BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

May 07 2021

Entry Point 16 - Moose/Portage River (North of Echo Trail)

Moose/Portage 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 27 miles. Access is a 160-rod portage heading North from the Echo Trail.

Number of Permits per Day: 7
Elevation: 1348 feet
Latitude: 48.1230
Longitude: -92.0991
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
Small lakes
Small rivers
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!

Paddling with friends

by WIstoney
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 07, 2018
Entry Point: Little Indian Sioux River (north)
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 8

Trip Introduction:
This is trip #6 for me. Our experienced guy has about 20 trips to the BWCA. Two new faces on this trip for us.

Day 1 of 5

Thursday, June 07, 2018 We spent Wednesday night at a bunkhouse at Big Lake Lodge. Half our our group came up earlier in the day to get our permit, breakfast items for Thursday, and leeches. My half of the group arrived about midnight after the 6 hour ride from Eau Claire after a day of work. We woke at 5 am, had a bite to eat and headed out to EP 14, about a 25 min drive from Big Lake Lodge. We have a mix of canoes, a Souris River Kevlar, a Wenonah Royalex (mine), an aluminum battleship, and a rented Kevlar. Beautiful weather, a few mosquitoes to the put in spot. Easy paddle to the portage around the falls on the river. We then paddled to the northern portage of Upper Pauness Lake. As I came to other end of the portage, my buddy P3 was holding the aluminum canoe on his shoulders with the rear tip on the ground. Just standing there, I asked him if he was just going to stand there all day, he whispered that there is a moose just off the portage.

My paddle buddy is my wife, this is her third trip. She does great in the wilderness. She didn't fish this year.

I gently set my pack down and got my camera, my first BWCA moose spotting! A cow and her calf. She was in the water, the calf was on land. About 75 feet from us. I snapped a couple of pics and a little video, then she left. 3 out of 8 of us got to see it.

We set out and selected campsite #43, where we base camped for 4 nights. We are an older group, two guys over 50, two guys and a lady in their 40's, two guys in their 20's, and a teenage girl. Therefore, were no longer looking for 7 portage days.

We set up our camp, two tents for 4 people, and 4 people in hammocks. Fishing started slowly, mostly Northerns.

Lunch was summer sausage sandwiches and crackers. Dinner was ribeye steaks cooked on the fire grate and mashed potatoes and gravy. Always a crowd pleaser. 8 oz ribeye for everyone, I rub these with Montreal Steak Seasoning a week before, wrap in butcher paper and freeze for the trip.


Day 2 of 5

Friday, June 08, 2018 Oatmeal with fruit mix-ins for breakfast. And french press coffee. It rained Thursday night and was cloudy most of Friday. We all did our own things that day, reading, fishing, paddling around the lake, napping. Usual camp chores, gather firewood and filter water. My buddy PJ made a saw, it was sweet! It uses a full length brush saw, he made all the wooden pieces and a self-storing chamber for the saw blade in the handle (he is handier than most). 

I brought along a steripen for the first time, it only does a liter at a time, but it's a nice option. We typically gravity filter with a platypus, then treat with a little chlorine for knock out any viruses. (Three of us work in healthcare).

The group caught some walleye, northern, and rock bass today.

I heard three gunshots at 11:10 that night. Presumably the nuisance bear on shell lake, one lake over. We almost took the 220 yard portage over there, glad we missed the hangry bear.


Day 3 of 5

Saturday, June 09, 2018 Usual breakfast. Weather is perfect. Sunny. We took a short trip to "Devil's Canyon" or whatever they call the river between Lower Pauness and Loon Lake. Ate Pita sandwiches and apples up on the cliff. The camp there was occupied. Took some group photos.

Wind picked up on the way back to camp. 

Burritos for dinner. PJ is becoming a food dehydrating master. He has a deluxe model from Cabela's and really goes to town with that thing. He does most of the meal planning, and this year each canoe team cooked and cleaned for a day.

Most of us went swimming that day, a little chilly, but it felt great.


Day 4 of 5

Sunday, June 10, 2018 Great night to sleep. I finished a book already. Temp's in the 80's today. The wind really picked up today, so we all went out for a paddle, but scratched our day trip plans. The kevlar with the teenager in the front is like a wind vane in the wind and difficult to paddle when empty. 

Lunch was pizza. We used the pre-made thin pizza crusts, reconstituted sauce with ground beef and mushrooms, regular mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni. Our new team fashioned a reflective oven with a copper grill mat and some aluminum foil. Everyone had their own pizza. It was fantastic.

Dinner was spaghetti with meat sauce. Dessert was red velvet cupcakes. They tasted great, but we definatly need to refine our camp fire baking technique.


Day 5 of 5

Monday, June 11, 2018 Up at 4:20, paddles wet by 5:40. About three hours back to the car. The best paddle out weather I've ever had. Sunny, no wind, no rain. Was overcast as we got to the parking lot. Drove to Ely, late breakfast at Britton's Cafe and a little shopping downtown.  I always look forward to ICE water when I get back in. The trip back to Eau Claire was uneventful. Already thinking about next year...or how I can do two trips a year. Maybe a solo trip, or just my wife and I.


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