BOUNDARY COUNTRY TREKKING
BWCA Canoe Trip Routes
Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, MN
Following are a few of our favorite Boundary Waters canoe routes. Under "sites to see and things to do," we list interesting sites and places you might want to visit. Included in this list are places where past generations of people left their mark. The area we now know as the Boundary Waters has been inhabited by people for some ten-thousand years— first by native people, then by voyagers, explorers, miners, loggers, homesteaders and now you.
Whatever route you choose we will go over with you the many interesting things to do and sites to visit along the way.
However, it should be noted that any man-made artifacts found in the area are there only to be viewed and photographed. It is strictly against the law to remove, move or destroy any artifacts you find.Back to Canoe Trips
Begin at our dock, paddle through Poplar, Lizz, Caribou, Horseshoe and Gaskin Lakes. Base camp in Gaskin lake or the next lake, Winchell. Great camp sites on both lakes. Nice old-growth pine in Caribou, Horseshoe and Gaskin. Explore the many day-loops in this area from your base camp. Or move your camp each day making a loop from Winchell, through the less traveled lakes of Omega, Henson, Pillsbury, Allen and back to Horseshoe, Caribou, Lizz, Poplar and return to our dock.Sites to see and things to do:
Begin at our dock paddle through Poplar, Lizz, Caribou, Horseshoe, Gaskin to Winchell. From Winchell paddle to Brule through Wanihigan, Grassy and Mulligan Lakes. Then return to Winchell through the Cones and Cliff Lakes. Cliff lake lives up to its name and truly is surrounded by cliffs. From Winchell, return to our dock through Omega, Henson, Pillsbury, and Allen to Horseshoe, caribou, Lizz, and Poplar. With the exception of Winchell and Brule, most of the lakes along this route are small. Portages are fairly easy and well traveled with the exception of a couple longer ones out of Wanihigan Lake.Sites to see and things to do:
Beginning at Gunflint Lake, follow the legendary Voyageur Highway along the U.S.-Canadian Border through Little Gunflint, North, South, Rat, Rose, Duncan to West Bearskin Lakes, moving camp as you go. On this route you paddle through some of the Boundary Waters clearest lakes. Plan to spend at least one day sightseeing at the famed Rose Lake Stairway Portage and Falls. Since most of the lakes are large on this route, wind could force you to hold-up at a campsite. No problem though! This delay would give you chance to do a little hiking on the Border Route Hiking Trail.Sites to see and things to do:
Begin at our dock, paddle through Poplar Lake, take the one-mile portage into Skipper Lake, then lift-over a beaver dam and paddle through a beaver swamp to Little Rush. Watch for moose! Short rough portage into Rush Lake, then into Banadad (Ojibwa word for "lost") crossing the Banadad Ski Trail. From Banadad, travel through a series of small lakes with long, rugged portages into Long Island. There are many good camping sites on Long Island, good lake trout fishing and it is a beautiful lake. Return through Muskeg, Kiskadinna, Omega (Ojibwa word for "beaver"), Hanson, Pillsbury, Allen, Horseshoe, Caribou, Lizz, Poplar and back to our dock. The lakes in this route tend to be small and narrow with the exception of Long Island, which is large and is dotted with islands. Not many canoeists go this way, so much of the route is very remote and quiet.Sites to see and things to do:
Put in at West Bearskin Lake and travel through Duncan Lake to Rose Lake along the U.S.-Canadian Border. Base camp at either Duncan or Rose. Plan on spending at least one day at the famed Stairway portage and Rose Lake Falls. Nice bathing under the falls and Rose is a great lake for swimming. Rose Lake is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the BWCA. Return through Duncan or loop back through Daniels Lake along old railroad grade portage. Watch for large beaver pond that regularly floods the trail, making passage difficult. Return to West Bearskin. Trip can be extended by portaging from Rose over the long portage to Rove Lake then paddle through Rove, Watap, Mountain and Clearwater Lakes, ending at the Clearwater public landing.Sites to see and things to do:
Begin at our dock, paddle through Poplar, one mile portage into Skipper Lake, then lift-over a beaver dam and paddle through a beaver swamp to Little Rush. Watch for moose! Short rough portage into Rush Lake. Set-up base camp in either Rush Lake or the next lake, Banadad. There are nice camp sites on either lake. Not many people come this way since most canoeists shy away from the mile portage from Poplar. Banadad Lake is very remote and quiet. Return to our dock by same route.Sites to see and things to do:
Start at East Bearskin lake then base camp on Alder or Canoes. Take a side trip hiking over the challenging Canoe to Pine Lake Portage to view Johnson Falls. You might want to try taking a dip in the pool below the falls. Return route to East Bearskin or Flour Lake. If you are on the Bike-Canoe Combo, you spend a night at the Flour Lake Campground and the next morning pedal the rough Clearwater Trail or as an alternative, bike the gravel Clearwater Road back to Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B.Sites to see and things to do:
You begin at Ham Lake through Cross Bay Lake. Cross Bay has lots of lily pads and is a favorite of moose. From Cross Bay, canoe to Rib and George Lakes then on to Long Island with its scores of islands, fine campsites and outstanding lake trout fishing. Long Island is a good place to spend a night or two. Canoe from Long Island to Poplar via either of two routes. The first route is through a series of small lakes with long-rugged portages into Banadad, the Rushes, Skipper, and ending at our place on Poplar Lake. This route is very remote and worth the extra effort. The other route you canoe from Long Island is through Muskeg, Kiskadinna, Omega, Hanson, Pillsbury, Allen and into Horseshoe, Caribou Lizz and back to our dock on Poplar Lake. This alternative offers shorter, more traveled portages. The lakes in both routes tend to be small and narrow. With either route, you are going to see a lot of the BWCA.Sites to see and things to do:
Start at East Bearskin through Alder and Canoe Lake then over the challenging Canoe-Pine Lakes Portage to Pine Lake. Plan to spend at least a day on Pine to view Johnson Falls and taking in the lake's great fishing. You might want to try taking a dip in the pool below the falls. Return route through Caribou, Deer Lakes and finish at Flour Lake. If you are on the Bike-Canoe Combo you spend your last night on the trail at the Flour Lake Campground. The next morning, pedal the rough Clearwater Trail or as alternative, bike the gravel Clearwater Road back to Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B.Sites to see and things to do: