The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is renowned for its abundant wildlife, clear cool waters, and vibrant forests. Join our seven-day Boundary Waters trip to explore deep into the rustic backcountry of this northern gem. Paddle our lightweight canoes on pristine lakes and rivers. Travel flora-filled portage trails. Enjoy wonderful meals prepared by our professional guides. Stretch out beneath the stars listening to loon calls as waves lap the shore. In a park of one million acres with over 60 starting points each route offers its own unique sights and adventures!
Wilderness Inquiry is one of the only organizations that provides two professional guides on its Boundary Waters trips. Our lightweight Wenonah canoes make paddling and portaging easier than ever.
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Paddle to an island campsite on the western side of Saganaga Lake.
Your trip will begin in the afternoon at one of the three BWCAW ranger stations. The trailer will be unloaded here and your gear packed into large dry bags. The first day’s paddle will be to a island campsite on the western side of Saganaga. Prepare dinner and enjoy an evening around the fire as you discuss trip expectations with your group.
Day 2: Navigate through Saganga's many islands before setting up camp at American Point.
Rise early for breakfast. Break camp and paddle east, navigating through Saganaga’s many islands. Enjoy lunch on Munker Island with a refreshing swim. Make camp on American Point, a short distance from Canadian soil. Enjoy a fire and camaraderie as the sun sets.
Day 3: Take a day trip to the Canadian border before returning to American point.
Wake up to a strong cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast. Today you will take a day trip to the Canadian border. Enjoy lunch on a large outcropping of the Canadian Shield. Take pictures next to large obelisks marking the border on Monument Portage. Return to American Point for another beautiful sunset.
Day 4: Make several portages to Red Rock and Alpine Lakes.
After breakfast break camp and load your boats for the paddle through Red Rock Bay towards the trip’s first portage. Enjoy the native foliage on the short 10-rod portage. Continue paddling south through Red Rock Lake. Challenge yourself to one more portage, this time 50 rods, before finding a beautiful campsite on Alpine Lake.
Day 5: Spend the day fishing, swimming, or exploring the shoreline on this layover day.
Take a slow morning as you settle in for a much-deserved layover day. Spend your time exploring the shoreline, fishing, or bird watching. Prepare a delicious lunch and learn about the Ham Lake fire of 2007.
Day 6: Make the final portage of your trip to Seagull Lake
Rise early and set out for your final portage of the trip. After following an easy portage to Seagull Lake, you will see the effects of the Ham Lake fire along the shoreline. Set up camp early and have time to enjoy your final afternoon.
Day 7: Paddle across Seagull Lake and say farewell to your trip mates.
Paddle across Seagull Lake to the access point. Help pack up the van and trailer for the ride home. Those who use WI's van transportation can expect to return to Minneapolis by that evening.
Dates & Fees
WI leads trips to this destination but currently has no dates scheduled for this itinerary. If you have a group of people interested, we can set up a customized adventure just for you! Please contact us or request a trip quote below if you are interested in a group trip to this destination.Request Trip Quote »
What to Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: The BWCAW lies on the Canadian Shield, and is characterized by exposed granite with a thin layer of topsoil. The lakes and trails make this wilderness area one of the most accessible in the country. The BWCAW offers a wide range of route options from very easy to very difficult. Wilderness Inquiry runs trips all over the wilderness area, on all kinds of routes. Your Wilderness Inquiry staff will determine the route you will take, based on wilderness conditions and your group’s interests. No previous experience is needed to complete this trip.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: You will travel in 18-foot ultra-lightweight Wenonah Kevlar canoes, which hold two to three paddlers, plus all necessary gear. An average day’s travel consists of 3-6 hours of paddling, and you can expect 2-4 portages (short trail crossings) per day. The portages tend to be hilly and range from 20 feet to 1/4 mile. Travel distances vary from 6-12 miles per day with the exception of scheduled layover days.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the summer range from 40 F to 95 F. Rainfall can vary, but you should expect at least a day or two of rain.
YOUR GROUP: Your group size will be no larger than 7 people, plus 2 Wilderness Inquiry staff. Most groups consist of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can. Part of the adventure involves learning about daily camp activities.
ACCOMMODATIONS: At night you will sleep in a comfortable tent that fits 2-3 people. Bathroom facilities consist of USDA Forest Service commodes.
MEALS: The fun of wilderness camping includes cooking in the wilderness, a challenge with great rewards. We pride ourselves on providing healthy ingredients for simple, plentiful dishes everyone will enjoy. Count on hearty breakfasts, trail lunches, plenty of snacks, and wonderful dinners, finished off with campfire s’mores. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group equipment. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.
COVID VACCINATION AND HEALTH PRE-SCREENING: All participants (and our staff) are required to be fully vaccinated (including the booster) at least 2 weeks prior to the trip start date.
In addition, upon your arrival, we will perform a health screening that will include confirming that you have no COVID-19 related symptoms (for example: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat) or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 related symptoms within the last 2 weeks. We will also take each group member’s temperature daily. If COVID-19 related symptoms develop during the trip experience, you are responsible for your quarantine and transportation needs that adhere to CDC guidelines. Please ensure that you have an emergency contact on file that would be able to assist.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: All participants and staff will wear properly fitting masks when social distancing is not possible (i.e. riding in the van, loading/unloading boats, cooking, etc.) or when requested by a WI staff member. As of Jan 15, 2022, KN95s or N95s are required for staff and participants. Cloth masks, buffs, bandanas, and scarves are not accepted face coverings. Thorough hand washing and/or gloves and masks will be worn during meal preparation.
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