BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

December 16 2019

Entry Point 32 - South Kawishiwi River

South Kawishiwi River entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 21 miles. Access is a 140-rod portage to the river.

Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1201 feet
Latitude: 47.8419
Longitude: -91.6632
South Kawishiwi River - 32

BWCA 101

by Hueyav8r
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 22, 2019
Entry Point: South Kawishiwi River
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 8

Trip Introduction:
My plan was to come up with a trip for first time paddlers to the BWCA. I worked with Voyageur North for a couple ideas. Decided on #31 Farm Lake (that option is not listed in the entry points above). The plan was for an easy route with few portages. Allowing time each day to relax and/or fish.

Part 1 of 6


Our group is part of the Central Indiana Wilderness Club (CIWC). I wasn't able to have a shake down outing prior to our trip, but I met with each of the travelers ahead of time. My son John Jr also attended. This was his second trip to the BWCA. We went two years ago as a father son trip covering some of the same area. We drove up from Indianapolis, I planned two day driving. Stopped in Madison WI on the way and visited Rutabaga Paddle Sports when we were in town. Made it to Ely MN on Sunday 7/21/19. Met with John at VN, updated our maps and finished our business. We stayed in their bunk house that night which was prefect for us. 

 



Part 2 of 6


Finally on the water. There is no way to enter at access point #31 Farm Lake. We were dropped off at the southern tip of South Farm Lake. 47.881 -91.705 Things were going good until our first portage. We were looking for the portage from Kawishwi River to Clear Lake going south. I didn't check my compass but we found this path that hadn't been used in a while. We had to cut up a fallen tree on the path and we came out on the Kawishwi river that we just left. We portaged to the west and ended up back on the river. A bit embarrassing since I was one of the co-leaders. From Clear Lake to South Kawishwi River we stopped early at a camp site we found. Decent spot, but the most ideal but worked for the first night. 47.888 -91.627 ~South Farm Lake

 

Lakes Traveled:   South Farm Lake,


Part 3 of 6


Day two we wanted to head to a site that was called the Hilton by out outfitter. It was only about 30 minutes from where we stopped. The thought was we could spend a day here and have time to relax. When we arrived at the site it was taken by a couple with their two small children. I felt odd asking but I stopped at the site and asked the couple if they were planning to spend the day there. They were very nice and informed me that they were going to be heading out but probably not for an hour. We stayed out of their way and they moved on when they were finished. This was the first trip for the little children, but I had the impression that the couple had been to the BWCA multiple times. They also knew this campsite as the Kawishwi Hilton. This was a great site, it had class 1 rapids on one side and a calm area where you enter the campsite. We watched a number of groups trying to go up and down the small rapids. Kawishiwi Hilton location 47.879 -91.618 guaranteed to be full every night

 



Part 4 of 6


Thursday, Third day on the water we worked our way north west to Kawishiwi river. Another easy day with only two small portages. My son and I lined/walked through one of the rapids. It was short fairly easy to make our way through. We were able to rest waiting for the remainder of the group. This was another day we were off by around 1PM. I didn't mention earlier, one of our trip members is an avid fisherman. He has been to the BWCA in the past. He would go out just before sundown and always had a couple fish when he came back into camp. If you were brave enough to deal with the mosquitoes he would grill up with fish over the hot coals with a little lemon salt, nothing else. They tasted wonderful.

camp site 47.914 -91.571

 

 



Part 5 of 6


Thursday7/25/19 last full day on the water. Today was the last full day on the water. Probably the most challenging with our longest portage and we fought a head wind most of the day. We had a 210 rod portage early in the day, then we hit our the head wind. The next two small portages were around small rapids that we were able to paddle through. John and I lead the way and the group followed. That was a little variation on our trip. As the day went on the wind was stronger. I originally wanted to stay at a camp site that was across from our take out pint the next morning. I worried that when we turned south on Farm Lake we would have th full force of the wind on a larger lake with the possibility of motor boats. We stopped at a camp site near the #31 official entrance marker, still inside the BWCA boundaries.

campsite 47.903 -91.703

 



Part 6 of 6


Our last camp site we were able to get WIFI signal. On Farm lake there are a number of summer homes and cabins. I figured that was the reason we had a strong signal. I checked on the weather from multiple sources, plus contacted a friend back in Indiana to let the outfitter know we were going to be early at the take out. Weather was rough the last night. But we knew it was coming. We heard later that Friday night a Girl Scout troop was struck by lightning during the early hours and were evacuated off. No injuries but a few girls were checked out since they felt the effects of the strike. Friday morning we got up and packed up our wet things and headed out early. I was able to get a notice that a shuttle driver was going to be there since he was about to drop off a couple on their way out. We were off the water early, got back and took a shower at Voyageur North. On our drive out of town we took a detour and visited Voyageur National Park. My co-leader Barb wanted information for a future trip and a stamp for her National Park booklet. The hardest part of the trip was the drive back. We spent the night in Eau Claire WI and then pushed it the rest of the way on Saturday. The BWCA is my happy place. I try to get there each year as long as my legs will let me. Put In/Take Out 47.81 -91.705

~Farm Lake, South Farm Lake

 

Lakes Traveled:   Farm Lake, South Farm Lake,

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