Moderate BWCA Canoe Trips
Ideal Canoe Trips of 3 to 6 days
The Granite River Route
This scenic route leaves right from our dock and follows the border all the way to Saganaga Lake. The
route name is a bit of a misnomer, as in fact it is a series of small to medium sized lakes all connected with pretty waterfalls and rapids. There are a variety of comfortable campsites (from rocky points to sand beaches), there is walleye and smallmouth fishing, and the blueberry picking is fantastic in late July or early August.
There are 8 portages on this route along with one class 1 rapids you might wish to consider running. The longest portage is 100 rods (about ¼ of a mile) and the rest are shorter but a bit rough (rocks and wet spots here and there). You end up on Saganaga lake at the end of your trip where we will pick you up with our van for the 15 minute ride back to our base.
Johnson Falls Trip
This loop trip goes from East Bearskin Lake to Clearwater Lake (works good going in either direction), and combines scenic medium sized lakes, reasonable portaging, decent fishing for bass and walleye, and the feature of Johnson Falls. To reach the falls you walk up a small valley through a cedar. When the valley opens up at the falls there is a sparkling swimming pool below it. It is a wonderful place to spend part of a sunny afternoon. While most of the portages are moderate there is one exception. The longest portage has a decent trail, goes up a long gradual hill, and is about 3/4 mile long. Many of the lakes have thick stands of white and red pine along the shore. Moose sightings are frequent. There are many nice campsites to choose from.
Hansen Lake Loop
We usually start this trip from Seagull Lake and end it on Saganaga Lake so you have the probability of a tail wind as you cross Sag on your last day. This trip has a nice mix with a variety of lakes, combined with fishing and wildlife viewing. If you can stay out for 6 nights of camping it gives you the opportunity to spend a couple of nights in one location so you can have a soft day in the middle of your trip. This loop takes you deep into the BWCA and comes around along the Minnesota-Canadian border on Otter Track and Saganaga Lakes. Fishing is for bass, walleye, lake trout and some northern. A couple of the trout and bass lakes are among the best in the BWCA.
The portages vary up to ¼+ mile in length, most have a decent path, and only a couple have much of a change in elevation. The lakes are medium to large in size which is fine if you have decent paddling skills. It is possible to arrange for a tow back across Saganaga at the end of your trip if you would like to avoid padding across your last large lake.
Rose Lake Route
We start you on West Bearskin Lake and you head north through Duncan Lake and on toward Rose Lake. You cross Stairway Portage, a particularly scenic spot, as you leave Duncan Lake . A few feet off the portage is a beautiful overlook at the top of a cliff. The entire Canadian valley opens up north of you with Rose Lake sparkling in the background. Fortunately you are going down Stairway Portage (108 log steps) as you journey on to Rose Lake and a pine studded campsite for the coming night. The lake is known for outstanding bass fishing so it is worth fishing for your dinner.
Rose Lake is a border lake so the north half is in Canada. You continue your trip heading west thru Mud, Rat, South, North and Gunflint Lakes. You cross the Laurentian Divide between South and North Lakes; you leave the Atlantic watershed and enter the headwaters of the Arctic watershed, much as the voyageurs did. On this route you paddle back right back to our dock on Gunflint.