Boundary Waters Trip Reports, Blog, BWCA, BWCAW, Quetico Park

BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

March 02 2024

Entry Point 39 - Baker Lake

Baker 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 26 miles. Access is a boat landing at Baker Lake with a 10-rod portage into Peterson Lake to reach first campsite. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 2
Elevation: 1497 feet
Latitude: 47.8452
Longitude: -90.8169
Summary: A 5-day loop from Baker up the Temperance lakes to Cherokee, and back through Sawbill and Smoke lakes back to Baker. A fairly difficult trip.

Day 0: We drove up from Stillwater in the morning and camped at one of the 5 walk-in campsites at Baker Lake, and it was nice.

Day 1 (Baker to S. Temperance) - A beautiful day, we decided to paddle all the way to South Temperance the first day which was a great paddle with easy portages except for the last one. We picked the campsite on top of a huge rock that was close to the middle of the lake. Tried fishing some but no luck

Day 2 (Rest) - In the night, we encountered the worst storm of the entire season. While we were there 19 people had to be rescued from the BWCA. We had about 50mph straightline winds, and I'm still surprised that the huge tent we had stood up to it. We slept in and took a rest day because of the intense winds. Amazingly beautiful sunset.

Day 3 (S. Temperance to Cherokee) - We left as early as we could to beat the heat, but it was no good. The lengthy, hilly portages were challenging and by the last portage we were pretty beat. We overpacked and single portaged which led us to speedier exhaustion. Still amazing weather. North Temperance was a beaut- I wish we had stayed there instead of South. We took the southeasterly facing campsite on Cherokee on the southeastern skinny island. Neat little site.

Day 4 (Cherokee to Sawbill) - Left a little later in the day but it was ok. We took our time going down the river letting out of the southwest part of Cherokee and it was a great area. BEWARE: The area between Ada and Skoop Lakes appears to be floatable, but a dam built recently has made the portion impossible to float. Be prepared for a long portage through muck and water. A guy that we saw there said he had been going to the BWCA for 40 years at least once per year and it was the worst portage he had ever seen. By the time we got to Sawbill it was pretty hot. We paddled all the way down to the site next to the portage onto Smoke.

Day 5 (Sawbill to Baker) - Cooler, cloudier weather for the first time on the trip. We were pretty hungry (I underpacked food a little and I felt really bad) and we were taunting each other with vivid descriptions of the burgers we were going to eat ASAP after getting out. We paddled back to Baker and returned our gear to Sawtooth outfitters.

Overall great route.

Baker Lake #39

by pdidy
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 10, 2010
Entry Point: Baker Lake
Number of Days: 5
Group Size: 14

Trip Introduction:
Its was time for our yearly mens trip to the BWCA. This year brought our biggest group and one newbie. Rain was prelavent but we still managed to laught alot. This year we drove two vehicles since we had 14 guys with. There was one group of 8 and my group of 6. I had to put ball joints on the passenger front of my truck and new rubber on the back. $$$$$$$$$$$

Day 1 of 5

Thursday, June 10, 2010 We all met at my house at 7:00 for loading and final preparations. 3:00am would come early. We made it on the road by three I was happy. Got to Duluth and refueled our vehicles and out stomachs. Truck pulling a canoe trail with 5 canoes plus all gear got a great 11mpg. Off to Tofte ranger station get permit and drive to Baker Lake. It was a great morning. Sun was shinning saw some deer on the drive. We unload and pack up gear and head out. The paddle was great lots of rocks in the narrows. Water level is down alot. Our group was first out the starting blocks. Got to South Temperance found the North Western site open. The other group took the Eastern site by the Brule lake. The other two sites were full. Nice site good place to two tents we squeezed in three. Steaks over the fire we at good. That last portage of 240 rods was tough. One of the new guys asked were we set up the tents at the end of the portage. I told him we have to paddle and find a campsite. He sighted and went on his way. This year was the hardest for portaging compared to the other 2 years. We cut enough wood for 4 days since they were talking rain. Plenty of fire wood at this site. Sure enough it started to rain that night.     


Day 2 of 5

Friday, June 11, 2010 Woke up and rain. Went back to sleep. Woke up and and not raining, got up started fire, fished from shore no luck. Everybody else woke up made breakfast of Hashbrowns and bacon. Got ready to go fishing started to rain we decided to fish in the rain. Our canoe caught 3 fish all bass. Went back to camp and slept the afternoon away. Supper wash fish chowder soup with potatoes. Dehydrated in the bag cream of potatoe soup with fish. Made some popcorn and called it a night.  


Day 3 of 5

Saturday, June 12, 2010 No rain!! Pancakes and bacon, this is were I discovered I forgot my butter and syrup. My group was nice to share with me, plus if you make you pancakes in bacon grease syrup in not needed. We rigged up for fishing and hoped for better luck and headed out. We decided to troll to the other group and do a drive by. I snagged a big small mouth bass on the way over and that's all we could snag. We started casting in to every small bay we could find. The other canoe in our group caught one bass while we caught 9. Fish fry tonight. We went back to camp cause the rain was starting up and we had no rain gear with us. We enjoyed a nice fish fry with more popcorn tonight. Went to bed to the sound of rain hitting the tent. Canoeing around the South Temperance Lake you can see lot of evidence of the blow down. It has came a long way but still has lots of dead fall. I also learned I can walk on water.    


Day 4 of 5

Sunday, June 13, 2010 We decided to move closer to our entry point so Monday would be an easier day for us. Foggy morning but not raining. We eat a good breakfast of pancakes and bacon. Camp is tore down and we start to the 240 rod beast. Its amazing how this portage seamed easier when your stomach is full and you do it first. I carried my pack and the kevlar canoe the whole length with no breaks. I was proud of myself. Mother nature decided to keep with the theme of rain and it started lightly but got heavier the closer we got to camp. When we picked the most southern site on Kelly Lake it was raining pretty good. That was the fastest my tent went up. Firewood was hard to come by at this site. We all took a little dive in the water and we could all feel our man hood disappear from the cold water. Later that night the fish were feasting out the dragon fly's on top of the water is was sweet to watch a fish with its head out of the water chomping on bugs. I through a popper on thinking I could score some breakfast. The fish wanted nothing do due with it. We ate supper and went to bed. I was sad that this was out last night. It was also our only nigh we saw anything of a sunset.   


Day 5 of 5

Monday, June 14, 2010 We woke up, ate breakfast and paddled out. The water was glass and we let the wind push us out. Got back to baker lake, Loaded up and waited for the other group to show up. Soon we were on our way back talking about each groups trip and how the rain can really put a damper on a trip. Over all a great trip can't wait till next year, but we do have a couple of guys who could not go that want to do a September trip so I hope that will work out.  New gear I used this year and loved was my Marmot Sawtooth Down Sleeping bag and my new Muck Boots. Had dry feet the whole trip was nice for pushing off the canoe. I need to upgrade my sleeping pad to something smaller and lighter. I will also have to purchase some more gear since my son will be going up with me next year. My total weight for pack was 52 pounds including tent,sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tackle box, gear and clothes. Food came in at around 10 pounds.