated with any particular denomination?

Okontoe is an inter-denominational Christian ministry with a mission to be a place where people connect with Jesus, His family, and His creation.

Where can I get supplies if I forgot something?

Norwester Lodge and Trail Center Lodge, just a few miles up the Gunflint Trail, both have small stores. Otherwise, there are several stores in Grand Marais.