Canoeing on the Edge

Lake One
Camping lakeside
Camping lakeside

Location: Lake One is 17 miles straight east of Ely. To get there, follow the Fernberg Road for 19 miles from the Voyageur Visitors Center to its end. A large parking lot is adjacent to the nice public landing.

Daily permit quota: 18

Description: Camping is prohibited at the landing. A National Forest Campground is located next to Fall Lake, 14 miles closer to your trip. A fee is charged.

Before the BWCA Wilderness Act of 1978, Lake One served as access to an extensive (and popular) motor route that extended as far east as Alice Lake and looped north through Thomas and Ima Lakes to Snowbank Lake. Motorboats, though, are no longer allowed on the Lake One chain, and all of the lake is contained within the BWCA.

That was unfortunate for aquatic motorists, but it was a delightful turn of events for wilderness canoeists. Lake One may be confusing to even an experienced map reader, so don't leave home without your compass. And bring along plenty of film! You'll encounter beautiful scenery regardless of which route you choose. Moose are abundant in this region, too.

With 18 permits allowed for Lake One visitors each day, it might appear that an advance reservation would not be necessary. Wrong. Lake One ranks high (18th in 1993) among entry points in percentage of time that the quota is filled. If you are planning to start your trip on Saturday, Sunday or Monday any time from mid-May through the end of August, make your reservation early. After your trip begins, it won't take you long to discover why Lake One and the region beyond it are so popular.


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »