Canoe, Camp, Fish, and Explore The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Canoe Country consists of the BWCA – Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of northeastern Minnesota and the Quetico Provincial Park of Ontario, Canada. In total, Canoe Country contains more than 2 million acres of Northwoods wilderness with a couple thousand lakes. Portages connect these lakes and canoe trails. Opportunities exist to canoe, camp, fish and explore. Voyageurs crossed these routes hundreds of years ago.

Canoe Country – BWCAcanoeing the BWCA ely mn

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, usually called the BWCA or BWCAW, approaches one million acres in size and contains hundreds of lakes and rivers. Further, the BWCA contains over 1200 miles of canoe routes, 12 hiking trails, and over 2000 designated campsites.

The BWCA is located in the northern third of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. It extends nearly 150 miles along the International Boundary adjacent to Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park.  Finally, it is bordered on the west by Voyageurs National Park.

Canoe, Camp and Fish through BWCA a 200-year-old tradition

The BWCA is a true wilderness offering freedom to those who wish to pursue an experience of expansive solitude, challenge and personal integration with nature. This area was set aside in 1926 to preserve its primitive character. It was made a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1964. Thus, it allows visitors to canoe, portage, and camp in the spirit of the French Voyageurs of 200 years ago.

There is a delicate balance here. As you plan your trip to the BWCAW, remember that the same qualities which call you to this magnificent area are fragile. Steps you take today to preserve this area will benefit not only you but for future generations.


fishing the boundary watersCanoeing a 1,000 lakes in the BWCA

About 75% of the BWCA’s water area allows only non-motorized canoe travel. Portage trails connect most lakes and rivers. This results in over 1,500 miles of canoe routes in and around 1,000 pristine lakes and streams. Travelers can combine chains of lakes and portages of various lengths and difficulties to create either linear or circular routes. Moose Lake and Snowbank Lake near Ely are two of the most popular entry points. If your looking to learn more about canoeing the boundary waters feel free to reach out to us at Williams and Hall. We can help set up the perfect trip for you and your group. We can even secure permits and help plan routes.

Big Time Fishing in the Boundary Waters

Fishing is a popular activity in the BWCA. Game species include northern pike, walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, whitefish, and lake trout, among others. A small number of lakes contain brook trout as well. Popular lures include Rapalas, jigs, and spoons.  Live bait such as leeches works well too.  A BWCA fishing trip will make you feel like a pro no matter what your level of fishing experiences your looking for. Everybody can catch fish here. If you’re looking for more information on fishing, and fishing trips visit or BWCA Fishing Trips page. Our professional fishing guides can help set up your trip, make fishing suggestions, and give you tips with gear. Call us 218-365-5837, or Contact us for more information!



Camping and hiking the BWCA

Hiking the BWCA Boundary Waters  Canoe Area Wilderness Trails

The BWCA has several long-distance trails. The two most popular are the Kekekabic trail and the Border Route Trail

The Kekekabic Trail traverses the Boundary Waters from the Gunflint Trail on the east to Snowbank Lake. It is the only footpath through the center of the wilderness. The Kekekabic is the shorter of the two routes ranging 41 miles long. There are many stream crossings and the trails can be challenging depending on the time of year you hike it. 5-6 days is ideal.

The Border Route Trail is the first long-distance backpacking and hiking trail in Minnesota that was planned by volunteers, runs east-west for over 60 miles (97 km) through the eastern BWCAW.  There are many dramatic views of lakes, 100+-year-old forests, cliffs, and waterfalls. Because of the time, distance and limited water access in areas this is the more challenging of the two trails.

Both the Border Route and the Kekekabic Trail are unofficially part of the longer North Country National Scenic Trail. And, there are also three longer loop trails in the Boundary Waters: the Pow Wow Trail, the Snowbank Trail, and the Sioux-Hustler Trail.


Come Explore the Boundary Waters Today

At Williams and Hall, we want you to have an amazing Boundry Water experience that’s unlike any other. National Geographic Traveler magazines “50 places of a lifetime,” listed The boundary waters canoe area is one of the worlds “must-see” destinations. Needless to say, exploring this beautiful country is a must! We can help set you set up a trip, make route suggestions if canoeing is part of your plan, and help with what gear you’ll need. We can even help secure permits. To request more information Call us at 218-365-5837, or Contact us today and start this year’s, Boundary Waters Adventure!

Friends and Family together in the BWCA