Planning your first visit to the BWCA ?
What’s a Rod?
How Many People can I Have in My Group?
What do you eat?
Not Sure Where to Start – keep reading below for all the answers and more…
– or just call us at Hard Water Sports 651 302 1774
Planning Your Boundary Waters Adventure
Frequently Asked Questions
When should we go to the Boundary Water Canoe Area?
The park is open year around to visitors. If you’re going for the canoe camping, the season starts as soon as the ice leaves the lakes. In 2013 this date fell near May 13, very late for BWCA ice out. A more normal ice out is in the middle of april. The BWCA sees its first rush of canoeists during Walleye fishing open, this falls on the second weekend in May (MN 2014 fishing opener 5/10/14).
– Spring paddling in the BWCA gives you long days, great fishing, no mosquitoes.
– Summer paddlers enjoy warn waters for swimming and very good fishing.
– Fall canoeists will notice quieter entry points, a big drop in the biting bugs, and more wildlife sightings.
– Winter campers leave their canoes at home and load ski-pulks with gear.
The paddling season ends with the lakes freezing over, this happens in the early to mid November. End of season canoe camping is magical, frosty morning with stream rolling off the lakes, birds in migration and from moose to mice – the wildlife is busy preparing for the long Minnesota winter that approaching.
How do I get to the BWCA?
Campers enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from one of over 60 entry points. Ely and Grand Marais are the 2 main gateways to the Park. From Ely paddlers have access to lakes along the Echo Trail and the Fernberg Trail. Grand Marais is located on lake Superior’s North Shore and gives canoeists access to the lakes along the Gunflint
For distant travelers the Minneapolis St Paul international Airport is the closes hub,
rent a car and drive (Minneapolis to Duluth 150 and 110 miles from Duluth to Grand Marais)
continue flying to either Duluth or Ely.
How much does it cost for a BWCA permit?
Permit Fees for Overnight BWCAW canoe camping between May 1 and September 30.
Youth -17: $8
(per person per trip)
permits may be reserved starting at 9AM Central Time on January 25
What is a Portage?
A portage is where you pick up your canoe and move it from one lake to another, or the trail that safely bypasses river rapids.
The BWCA has over 1,000 lakes and most are connected by rivers or portage paths, most of the portages are less than 20 rods in length. When choosing your route in the BWCA it is important to take into account the number and the length of the portages.
What is a Rod?
The length of a rod is 16½ feet or 1/320 of one mile. Roughly the length of canoe.
Where do I get a permit?
http://www.recreation.gov/ permits may be reserved starting at 9AM Central Time on January 25
Do I need a Minnesota fishing license?
Yes, most outfitter and bait shops sell them, 2013 $22 for a resident and $45 for non-residence.
How big of a group can I have in the BWCA?
The limit is 9 people and 4 watercraft.