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Canoeing the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Grand Marais, Minnesota


Route Type



Added by Brian Washburn

This is an amazing canoe-only wilderness that allows one to truly escape civilization. The views are amazing and the joy is being fully submersed in nature.

This is the what's considered the 'eastern' side of BWCA.  The permit is for Duncan Lake and it can be done as a loop in 2-4 days depending on how fast one goes.  Starting at Bearskin Lake, one paddles over to the first portage that connects to Duncan Lake.  This is where the BWCA officially begins.  There are campsites available in Duncan, but one can continue on to the portage to Rose Lake.  This is one of the most beautiful spots in the BWCA, so it would be wise to take one's time and really enjoy the scenery.  Do some fishing, and hiking here.  Canada is just across Rose Lake.  One can then go to the eastern edge of Rose lake and get to one of the longest portages in the BWCA.  This is nearly a mile long portage (which is measured in rods).  Again, take your time and enjoy the scenery and foliage.  You should be able to see a moose, deer, or bears here, too.   After this portage is Daniels Lake, which is a long lake, but not too wide.  It could take some time to paddle through to the end, but there are campsites here, too.  This leads to the last portage that puts you back into Bearskin Lake and it's a straight shot back to the parking lot.  If you use an outfitter, which is recommended, then you'll just leave the canoes here and it it highly highly recommended to make your first pit stop at World's Best Donuts in Grand Marais.  Nothing beats a good doughnut after few amazing days of camping.     

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