BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog
February 08 2023
Number of Permits per Day: 5
Elevation: 1348 feet
A favorite route offering many trip options and memorable things to see including;
World Class fishing for all four BWCA Species
Soaring granite hills and cliffs
Tumbling rapids and waterfalls
Wildlife, including Moose
Vistas from high points across the region if you're willing to climb. Rating Easy to Moderate. Day One. Get to EP16 off of the Echo Trail early. The initial portage is long, but well worn and smooth, sloping gently downgrade to the launch area. Load your canoe and head North. You'll be paddling with the slight current on this narrow winding river. The water is clear and make sure to tell the bowperson to watch for looming rocks!
Father's and Son's
August 09, 2011
Moose/Portage River (north)
Number of Days:
After driving up from the Twin Cities, we spent the first night with our outfitter, Jordan’s. Mark was a wonderful host. He and his wife made us a pancake breakfast before hitting the road at about 7:30 on Tuesday morning. After a 45 minute drive to EP16, we were unloaded and on the trail by about 8:30. Despite the good breakfast and adrenalin pumping, that first 160r portage was still a challenge. At that point we realized we were going to do some work. Not knowing what we were capable of, we decided that a good campsite on the north end of Agnes would be our goal for the day. After making that by 1:30, we pushed on and made it to a fantastic 5 star site on LLC by 3:30. It was a great days work. With a strong sense of accomplishment, we set up camp and got the fishing poles out. As none of us had been in a canoe for any length of time prior to our trip, we decided to stay on land and messed around fishing from shore while Mark C. got our spaghetti going. After an hour or so Bill had a few small walleyes so I cleaned them and boiled the fillets to make our pasta dinner more worthy of the north woods.
Since I was anxious to fish and wasn’t used to sleeping in a tent, I got up as the sun was rising. The rest of the group took advantage of our layover day and slept in. I hooked up my depth finder and quickly learned the difficulties of fishing from an empty, 44-pound Kevlar canoe. Once that nose goes up and a breeze grabs it, you’re pretty much at the mercy of the wind (my inexperience showing). Thankfully, my son Erik got up about an hour latter and joined me on the water. Not venturing far, we picked up a couple nice eating northerns (Erik’s was about 31 inches) so we had a good starting point for lunch. We enjoyed the rest of the day swimming, playing cards and doing a little more fishing.
As tempting as it was to stay and enjoy our peaceful 5 star camp, we knew that resting wasn’t one of our pre-trip goals. After a quick breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, we packed up and headed for Iron and the beautiful Curtain Falls. It was a perfect day of calm water and blue sky’s so the distances closed quickly. And with only the Bottle portage to deal with we knew we should be looking for prime campsites by shortly after noon. Unfortunately I didn’t use the compass (again, my inexperience) and added about a mile to our route. Still, we checked out a few empty spots and settled on the last site on the lake closest to the falls before 2:30. After a quick lunch and camp set up, we were off to explore the falls. It was everything we had expected. The boys all got great photo ops and we laid in the gushing white water on the sides. We also fished the pools below several of the rapids and were rewarded with a couple walleye, small-mouth, and large-mouth. Joe also had the thrill of bringing in a bass and having if devoured by a monster pike. That night we enjoyed the end of our steak (now warm for 2 days) and fish with rice and beans. Because we hung around by the falls so long we were a little slow getting camp set for the night. While finishing dinner the wind switched direction and started blowing like crazy. A few seconds later we heard the sickening sound of a canoe bouncing across the rocks. One of the canoes that was upside down but not yet tied, decided to take off. Fortunately Mark C. was quick to the rescue and swam out about 20 yards to retrieve it. The trip had gone so perfectly, I guess we were due for a little excitement.
Friday morning we broke camp at about 10:00 to another beautiful day. Our plan was to check out Rebecca falls before heading back to Agnes for our last night. Because the water level was so low, the falls was less than spectacular so we on kept moving across Iron, Bottle, LLC and out to Agnes. We made it there by about 3:30 and got a nice site on the north end of the lake. We spent a little time fishing but action was pretty slow and the boys were content hanging around a fire and talking about our trip. It had been a fantastic few days so spending the time relaxing and exchanging stories was great.
Mark from Jordan’s was picking us up at 2:00 so after a quick, but wonderful “fried cakes” breakfast, we packed up for our paddle back to EP16. Over the previous few days our strength and technique must have improved (we probably looked pretty rough starting out) as we made it back in about 4 hours (5 hours coming in the first day). Coming out on a Saturday was a little crazy, we must have passed 50 people on the various portages (quite a difference from our previous day on Iron). Since I hadn’t been to the BW since my 20’s, getting back was a thrill. Between the time with my son, his friends, and their dad’s, the exhilaration of pounding through a 160r portage, and the beauty of the wilderness, the place does something to you. We felt blessed by every aspect of the trip and left excited plan the next one.