Boundary Waters Canoe Adventures

Boundary Waters offer a unique experience–fishing in its wildest state

Spread over one million acres, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a vast expanse of Superior National Forest. It’s in Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region, straddling the Ontario border and Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. It beckons adventurers from across the globe. They come to experience an unspoiled wilderness setting. One not unlike early French Voyageurs explored over 200 years ago. This region features 1,500 miles of canoe routes and more than 2,000 US Forest Service campsites. It offers visitors an experience they won’t ever forget.

Large portions of Voyageur’s National Park and the Superior National Forest are “non-motorized” regions. Anchoring the western edge of this region is the community of Crane Lake. Crane Lake serves as the “end of the road” for vehicle access. Here, vacationers may choose from a variety of options for accessing the non-motorized areas. Remote lakes and streams, hiking and camping,  world-class fishing and abundant wildlife make this region famous.

Heading deeper in

The connected waterways leading away from the base of Crane Lake can be accessed by high-horsepower watercraft. This portion of the Boundary Waters is free from the motor restrictions in place at access points to the east. Heading northwest out of Crane Lake (3,000 acres), you’ll pass through Sand Point Lake (9,000 acres), and Namakan Lake (over 24,000 acres). Numerous other, smaller lakes and rivers adjoin these massive ones. Access these lakes by boat, pontoon, and even houseboat. But, to access the true wilderness, you need to venture farther off the main routes. You’ll soon run out of water where boats and motors are possible or permissible. In total, the BWCAW stretches for over 150 miles along the Minnesota/Canada border. It’s a truly vast wilderness setting.

Outfitting for family fun

Canoe outfitters offer the best way to reach these remote points and experience true wilderness experiences. Outfitters cater to all skill levels from novice to expert. Consequently, they can equip you with the basics, the necessities, and even a few luxuries. Supplies to make the experience as comfortable and efficient as possible. Trips can be a few days or stretch to multi-week timeframes. Canoeing adventures in Voyageur’s National Park (and Quetico Provincial Park, if you wish to enjoy the Canadian side of the border) offer families a chance to bond in ways that are increasingly difficult in today’s wired world. Sports teams, church groups, and school outings take advantage of canoe trips for many reasons. Chiefly, the bonding experience it provides. To quote the U.S. Forest Service: “Wilderness offers freedom to those who wish to pursue an experience of expansive solitude, challenge, and personal integration with nature.”

Answering the call of Canada

For the more experienced or simply more adventurous, Quetico Provincial Park beckons, if you wish to enjoy the Canadian side of the border. Here, in the Canadian equivalent of our National Park, you’ll find over 600 additional remote lakes and another 2,000-plus campsites to choose from. Crossing the international border requires proper government documentation. Adventures in the BWCAW, for campers and canoers, likewise require permits. Outfitters will assist you with the paperwork required in advance of your trip to make the process more simplified and streamlined.

World-class fishing

Fishing in the BWCAW is second-to-none. In these ultra-remote waters, walleyes bite on artificial lures and jigs tipped with plastics. Additionally, Smallmouth bass are abundant. And, because they have rarely (or have never!) seen a fishing lure, they offer explosive action along shorelines–especially on topwater lures or tube jigs and other plastic crayfish imitators. Huge northern pike roam the Boundary Waters, as well. Consequently, anglers fishing below waterfalls or in other current areas where small streams flow can enjoy great success. In addition, some lakes offer lake trout and other species.

Destination of a lifetime

There’s a reason why the Boundary Waters Area Canoe Wilderness (BWCAW) is one of National Geographic’s “50 Destinations of a Lifetime” and “the most visited wilderness in the United States.” With modern, ultra-lightweight equipment coupled with the experience and excellent service provided by a canoe outfitter, you can access the remote wilderness of Minnesota and Ontario this year. Start planning your trip right away, because permits limit the number of people who can utilize remote access points to the parks on any given day. Some peak dates fill up early. That being said, because Crane Lake is less well known as an access point compared to others, it is a great choice for this summer’s canoe adventure.