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member (15)member
09/03/2019 09:33PM
I am looking to do a 6+/- night trip in BWCA and would like some recommendations on a route. The following are some preliminary criteria I am looking for:
1. Seclusion
2. Waterfalls
3. Camps with/near Sand Beaches
4. High Cliffs/Bluffs
5. Best Chance to See Moose

It will be about 4 of us...give or take. We will most likely be looking at an August trip, but September is ok too. Bugs are not a concern to us. Neither are long portages.

Right now, we are just trying to map out the most features that match our criteria and plan a route from there. Quetico is not an option at this stage of our planning process.

There is just way too many forum posts, facebook posts, etc. to sift through, it would take me months. Thanks in advance!!! I really appreciate it!
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distinguished member(586)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/05/2019 08:51AM
You don't give a sense of what "epic" means for you, but to me it implies mileage. If you're experienced paddlers and interested in "epic", I recommend a point-to-point trip - it allows you to see several areas of the BWCA, and to get truly away from the crowds.

If you look at the maps you can see that various entry areas have almost self-evident loops. Paddling from any EP with the intention of exiting from the same EP, you and everybody else in that area of the park will be on the same route. In my experience the Gunflint EPs, being more rugged, tend to feel more secluded than the Ely EPs, but it's hard to truly escape the crowds.

The middle of the park - the boundary areas where people out of Ely EPs are getting too far east, and people Gunflint EPs are getting too far west - are where the solitude is best (not counting Quetico, of course), in my experience.

So if you have four people you probably have two cars, or even better, you can divide the cost of a shuttle among four people. Leave your vehicles at a Gunflint entry and pay a shuttle to haul you all to an Ely EP. Paddle back to your car. Expect to cover lots of ground the first day to get the heck away from the Ely EPs.

member (15)member
09/05/2019 09:11AM
Thanks. I know epic/spectacular is a subjective term, that is why I listed some items that we like.
09/05/2019 09:25AM
Truly half the fun of a trip is spending months sifting thru info and maps planning the trip myself. There are no bad routes or plans and all trips are great. That being said, when I think of an "epic" trip I don't see it being done in 6 days. More like 20 days or more.
distinguished member(894)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
09/05/2019 09:38AM
We did this trip in 8 days:
Entry 37 - Kawishiwi Lake
Day 1 - Kawishiwi to Malberg
Day2 - Malberg to Alice (Via Fishdance for the Pictographs and cliff they are on)
Day 3 - Alice to Kekakabic
Day 4 - Kekakabic to Mueller Lake (Via Thunder Point (SAK) for the views into Canada and Via Eddy Falls).
Day 5 - Mueller Lake to Little Sag - Between Mueller Lake and Agamok Lake the portage crosses the Kekakabic Trail. Head east about 1/4 mile to Mueller Falls.)
Day 6 - Little Sag to Mesaba Lake
Day 7 - Layover Day (bushwack to Leah Lake)
Day 8 - Mesaba Lake to Sawbill Lake and out.

This will require either that you have 2 vehicles or arrange for a shuttle to start your trip at Kawishiwi (Entry 37) and end at Sawbill (Entry 38).

I think it meets most of your requirements listed:
Seclusion - There will be places where you are secluded and places where you will not be. (September will offer more seclusion than Aug.)

Waterfalls - I listed at least 2 major ones and there will be minor stuff along the way. e.g. There is a small rapids on the way to Fishdance Lake. The portage between Kawishiwi River and Alice Lake follows the Kawishiwi River with some spectacular rapids/boulder fields. The portage from Little Sag to Mora Lakes follows a very scenic little rapids.

Sand Beaches - Malberg and Alice Lake have camps with sand beaches. There may be others as well. There was a thread here not very long ago that listed a lot of campsites with sand beaches.

High Cliffs/Bluffs - Fishdance (The pictos are on huge cliffs.) SAK - Thunder Point is a tall bluff you can climb for views. I think Kekakabic Lake has cliffs. Wisini Lake has spectacular cliffs and rock falls. SAK has some large cliff faces (not Thunder Point.),

Moose - Seeing moose is always mitigated by chance. Anywhere from Whipped Lake to Mesaba Lake through Zenith Lake and then especially on Lujenida Lake, Kelso River and Kelso Lake are moosey areas.

If 8 days is too long then perhaps you can find a way to do the part you are really interested in seeing.
member (15)member
09/05/2019 09:44AM
Yea, we did a trip out of Ely several years ago and it was not long enough for sure! I love the thick pines, but assume that is mostly everywhere.

We are trying to pick out some sand beaches and moose spots to plan our next trip. I am leaning towards going out from Back Bay again, but its early.
distinguished member(7240)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
09/05/2019 05:12PM
My experience is the later you go, the greater the chance of a moose sighting. More, being extremely quiet and down wind helps. One place in Quetico I've seen them more than once.
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