What a great trip report! Sounds absolutely perfect. We haven't explored that area of the BWCA yet.
My Dad and I just took my 6 year old daughter to the BWCA at end of June.
We did Hog Creek after consulting members and other forums here.
You start at a meandering creek with one 10 rod portage and then it opens to Perent Lake that has a bunch of great camp spots. My daughter loved it and the risk was fairly minimal for a youngsters first trip. See the link below for my Trip Report.
Daughters First Trip
If you have any questions feel free to ask!
Good luck on your research
BrewerMj: "Hello everyone,
6 years ago we took our kids on their first BWCA trip base camping on Seagull - it's still their favorite trip! They were 11, 8 and 5 at the time. We secured the peninsula site not too far from the Alpine portage (not sure of the #?) It is an old resort site so there are great flat areas to put your tent. We loved having the bay side and the big lake side, and there is plenty to explore just staying at camp (we were wind bound one day and the kids had fun hiking around the site.) Easy to paddle to a nearby island campsite for lunch, excellent fishing in the rapids nearby, and just a fun experience overall.
If you're up for a few easy portages, enter on Poplar and basecamp on Horseshoe. Lots of wildlife and multiple day trip options there.
Please feel free to email me directly if you'd like more info. We stayed at the Tuscarora bunkhouse with a delicious French toast breakfast the next morning and that's been our family tradition ever since. Good luck and enjoy wherever you go!
I think your idea of Seagull Lake is right on the money. You can easily day trip around the lake and portage into Alpine Lake or Red Rocks and explore.
If you get onto Seagull early enough I recommend Campsite 469. The site is a big beach site that has some great swimming for kids and is close to some good fishing areas as well. Campsite 471 and 468 are also pretty great.
Or get a Crocodile permit and head there. One portage and you're there....but you're also stuck there as it's a dead end lake. (which is why it can be quiet)
I agree your kids will enjoy any itinerary. A couple of portages won’t deter them, and will give them a sense of accomplishment if you let them carry some light gear.
If your considering the end of the Gunflint Trail, consider doing the Granite River route. Start at Gunflint lake, paddle to Sag Falls, and get a tow back, or do it reverse. No big water, no wind issues, decent campsites and shorter portages for the most part. Campsite on north end of a Clove Lake great for swimming with a sandy beach and gentle slope on the water. it’s a nice trip for 3 nights, I did this route on my first trip with 7 year old son.
Poplar Lake (Trail Center) is a good entry also for a first time. There are relatively easy portages into Caribou and Horseshoe and some decent sites for a family to spread out.
Another option could be to paddle up the Gull River into Sag and take a site on Horseshoe Island for example. It's pretty easy and there are campsites going up the Gull River although they are not great.
Entering East Bearskin and taking one portage into Alder might also do the trick.
Seagull is a good entry. There has been some bear activity in the area so you may want to take that into consideration as well. Just some thoughts for your planning.
We've base camped on both Slim and Wood with our kids (now 7 and 3). Both are entry points but neither is a major route to the interior. When we showed up on Slim the parking lot was really full which was worrisome but most of the people must have been either day trippers or hikers or didn't stop on Slim because we had our choice of sites. The kids couldn't have cared less that we didn't go very far and were totally happy swimming, fishing from shore, exploring the woods, etc.
I bet your kids will love wherever you end up going. Just get an early start so you can snag an open site. I would hate to have one of those paddle-for-hours-looking-for-a-site kind of days with kids in tow. Mine will only tolerate about hour of paddling before they want out to explore.
I am looking to take my family (wife, two sons 6,4) up to the BWCA the first week of August. Both my wife and I are experienced campers/backpackers and my kids have done some mild camping but are extremely energetic and adventuresome.
Have been to the BWCA several times personally, I was planning to do a 4 day/3 night trip with them. I was hoping to limit portages (if any at all) and focus on the kids having fun.
Was thinking about Seagull lake for the time there, but was curious if anyone else had any good thoughts??