Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

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Fenske Lake, Minnesota (Photographer's Choice/Getty)
Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Contact Details
Superior National Forest
8901 Grand Ave Pl
Duluth, MN 55808
Phone: 218-626-4300
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Within Minnesota's Superior National Forest lies the renowned Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). This labyrinth of lakes and rock has been specifically protected as a true American wilderness; no roads, powerlines, or motorized craft may enter its borders, so the Boundary Waters has changed little since its unveiling when the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago. Over one million acres in size, the BWCAW extends nearly 150 miles along the Canadian border adjacent to Quetico Provincial Park.

The wilderness area offers breathtaking beauty. Waterfalls, sheer rock cliffs, and deep, crystal-clear lakes abound. Moose, deer, beaver, and otter are just a few of the mammals you may encounter during your travels. The BWCAW is also one of the largest bald eagle nesting areas in the lower forty-eight states. Ospreys, loons, ducks, and songbirds fill the woods and waterways with their enchanting songs and calls.

The Boundary Waters area contains several thousand portage-linked lakes and streams, interspersed with islands, forests, and crags. It has no piped water, prepared shelters, or signs pointing the way. Within these borders, you can canoe, portage, and camp in the spirit of the French-Canadian Voyageurs of 200 years ago. The Boundary Waters' 1,200 miles of paddling routes offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, remoteness, reflection, and spiritual renewal.

Smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, and lake trout are abundant throughout both the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park. With "canoe only" access, fishing in these wilderness lakes is superior to areas more exposed to public use.

Thousands of visitors come to canoe the BWCAW area each year, and numerous others are drawn to this timeless, northwoods destination to fish, ski, and dogsled. Making about four to five portages—or one half-mile portage—into either wilderness area will allow you to travel beyond many of the popular base camp areas, and leave your cares behind in one of the most spectacular wilderness regions in North America.

Thanks to Canadian Border Outfitters for adding their love and knowledge to our information on Boundary Waters.


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