Canoe to the Palisades on Seagull Lake in the BWCA

Rate this Adventure Minnesota Seagull Lake Boat Launch at Trail's End Campground

Added by Joe Whitson

This short day trip will take you to a beautiful overlook with the chance for excellent fishing and wildlife viewing along the way. It is a great way to experience the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) without the hassle of a multi-day excursion.  

Begin your trip at the Seagull Lake boat launch at Trail's End Campground. The campground, located in Superior National Forest at the very end of the Gunflint Trail, is an hour and half drive from the nearest town of Grand Marais and is a great place to stay the night before. There are no motors allowed in the BWCA, so you will need a canoe or kayak, which you can rent from the nearby Voyageurs Canoe Outfitters. They will drop the canoe off right at the landing and pick it up again when you are done. You will also need a day permit to enter the wilderness area, which you can get for free from Voyageurs as well. 

The Palisades are a series of cliffs located at the end of a peninsula in the northwestern part of the lake, across from Miles Island. Seagull lake is about 4300 acres and contains over a hundred islands. It can be very difficult to navigate and it is easy to get turned around in the many channels and bays. Either carry a map and compass with you or pre-download a map of the area on Google Maps - you will not have cell service or data access, but GPS will still work. 

The route is 4 miles roundtrip and takes about an hour of paddling each way. If you have a Minnesota fishing license, take your time and fish along the way. Seagull Lake is known for lake trout, walleye, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. At the southernmost point of the peninsula there is a spur trail where you can climb up to the top of the cliffs. Eat lunch, forage for wild blueberries, and explore the forest before heading back or exploring more of the lake.  

Pack List

  • Map & Compass
  • Permit
  • Water or Water Filter
  • Fishing Gear & License 
  • Camera 
  • Snacks
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Camping, Canoeing, Chillin, Fishing, Kayaking, Photography, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn


Family Friendly
Swimming Hole

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Added by Joe Whitson

Minnesota Native. Check me out on Instagram: @joewhitson and feel free to shoot me an email if you want to talk more about things to do in Minnesota:

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