Canoeing on the Edge

Seagull Lake

Location: There are two good public accesses to Seagull Lake. The first is 54 miles up the Gunflint Trail from US Highway 61 in Grand Marais. The public landing is at the end of a short access road leading west (left) 1/4 mile from the Gunflint Trail. There are outhouses, a telephone, and picnic area adjacent to the large parking area.

Continue on the Gunflint Trail past this turnoff 3 miles to Trail's End Campground. A large parking lot serves public accesses to both Gull Lake (north of the parking lot) and Seagull Lake (south of the parking lot). A map and directory at the entrance will show you the way.

Daily Permit Quota: 13

Description: Trail's End is a nice, large National Forest campground that provides an excellent place for you to camp the night before your trip. There is a campsite fee. You may reserve sites in advance by calling the Superior National Forest.

Seagull is the third most popular entry point in the Eastern Region of the BWCA, but it receives nearly as many visitors as its northern neighbor, Saganaga Lake (ranked 2nd in the Eastern Region). In spite of its high daily quota, don't expect to just drop by and pick up a permit during the busiest parts of the summer. Permits may be hard to come by, because Seagull ranks 8th among all entry points for quotas filled the highest percentage of the time. It's a good idea to make a reservation in advance of your arrival.

Motors of 10 H.P. or less are allowed on Seagull Lake. Federal legislation in 1978, however, prohibited motorboats on the northbound route through Alpine and Red Rock lakes to Saganaga.

Much of the area immediately north of Seagull Lake was scarred by the Roy Lake Fire of 1976. West of Trail's End Campground, across the Seagull River, one sees a solemn reminder of that destructive blaze. Very little of that natural catastrophe, however, is visible from the lakes and streams on which you will be paddling. To the contrary, Seagull grants easy access to one of the loveliest parts of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and the entry lake itself is an island studded spectacle to behold.


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »