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Ellsworth Rock Gardens - Visitor Destination, Voyageurs National Park

Historic Site or District
Postcard View of Gardens – NPS

The Ellsworth Rock Gardens have been known as the “Showplace of Lake Kabetogama” since the 1940s. Jack Ellsworth, the garden’s creator and a self-taught artist, used natural elements of the native northern Minnesota landscape as his artistic media, creating an original and distinctive art environment on the north shore of Kabetogama Lake.

Over a period of roughly twenty years, Ellsworth, a carpenter from Chicago, used art and engineering to create a complex, terraced garden on a prominent rock outcrop. Ellsworth constructed 62 terraced flower beds on the outcrop, which he filled with more than 13,000 lilies and other flower varieties. He then accented his garden landscape with over 200 abstract rock sculptures that have been compared to the work of modern sculptors like Noguchi and Brancusi.

The uniqueness and magnitude of Mr. Ellsworth’s creation and the garden’s importance as a recreational destination since the 1940s establish its significance. The gardens are eligible for the National Register for Historic Places and are the most popular day use destination in Voyageurs National Park.

Time Period Represented


Accessibility Notes

Not Accessible

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are allowed but must be leashed and attended to at all times.


Seasons Open

Early May through October



Nearby Places