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BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

January 31 2023

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.

Injury-shortened solo

by eagle93
Trip Report

Entry Date: July 16, 2014
Entry Point: Baker Lake
Number of Days: 3
Group Size: 1

Trip Introduction:


I decided to do a short 4 or 5 day solo to iron out the wrinkles in my heart. (apologies to Sig) Put in a Baker Lake on Wednesday, July 16 with plans of looping through N and S Temperance, Cherokee, Sawbill, Smoke, Flame and back. Things didn't go according to plan. With all the rain, water levels were high and the rapids at the first portage were very swift. I stopped at Sawtooth Outfitters on the way home and they said they have had three canoes damaged at those rapids. People have been sucked backwards down the rapids after launching from the upstream landing. I walked my canoe about 50 feet to an area where the current was more manageable. I lined my canoe through the second portage. On the way back, I easily ran the small rapid at the second portage. As I got to Kelly Lake and old tendon injury in my elbow really began to hurt badly, every stroke into the wind was painful. I decided to find a campsite. The middle one of the three east of the portage from Burnt was open, so that was to be home for the night. Woke up the next morning and tried some paddling before making any decision, it still hurt. I decided to try some short day trips to see what it would take. It wasn't as windy as yesterday, so paddling was easier. On the way upstream toward Jack when I can across these just starting to bloom. Soon there will be many more, but for now there were just a few.

I was almost to Jack when my elbow said that enough was enough, so I turned around. On the way back downstream, I ran into this beauty on the shore. She stood there and calmly ate and glanced at me every once in a while. She showed no signs of being nervous, but I also didn't attempt to get very close. Didn't see if she had a calf, again, didn't want to get too nosy.

After putzing around camp , this mainly entailed killing the many and varied types of winged insects that were trying their best to suck me dry, I decided to try my hand at fishing. The smallmouths were biting, one that I caught was a hog. It actually hurt my elbow to haul him in, but it was worth it. The following morning I decided that it was time to lick my wounds and head home. Took it easy and slow. Took a few pictures. Stopped a Sawbill were, as always, I was treated well. Had my wonderfully hot shower, a snack, and headed for home. The trip didn't go as planned, but little has lately. I had some time to reflect, caught some fish, and saw a moose. Could have been a lot worse. 


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