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      Border Route Trail (BRT)     

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05/20/2020 10:20PM
Just finished watching a webinar that Midwest Mountaineering in conjunction with others put on about the Border Route Trail.

Super excited to hike this in 2021. I will be finishing up the SHT this year, and excited to pick up where I left off with some AMAZING views!

Anyone else hike the BRT? My plan is to go from the end of the SHT towards the end of the Gunflint. E to W.
 
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jdoutdoors
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
05/21/2020 12:07AM
I hiked the section between the South Lake Trail and the Stairway portage as part of the Rose Cliffs loop and loved it. It made me want to thru hike it this fall. Will see what happens... I might have the vacation time for it. It's a rugged area with such rewarding views and varying flora and landscape.
 
dex8425
senior member (65)senior membersenior member
 
05/21/2020 09:37AM
The BRT is great. It's more rugged, remote, and there's more trailfinding required (especially in certain points) than the SHT. You will see fewer people than the SHT. You will have more treefalls on the BRT than the SHT. There's way more climbing than any other BWCA hiking trail, but the SHT has a lot of vert too. The Kek is a pancake by comparison. The views are well worth the price of admission.

My wife and I can avg north of 3mph on the SHT but were around 2.7 for the BRT.
 
paddlefamily
distinguished member(1566)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/21/2020 11:35AM
I thru hiked it in May 2016. It's a gorgeous trail. We did quite a bit of bushwhacking because it was early spring and there had been a lot of blowdowns over the winter and the alders were pretty bad, but it still was a great experience. Like others have said, it's rugged and occasionally we referred to our Gaia app and BRT map. We saw a mixture of occasional flagging, carins and a few wooden signs. That said, we only saw one other group who was doing just a part of it. We did train for about 4 months before we went and everyone in the group had a bit of backpacking or ultra running experience which I believe helped. Since you've done a lot of the SHT you'll do fine. I felt like within a day or so we developed our 'trail eyes' being that the trail is less traveled and defined in some areas. We did E to W too and I'm glad we did. The other direction ended with a lot of downed trees and I think if we had started with all of those vs the more open Gunflint area, I think we would have quit.


 
DanCooke
distinguished member(1098)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/21/2020 01:02PM
Hope to get time to go from the Wisconsin border to Ely this summer/ Fall. will see if I manage to pull it off. Karen had started to do it in sections and I had been with her on some of it. So maybe i can complete it for her. Hardest part for me i think will be the planning of where to camp and resupplies.

Did E to West with Karen in 1984 from Mcfarland lake to Loon Lake (Full length at that time), snowshoed Rose to Loon in 1974.
 
heypaddler
senior member (63)senior membersenior member
 
05/21/2020 05:00PM
jdoutdoors: "I hiked the section between the South Lake Trail and the Stairway portage as part of the Rose Cliffs loop and loved it. It made me want to thru hike it this fall. Will see what happens... I might have the vacation time for it. It's a rugged area with such rewarding views and varying flora and landscape. "

Just a gorgeous area of the BW to hike in. Would love to hear more about your experience.
 
05/21/2020 06:37PM
How many days to complete a thru hike on BRT?
 
CStoke
member (10)member
 
05/21/2020 07:13PM
 
schweady
distinguished member(6864)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/22/2020 10:07AM
Dang. Had this on my calendar and lost track of the days. Does MM archive these presentations somewhere?

Our BRT experiences have been limited to a couple of day hikes, but enough to get a feeling that we'd like to explore more: Stairway Portage to the Rose Lake Overlooks, Mountain Lake Overlooks north of Clearwater Lake. Rugged up-and-down. Narrower maintained trail than the SHT. Gorgeous views. A real challenge.









 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13095)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
05/22/2020 10:49AM
There is a book out that tells about the BRT, places to camp, describes the whole trail. It might be of interest to you. BRT guide
 
gadget
member (14)member
 
05/22/2020 12:23PM
My son and I are planning to hike the BRT June 13 from west to east, I will Post an update when we get back.
 
05/22/2020 05:41PM
fadersup: "How many days to complete a thru hike on BRT?"

Im planning for 5 days, but it can be done in less or more, so I’ve heard.
 
gadget
member (14)member
 
05/22/2020 06:16PM
We are planning for six days but it will probably be five
 
jdoutdoors
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
05/22/2020 07:15PM
heypaddler: "jdoutdoors: "I hiked the section between the South Lake Trail and the Stairway portage as part of the Rose Cliffs loop and loved it. It made me want to thru hike it this fall. Will see what happens... I might have the vacation time for it. It's a rugged area with such rewarding views and varying flora and landscape. "


Just a gorgeous area of the BW to hike in. Would love to hear more about your experience. "


It was my first time hiking a BWCA trail (only having a ~25mi stretch of the SHT as any notable prior experience beyond a bunch of portaging) and it lived up to my expectations thanks to Shug and Backpacking With A Hammock (both from YouTube). The BRT was rugged and challenging but beautiful and rewarding. The Caribou Rock Trail was even more rugged and had my friends and I huffing and puffing asking "REALLY??" after coming down a 45 degree incline, walking 100 feet, and seeing a 60 degree incline we had to hike up. Absolutely gorgeous trail as well though. At the end of it all, I said to my friends, I don't know if I'll do this one again any time soon, but I could see myself doing it again, as a test of fitness, in a beautiful place. And now ~8 months later, looking back, I'd totally do the same loop again in a year or two. Just a great way to spend a long weekend and get a heck of a workout.

Also, I made a video of the trip in 2 parts, in case you're interested!

Part 1 of the Rose Cliffs Loop

Part 2 of the Rose Cliffs Loop
 
05/22/2020 11:22PM
I’ve always wanted to hike sections of the BRT. It was created by The Minnesota Rovers Outdoor Club and the DNR in the 1970’s. Some of the founding members still go on Trail Clearing Trips every year. They are 70 or so years young. Earlier this year they gave a presentation on two groups that started on each end and exchanged car keys in the middle. Members of the trail clearing crew said the trail grows in as fast as they can clear it. I really admire the folks that go on these week long trips to clear. Some parts of the trail are non BWCA so they can use power equipment. The Rovers are very proud of the trail and many members hike it. Before the virus we had weekly meetings and presentations and you can learn about the trail and many other places from members. The director of the SHT gave a great presentation in February on that trails future and plans too.

Have fun Hiking MN former Base Camp Mom.
 
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