BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

January 15 2021

Entry Point 14 - Little Indian Sioux River North

Little Indian Sioux River (north) entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by La Croix Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 32 miles. Access is a 40-rod portage heading North from the Echo Trail.

Number of Permits per Day: 6
Elevation: 1364 feet
Latitude: 48.1466
Longitude: -92.2103

First trip to the western area BWCA

by paddelingruth
Trip Report

Entry Date: August 19, 2019
Entry Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
We left Lincoln early on Friday and headed to Fargo to make Sauerkraut, and stayed with Dan’s brother and family; it is always great to see them. Headed to Duluth on Saturday and camped at Indian Point Campground, it was just for a quick night of sleep and then headed to the North Shore area to drive on Lake Superior, we both love this area and we had to see if the Blueberries were in our usual place. Yes, the blueberries were there and we would have them for our pancakes in the BWCA. We then headed to Ely to find Voyager North for sleeping. We walked around the town and had a great supper and wonderful Custard at Red Cabin. YUMMY! Ely has a lot of neat shops. We stayed at Ely at Voyager North, Bunkhouse on Sunday evening. This unit had 3 separate rooms, each had 4 bunk beds & the common area was shared with 2 showers & one toilet. There was a microwave toaster, coffee maker, various teas & sugar etc. Well worth the stay. I am always amazed at dad’s who take their daughters into the BWCA, by themselves. There were 2 dads staying with their daughters. The kids were really excited.

Day 1 of 5

Monday, August 19, 2019 We decided to get up around 6:00 am to head out to Brittons Café, very good food & reasonable. There was only 3 other people in the café when we arrived. It didn’t take long for the place to start getting busy. There was a group of 6 people who came in that I thought that I recognized that had been at Trail Center last year, when we stopped for breakfast. I asked them if they had been at East Bear Skin last year. They said yes, they were curious, I explained we were there also. The one asked me if we had the black and white springer and I stated yes, talked to them for a little while. They have an adorable little granddaughter she is about 3 years old , and had a huge pancake the size of a dinner plate and was embarrassed how big it was. We laughed and exchanged emails. They had never been in this area either always did the East area of BWCA. We were headed to BWCA Entry Point 14: Little Indian Sioux River, Upper Pauness, Lower Pauness and Loon Lake We have our own Wenonah Boundary Waters, 17ft canoe that we bought used from Canadian Waters Outfitter on our way to the last canoe trip. He had showed Dan on a map about this canoe trip, so we decided to try it out. That is why we were in West area this time. We were on our way by 7:07 am, the road we were looking for was hwy or road #116 called the Echo Trail, it is listed as 88 on the hwy sign. After half hour of driving we ended up back at Hwy 1 to Ely. Some where we missed a sign. But that is okay we stopped for gas and we both used the facilities and off we went again. This time Dan took out his packed GPS and sure enough we found a very faded 116 sign and white and green street sign that said Echo Trail, so we arrived around 9 ish. By the time we got unloaded and walked to the put in we were canoeing by 10:10. There were 4 other groups putting in about the same time. Very busy portage. On the next portage there was 3 other groups coming out. It was cloudy and 74 degrees. The rice grass was pretty thick at times on the Little Indian Sioux river and the river was pretty low. It was two hours of paddling to get in to the Upper Pauness. We saw a group looking for camping spot so we moved on. The big site by the portage to Lower Pauness was full. The next site was open so we moved in. We were both beat seemed like we had to hurry the whole morning with so many coming and going. Windy We set up camp and took a nap, then headed out fishing. Dan caught a small bass and walleye. We saw otters, beaver, and a deer, eagle and 2 loons came to welcome us. We must be back in the BWCA, when the loons come and welcome you. We had our usually steak supper and mashed potatoes for supper over a nice fire. We then headed to bed.


Day 2 of 5

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 About 6:00 am it started storming. We had planned to get up early, get packed up and move on. We decided to go ahead and sleep in and stay where we were, we slept in until 9:00 am. When the rain stopped, we were still debating about going ahead and pack up and move, but it still looked like rain, plus we had no idea with all the people we saw coming and going yesterday if there would be an open campsite. We ate pancakes with blueberries then headed out fishing. I caught a walleye and Dan caught a few other fish. We started seeing other canoers coming in from area #14, two groups went all around the lake but didn’t stay. We saw 2 canoers come off of the portage into Lower Pauness, they told the 2 canoers waiting for the portage that Lower Pauness was full. The other 2 canoers took the site closets to leaving and the other 2 canoes moved past us toward the back of the lake. While we ate supper, another canoe came looking for a camp site. We had Mountain house Chili Mac for supper we ate early. We spent some time packing things and getting some stuff dried out it was Sunny and breezy now. Dan says we are expecting a low of 48 tonight. Tomorrow we will try to move on to Lower Pauness , Shell or Loon Lake.


Day 3 of 5

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 We were up at 7:00 am and packed up and ready to head out to Lower Pauness by 8:45. We were on the Portage & met a couple that just day tripping. We checked out a site we wanted it had campers so we went to the site across from the portage into Loon Lake. It was open so we took it. We were there and set up by 10:00 am, time to do some fishing. We both caught northern, Rock bass and small bass. Dan caught two more walleye. We were just using jigs. No rain, cool, breezy and cloudy. We headed in for an early supper of Chicken and rice, then back out for more fishing until 8:00ish. No keepers but we did keep catching fish. We were to late getting into the tent the mosquito's were everywhere. We wacked mosquito's for quite awhile in the tent. Today while being around the Portage into Loon lake we saw a few sets of canoers headed into the portage but only saw one head out. Tonight, we started reading “A walk in the woods”. We take turns reading out loud, I had to plug my ears on most of chapter one. The book is all about bears and killings.


Day 4 of 5

On the Water- Monday July 20th-
On the water late considering how far we need to go today. Up the Horse river to the falls by 6pm. Started raining and NO campsites available. Mudrow-Alruss-Tin can Mike-Horse Lake-Horse River-Basswood. 13 miles by water. (not counting portages)

Tuesday July 21st-
Rain all night, all morning and all day. Went north by petroglyphs, table rock and the the Crocked Lake Narrows across Thursday bay to campsite. Basswood-Crooked Lake-Wednesday Bay-Thursday Bay. 11 miles in the rain.

Wednesday July 22nd-
Up early and calm winds to take advantage of, considering the big water we have to cross. Found beaver dam to lift over and did a portage from hell between Pandos lake and Chippewa Lake. VERY steep and slippery after rain. Many mud holes. Then the mile portage after Wagosh Lake to Gun Lake. Never saw another soul in a canoe or campsite the entire day! Thursday bay-Friday Bay-Pandos Lake-Chippewa Lake-Wagosh lake-Gun Lake. 11 miles by water.

Thursday July 23rd-
Finally had a dry night. got everything dry!!! A few portages today to Fourtown Lake campsite. Easy day by comparison. Gun Lake-Fairy Lake-Boot Lake-Fourtown Lake. 6 miles. Put the long miles at the first of the week for a buffer for contingencies!

Friday July 24th-
Last day. Stormed last night bad. A few portages today with one bad one between Fourtown Lake and Mudrow lake. To entry point by 1pm. Ready for a hot shower! 4 miles

45 miles by water
13 miles by portage (3 trips each)
58 miles total.


Day 5 of 1

Friday, August 23, 2019 We were up by 7:00 am, started getting things together and ate breakfast, had a nice breeze and sunshine. We were able to put the tent and awnings on the rock to dry out, nice to have things dry, We were loaded and headed out by 10:00 am. There was a group of two canoes a head of us. They had put in on the same day as us. Then one other group of three guys seemed to be in a hurry, we let them go ahead of us. We did the paddle just fine today. Hated to leave the sunshine & warm weather. There were a lot of canoes headed in. We couldn’t believe the one group had no manners, they wanted to be on the portage and get their stuff in front of others. We gave them room. We were back to the put in by 12:30. We found our vehicle and loaded up. Headed back to Ely, stopped at Voyager to take showers, $10.00 for both. Very nice facility with a bathroom & shower together in individual room, two shower stalls also. We ate at DQ , had cheeseburgers! Yummy so good. We got out our cells to let family know we were out of BWCA and okay. It was 4:00 p.m. Dan decided to see how far he could drive, and we pulled into our driveway in Lincoln Nebraska at 2:30 a.m.

There is never a bad place to go in the Boundary waters, that is for sure, but we both felt like we enjoyed our past East areas more. There seemed to be so many people coming and going on this trip. I felt like the paddling in the Little Indian Sioux River was very hard with the tall rice grass. Thankful there was enough water there to paddle, but really had to reach out and paddle hard to get thru that area.


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