Boundary Waters Permit Information

 Overview

Permits are required for groups to enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) during all seasons. Between May 1st and September 30th, permits need to be reserved and are limited by day and by entry point to reduce impact on the wilderness. It is essential to plan your trip early. After September 30th through April 30th, reservations for a permit are not required. Day use permits do not require reservation and are free.

 Lottery

For the most precious of permits which generally involve a motor, there is a lottery which is drawn in January and requires entry of lottery requests prior to that. Most paddling adventures do not require that you enter the lottery as was the case in the past. Please refer to the the General Reservation section below for regular permit booking.

The BWCAW 2017 lottery application period began December 14, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. CST through January 11, 2017, 9:00 p.m. CST. The lottery is for the following entry points and dates:

  • Fall Lake entry points D (Fall Lake, Newton Lake, Pipestone and Beyond) and 24 (Fall Lake);
  • Moose Lake entry points F (Moose Lake to Newfound and Sucker Lakes), G (Moose Lake to Prairie Portage to Basswood Lake) and 25 (Moose Lake).
  • Lottery applies to permit dates between May 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017.
Lottery results will be available on January 18, 2017.

 General Permit Reservations

Reservations for all entry points can be made on a first-come, first-served basis beginning January 25, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.

You can contact an outfitter who can not only help you plan and outfit a trip but also to book your permit for you. Permits are also available directly at Recreation.gov.