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BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

March 05 2024

Entry Point 38 - Sawbill Lake

Sawbill Lake entry point allows overnight paddle only. This entry point is supported by Tofte Ranger Station near the city of Tofte, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 25 miles. Access is a boat landing at Sawbill Lake. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 11
Elevation: 1802 feet
Latitude: 47.8699
Longitude: -90.8858
Sawbill Lake - 38

Two Day Trips - Kelso Lake Loop and Clearwater Lake

by Mo
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 07, 2019
Entry Point: Sawbill Lake
Number of Days: 1
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
We wanted to do some canoeing in the BWCA and had a great introduction to this most excellent place!


Thanks to the Trip Planning Messageboard we were well prepared by reading a lot of information. As first timers there is a lot to figure out- even though we just did day trips. Our first day trip was with Sawbill Outfitters and they were great and helpful and we really appreciated the good instructions. . Being prepared helped us have a great trip - although we did get a tip on the messageboard how important it is to know how to get into the canoe - and although we were instructed how to get in at Sawbill - I promptly fell into the lake. Luckily I had suitable clothing (not cotton but the good stuff that dries fast that was recommended) and although it was a bit embarrassing, I dried off in no time. We had treated our clothing with permethrin and had good bug stuff (a Sawyer Product 20% picardin) so no problems with bugs. And good sunscreen and a hat. We rented Kevlar canoes and knew we were going to have to get into the water to get in ('wet feet') but we had chacos/sports sandals and the water was warm enough and that was fine, too. And we were off! We did the Kelso Lake Loop and chose this as we wanted to try portaging. There were three short portages on this 4.5 hour trip. We liked the different lakes and we just really liked the whole experience! It was a perfect first time out trip for us. We saw loons and turtles and lily pads. Beautiful! We went out on another short paddle with Clearwater Outfitters (Gunflint Trail) and paddled around Clearwater Lake. There too we had a great 2.5 hour trip and just enjoyed being on the lake. It is beautiful. We also spent a lot of time hiking in the Superior National Forest and saw over 10 waterfalls and some great views. We also hiked the Magnetic Rock Trail and Honeymoon Bluff on the Gunflint Trail and enjoyed them both. I can't believe this was my first trip to the North Shore! This area rivals any national park easily and there is so much to do. I look forward to making this a yearly trip and maybe - maybe? - try a longer trip with a canoe.    ~Sawbill Lake, Alton Lake, Kelso Lake


Lakes Traveled:   Sawbill Lake, Alton Lake, Kelso Lake,

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