Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Trip Planning Forum
      Anyone done Clearwater Lake loop?     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

Renol
member (26)member
 
11/29/2017 08:11PM
Clearwater Lake route

I was looking around and researching trip options for next year. I saw this with two potential loops that looked appealing but wanted to get more information.

Specifically I'm referring to the Clearwater loops both short and long. I was wondering what the approximate travel times were for each one (assuming that info is available)?

At this time I'm figuring a party of two sometime mid to late September with the thought of catching the early fall color transitions. We'd be renting a canoe from Clearwater outfitters and possibly renting a few pieces of gear such as water-tight sacks to store gear. We're pretty set with gear for backpacking but canoeing is new to us so I'm open to suggestions for other gear items that are more suited for the different conditions. 

Party wise it'd be my wife and I. We're in decent shape and can handle a good hike with gear. We did BRT from Crabhead to Clearwater last year and had a blast (minus the unexpected destroyed area around southlake) so we're somewhat aware of how the terrain can be at times.

Any suggestions or input is greatly appreciated.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
11/30/2017 09:42AM
I have not done these particular loops, but I did find some information on the southern short route in Daniel Pauly's book, "Exploring the Boundary Waters." It is his route 62C on page 387. I'll quote a bit from his introduction to this route.

"The operative word on this magnificent journey is 'big.' It is a big loop with big lakes connected by big portages. Depending on wind strength and direction, it may also have big waves. If you have little experience and huge packs, it is also a big mistake! Strong paddlers with light packs will have a great trip."

Pauly has this additional information:
difficulty = moderate
number of days = 4 or more
total miles = 33
number of portages = 9
total portage distance = 958 rods
greatest portage difficulty = 200 rods with Pauly's highest degree of difficulty (the portage from Caribou to Clearwater)
Renol
member (26)member
 
11/30/2017 09:59AM
Thanks for the info. I guess I'll read into it while considering a simpler trip.
11/30/2017 10:07AM
Also see the information in this thread from January 2017.

Clearwater-Pine Loop
jwartman59
distinguished member(3074)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/30/2017 11:16AM
i love this area. campsites are not as nice as other areas in the bwca but the scenery more than makes up for that. mcfarland lake is fairly developed, myself i would be disappointed to paddle this lake midway in a trip, i usually start at johns lake.
salukiguy
distinguished member(517)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/30/2017 12:10PM
I have done the Clearwater loop and really enjoyed it. There is a nice trip report on here also from a couple guys who did it about 2 years ago. Fortunately the winds were light for us as there are some long lakes to traverse. The scenery is great. Fishing was pretty good too. We had 4 camps during our 4 night trip. West Pike, East Pike, Pine, and Caribou. We hiked to Johnson Falls also. The only drawback was coming out of the wilderness briefly at McFarland Lake but we slipped through there without seeing anyone.
Lightfoot
distinguished member (433)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/30/2017 12:36PM
Here's a trip report on the loop we did in 2011.

2011 Clearwater loop
dew042
distinguished member (237)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/30/2017 06:21PM
The wind is no joke, it can howl west to east. I think you'd have to plan in some extra time in case you get socked in.

The area is big, often epic, and beautiful, well worth the challenges.
4keys
distinguished member(576)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/30/2017 06:52PM
We have gone from Clearwater to Pine, but not in a loop. Pine is pretty, but very big. Plan on a long haul there, especially against the wind. Be very aware and cautious of the winds and waves on Pine. Be sure to stop at Johnson Falls.

Last time we were up there the waves were also scary on the west end of Clearwater.

Gear wise, we just use our regular backpacking packs. External frames don't work, but internal are ok.
If you don't hike with a tarp, you might want to add it to your BW list.
A gravity filter is another lightweight item you may or may not take hiking.
Renol
member (26)member
 
12/23/2017 07:50PM
Lightfoot: "Here's a trip report on the loop we did in 2011.


2011 Clearwater loop "



This was extremely helpful. Thank you very much for posting it and sharing.
Lightfoot
distinguished member (433)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/26/2017 12:32PM
I'm glad you found it helpful.

This year we did a loop starting at Clearwater, through Mountain and Moose, then back through the Pike Lakes. We had an excellent campsite on John Lake, right where the Royal River leaves the lake.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions.
12/30/2017 09:36AM
Lightfoot: "I'm glad you found it helpful.


This year we did a loop starting at Clearwater, through Mountain and Moose, then back through the Pike Lakes. We had an excellent campsite on John Lake, right where the Royal River leaves the lake.


Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions."


Hey, Brent! Hope your family is enjoying the holidays. Last year Allie went on her first trip without me in the BW, and she and her paddling partner started and ended at Clearwater. At one point (Clearwater to Caribou), they misread a portage and ended up hauling their gear up to the top of the bluff on Clearwater! That made for a great picture, but a long day...!

That is a beautiful area, and I want to d the big loop some day. My concern is the volume of people in July/August-the only times I could do it.
Lightfoot
distinguished member (433)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/31/2017 08:38PM
Frenchy19: "Lightfoot: "I'm glad you found it helpful.



This year we did a loop starting at Clearwater, through Mountain and Moose, then back through the Pike Lakes. We had an excellent campsite on John Lake, right where the Royal River leaves the lake.



Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions."



Hey, Brent! Hope your family is enjoying the holidays. Last year Allie went on her first trip without me in the BW, and she and her paddling partner started and ended at Clearwater. At one point (Clearwater to Caribou), they misread a portage and ended up hauling their gear up to the top of the bluff on Clearwater! That made for a great picture, but a long day...!


That is a beautiful area, and I want to d the big loop some day. My concern is the volume of people in July/August-the only times I could do it. "


Mark, I remember the photo you posted of Allie sitting on top the bluff. I showed it to Jody and she got a kick out of seeing it. Hope 2018 is a good year for you and all your girls.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next