Located along the Canadian border, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is known for its expansive wilderness. Join our five-day Boundary Waters trip to paddle the pristine lakes of this northern gem. Experience stillness, silence and solitude as you travel among the pines, birch and cedar. Listen to loons call as the sun rises to burn mist off of a mirror-still lake. Relax around an evening campfire and watch for shooting stars and northern lights. Our lightweight Wenonah canoes make paddling and portaging easier than ever.
Travel Safely With Us
Whether you are an outdoors enthusiast or looking to try something new, Wilderness Inquiry makes it easy to enjoy the great outdoors. We take care of all the planning, provide meals and gear, and our guides ensure that all travelers are able to safely participate in activities. Not only will you have a fun and meaningful personal experience, but every trip you take with Wilderness Inquiry helps provide access to outdoor experiences for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Travel with us today!
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Meet your trip mates and paddle from Brule Lake to Jock Mock Bay.
Your trip starts in the afternoon at one of the BWCA ranger stations. You will drive to your entry point where the trailer will be unloaded and your gear packed into large dry bags. The first day’s paddle will be from the Brule Lake access point to a campsite in Jock Mock Bay. In camp you will prepare dinner and enjoy an evening around the fire as you discuss trip expectations.
Day 2: Paddle the serene waters north to Cone Bay before traversing several portages to Winchell Lake.
Wake up early for great coffee and breakfast and review canoeing skills. Break camp and get underway, paddling north to Cone Bay and traversing several portages into Winchell Lake. Find a nice campsite on the north shore of Winchell and settle in for an evening around the fire.
Day 3: Spend a day hiking the palisades of Winchell Lake.
You'll spend a layover day on Winchell Lake. The southern shore of Winchell has steep cliffs and palisades. If the group is feeling ambitious, you may climb up the cliff for a spectacular view. Otherwise, take a day trip to the east end of the lake or visit the nearby Omega Lake and Gaskin Lake.
Day 4: Fish, bird watch, and explore the area surrounding Brule Lake.
In the morning travel south through several portages and camp on the east end of Brule Lake. As the group learns to work together, more time is set aside for fishing, bird watching, exploring and learning camp crafts.
Day 5: Make your final paddle across Brule Lake and say farewell to your group mates.
Rise with the sun and paddle across Brule Lake. Pack up the van for the ride home, the trip officially ends in the late morning.
Dates & Fees
WI leads trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness but currently has no dates scheduled. 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 BWCA 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 BWCA 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 trail guides 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: As part of our ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols, all of our groups in 2021 will be made up of 3-7 people who know each other and have indicated they are comfortable traveling together and 1 Wilderness Inquiry guide. We welcome 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. This itinerary is not recommended for youth under 10.
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 gear and equipment. You will be assigned the same gear for the duration of your trip and it will be sanitized between trips. 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.
HEALTH PRE-SCREENING: 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 your trip, the trip will end immediately and everyone must return home as soon as safely able.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: All participants and staff will wear masks when social distancing is not possible (i.e. loading/unloading boats, cooking, etc.) or when requested by a WI staff member. Participants will provide their own transportation to/from programming sites. Participants and staff will not share vehicles. Where available, participant groups will be assigned their own bathroom for the duration of the trip. When not possible, such as in backcountry sites, cleaning between each use will be facilitated. Thorough hand washing and/or gloves and masks will be worn during meal preparation.Read more »