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Robdg
Guest Paddler
 
02/17/2020 03:28PM
Hello all - I'm looking for a summary of common BWCA & Quetico entry points with popular routes & destinations. Ideally something like a table/grid that I can reference as a starting point to plan a trip, figure out tow costs, etc.

I'm planning for a BWCA, or possibly Quetico, canoe trip for a total of 4 including my 2 adult sons who have never visited this part of the world. I am a veteran of both parks but I've not visited in many years.

If a summary as described doesn't exist then maybe someone here might have ideas on my current problem. Based on some information I have gathered so far, the easiest & possibly only way to get to Bottle Portage is to tow from Crane Lake for significant (~$250+) cost per person round trip. While other tows to say Prairie Portage are much less expensive. Is there another option on getting to Bottle? I am looking to find the sweet spot of a Quetico Entry Point that doesn't break the bank or require huge paddling or portaging time.

Thanks in advance!
 
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TominMpls
distinguished member(566)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/17/2020 04:46PM
I don't fish so the paddling is the point of my trips, and I expect that changes perspectives. But Crane to Bottle is a *really long* way to get towed through paddling waters. From EP 55 to the Cache Bay ranger station is 8.5 miles paddling, about a half day, no portages, or else about a six mile tow, followed by an hour's paddle. From EP 25 to Prairie Portage is 7 miles paddling or towed, again no portages before Prairie Portage itself. The Crane to Bottle tow is many times that far. That's why it costs so much. Why are you looking at Bottle specifically? LLC is probably logistically the hardest of the Quetico ranger stations, with or without a motor.
Z4K
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
 
02/17/2020 06:13PM
Based on your egregiously shotgun-style first post, I think your best bet would be to contact an outfitter and let them tell you what to do. Many great outfitters are sponsors of this website and can be found under the "Outfitters" tab. Many of them have great websites with recommended routes.

I'm sorry mate, but a concise summary of all available trips and routes simply does not exist. There are however many websites out there, with this one at the forefront, that can provide all of the information you are looking for. I'd start with the 'Search' function, or maybe the "Maps & Entry Points" tab at the top of your screen. There are many trip reports here describing routes in detail, as well as countless threads of people asking similar information to what you are asking for. There have also been many books published on this topic. The Boundary Waters Journal is a quarterly magazine dedicated to answering questions like yours that has been published since 1987. They have all of their articles available online for a fee as well as back issues available for sale. Large collections of back issues are also commonly found on Craigslist in MN.

The Crane-Bottle tow is expensive because it is over 45 miles. I agree with everything Tom said.

How long of a trip are you planning? What are your priorities: scenery, fishing, challenge, solitude? Don't post them here right away. Figure it out and search around for a while first, or call an outfitter. They are in the business of answering these questions; everyone else on this site is not.

Bottle Portage (on the cheap!) is only:

12.3 miles of paddling and 7 portages totaling 570 rods from EP16 Moose River North.
10.7 miles of paddling and 10 portages totaling 1252 rods from EP19 Stuart River.
15.5 miles of paddling and 12 portages totaling 1730 rods from EP20 Angleworm Lake via the Beartrap River.

The first two options should be do-able in one day. If they are not, you should travel somewhere else to build your group's skills before embarking on a long trip into a remote part of the Q.

If you are worried about how much it costs, you should know that (unless you are a Canadian citizen) permits for the Quetico are much more expensive than the BWCA. I recommend that you search around and find a BWCA route that fits, try it out, and shoot for the Quetico in 2021.
billconner
distinguished member(7150)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/17/2020 07:37PM
As stated what you ask for doesn't really exist. Many recommend the Beymer (sp?) books. Many route ideas.

Since you mention Bottle Portage, one of my favorite trips was tow to Prairie Portage (I'd paddle today, don't like tows and like to paddle), to Basswood Falls, along border, across LLC, and a shutlle pick up at EP 14 LIS north. About 10 leisurely days iirc. You could shorten with tow to Washington Island and Shuttle from EP16. We did a combo of Q and BWCA but could easily be all BWCA. The Q from Basswood Falls to LLC simplified campsites and made Rebecca Fall 100% legal. You would not be disappointed. Pictos, falls, great fishing reportedly - I dont fish. Thinking about it I want to do it again.
02/17/2020 08:11PM
billconner: "As stated what you ask for doesn't really exist. Many recommend the Beymer (sp?) books. Many route ideas.
"


I just got the Beymer books this past fall/winter. They are probably the closest thing to having a table of entry points and common routes from the entry points.

West Region

East Region
Robdg
Guest Paddler
 
02/17/2020 09:08PM
TominMpls: "I don't fish so the paddling is the point of my trips, and I expect that changes perspectives. But Crane to Bottle is a *really long* way to get towed through paddling waters. From EP 55 to the Cache Bay ranger station is 8.5 miles paddling, about a half day, no portages, or else about a six mile tow, followed by an hour's paddle. From EP 25 to Prairie Portage is 7 miles paddling or towed, again no portages before Prairie Portage itself. The Crane to Bottle tow is many times that far. That's why it costs so much. Why are you looking at Bottle specifically? LLC is probably logistically the hardest of the Quetico ranger stations, with or without a motor."

Thank you TominMpls that makes sense. The Crane to Bottle option was really about going through a Canadian outfitter located on LLC that we used in the past. I need to invest in the Beymer book mentioned by others who replied.
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member (439)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/17/2020 09:21PM
rdgbwca: "billconner: "As stated what you ask for doesn't really exist. Many recommend the Beymer (sp?) books. Many route ideas.
"



I just got the Beymer books this past fall/winter. They are probably the closest thing to having a table of entry points and common routes from the entry points.


West Region


East Region"


+1
Robdg
Guest Paddler
 
02/17/2020 09:30PM
Great points and advice Z4K. Thanks!
Robdg
Guest Paddler
 
02/17/2020 09:35PM
billconner: "As stated what you ask for doesn't really exist. Many recommend the Beymer (sp?) books. Many route ideas.


Since you mention Bottle Portage, one of my favorite trips was tow to Prairie Portage (I'd paddle today, don't like tows and like to paddle), to Basswood Falls, along border, across LLC, and a shutlle pick up at EP 14 LIS north. About 10 leisurely days iirc. You could shorten with tow to Washington Island and Shuttle from EP16. We did a combo of Q and BWCA but could easily be all BWCA. The Q from Basswood Falls to LLC simplified campsites and made Rebecca Fall 100% legal. You would not be disappointed. Pictos, falls, great fishing reportedly - I dont fish. Thinking about it I want to do it again."


Thank you billconner! I like the idea you shared but we will have about 5-6 days in the water this trip. However I am going to look at variations of the Prairie Portage option.
Robdg
Guest Paddler
 
02/17/2020 09:43PM
Thank you Rdgbwca I will be buying the Beymer books soon!
Robdg
Guest Paddler
 
02/17/2020 10:10PM
rdgbwca: "billconner: "As stated what you ask for doesn't really exist. Many recommend the Beymer (sp?) books. Many route ideas.
"



I just got the Beymer books this past fall/winter. They are probably the closest thing to having a table of entry points and common routes from the entry points.


West Region


East Region"


Hi billconner I have a few questions about the Beymer books that Amazon didn't appear to help answer.

What is the approximate dividing line between the East and West books? I think I need the West side but I want to confirm. Secondly, do the routes specified in the book include Quetico Park at all?

Thanks in advance,
Rob
Jackfish
Moderator
 
02/17/2020 11:18PM
Hey Rob... why not take about two minutes and register with the site? It's free... it's painless... and we aren't that bad of a group to hang with. :)

Also, your Guest moniker says Robdg. You aren't, by chance, related to Dr. Bob who was a longtime member here, are you? His board moniker was DrBobdg.
Robdg
Guest Paddler
 
02/17/2020 11:22PM
Jackfish: "Hey Rob... why not take about two minutes and register with the site? It's free... it's painless... and we aren't that bad of a group to hang with. :)

Also, your Guest moniker says Robdg. You aren't, by chance, related to Dr. Bob who was a longtime member here, are you? His board moniker was DrBobdg."


Absolutely Jackfish! I will sign up now. No I am not related but I wish I had a Dr. in the family. :)
Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/17/2020 11:28PM
Once again thanks for the help!
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(1322)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 05:30AM
Other than not breaking the bank and Bottle Portage and a certain CN outfitter, what are your trip goals? Fishing, scenery, solitude, travel??? More details on what you are after will bring out more accurate assistance for your trip planning.
billconner
distinguished member(7150)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
02/18/2020 07:29AM
Robdg - don't know the answers to Beymer question. Someone here will soon answer I expect.

Tow to Washington Island and then about 55 miles to EP16. I'm 68 and can do 10-12 miles a day - average including a layover every 5-6 days - so seems doable. Just for more campsite selection and eliminating worry about finding sites, I'd probably do 3 or 4 days on Q permit, and pick up a BWCA EP71 for exit to EP16. Yes, some money for tow but much less than Crane to LLC. And the whole Q expense and RABC stuff but an option that gets to Crooked and Bottle and other great places.
unshavenman
distinguished member(1188)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 09:18AM
For a good introduction to the Q and without breaking the bank with the Crane to Bottle tow, I would recommend heading up to the end of the Gunflint Trail, getting a short tow from one of the excellent outfitters there to Hook Island and then head into the Q through Cache Bay. Maybe the Man Chain loop.......
bombinbrian
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 09:26AM
I may not totally understand all of this. But if you are wanting to get to iron and crooked, you can go out of Mudro, up to Beartrap and take the Beartrap River to iron in a day and a half max. Depending on your abilities, and thus your speed of tra El, you could get a pma permit and stay on Sunday, possibly the first night.

Again if I'm not understanding this, please ignore this post.
RLJ
senior member (89)senior membersenior member
 
02/18/2020 10:46AM
Just a note, many of the public library's carry the Beymer books that you can check out for reading.
A1t2o
distinguished member(918)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 11:06AM
There are 2 great ways to get the information you are looking for. Read the trip reports and go through the outfitters.

The trip reports talk about the length of the trip, the distance traveled each day, if they pushed themselves to go further, and weather they experienced. Reading through those will give you more of a comprehensive understanding of what you might be capable of and what to expect.

The outfitters often have route suggestions on their websites. This will give you an idea for the length of a trip and key lakes that you might want to visit.

You aren't going to get an understanding of something as complex as the boundary waters without putting in some effort and going on trips. I've been going on yearly trips and a member of this forum for 6 years now and I don't even have a fraction of the information you are asking for.

Focus on your first trip and don't worry about making it the best trip possible. All that matters is getting out there, details that make trips great for some of us with more experience are minor compared to the experience of being out there. You are never going to see everything in one trip, just take the time to appreciate what you do see.
dex8425
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
02/18/2020 04:58PM
For a first trip in many years, if you're trying to maximize time, pick either Q or BWCA, don't try to do both. If you're doing Q, drive in from Canada. I personally don't recommend towing unless you're fishing and don't like paddling and want to maximize fishing time. It's expensive, but worth it if you have a lot of fishing gear.

If you really want to do bottle portage, the easiest way to get there is from the BWCA Moose River North entry point. Very doable in one day. You can also get there from Stuart River (ep 19) but that requires a pretty long portage to begin your trip.
bombinbrian
distinguished member (175)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 05:23PM
dex8425:
If you really want to do bottle portage, the easiest way to get there is from the BWCA Moose River North entry point. Very doable in one day. You can also get there from Stuart River (ep 19) but that requires a pretty long portage to begin your trip. "


Its about the same distance either way from these entry points, about 13 miles, but Stuart is about 2.4 miles longer portaging
VoyageurNorth
distinguished member(2568)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 07:51PM
Robdg,

there are 3 Beymer books for this area. One is BWCA East, one is BWCA West and one is Quetico Park. I know that Robert Beymer updated his Western side of the BWCA book a few years ago, not sure about the others.
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member (439)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/18/2020 08:00PM
Summary of Beymer books:

Western BWCA book covers entry points off the Echo Trail, Fernberg Road, and State Highway 1. It goes as far east as EP 35 (Isabella Lake)

Eastern BWCA book covers entry points off the Sawbill Trail, Gunflint Trail, and Arrowhead Trail. It starts with EP 36 (Hog Creek) and moves east from there.

Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/19/2020 11:41PM
Thanks straighthairedcurly!
Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/19/2020 11:42PM
Thanks VoyageurNorth!
Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/19/2020 11:43PM
Thanks for the advice dex8425 and I agree.
Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/19/2020 11:44PM
Thanks for the advice A1t2o!
Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/19/2020 11:45PM
Thanks for the advice unshavenman
Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/19/2020 11:47PM
Thanks for the advice bombinbrian and RLJ!
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(1322)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/20/2020 06:01AM
Well. That's one way to boost your post count!
Robdg
member (8)member
 
02/20/2020 01:54PM
Haha true bobbernumber3!!! I'll get smarter about replying. :D
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(1322)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/23/2020 06:09AM
Robdg: "Haha true bobbernumber3!!! I'll get smarter about replying. :D"
Good question and discussion. Welcome to the board. Next question?
 
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