BWCA Fall Lake Campground Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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TravelJunkies
member (8)member
 
07/12/2020 08:16PM  
Im wondering if anyone knows about this campground. we have changed plans to just base camping there and day paddling in upper fall lake and possibly up into newton and pipestone. all that is open this month is first come first serve. there is enough campgrounds in the area we are just going to take the 3.5 hr trip and hope we find something open on a Wednesday or Thursday. Which day would be best? think we could find something open still? also do we need to get permits for just day trips into the waters? I do not see that option on the website, only overnight permits. If we do get a site at Fall Lake we will be going from there. if we have to get a campsite somewhere else im not sure where we would launch in at.
 
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lindylair
distinguished member(2526)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/12/2020 08:23PM  
Everything is busier this year but I would think you have a good chance of getting a mid week campsite at Fall or one of the surrounding campgrounds. No guarantees of course. If you enter the BWCA you must get a day permit which is free and usually available at the place where you enter, but not always. Not a bad idea to get a couple for the glove compartment. Some of the local campgrounds have paddling opportunities that are completely or mostly outside of the BWCA, Fenske comes to mind. No permit needed. Paddling opportunities abound in the area, both in and out of the BWCA. If you get a site, you are set.
07/12/2020 09:13PM  
Fall Lake Campground was full for the 11 days we were there mid June. People were cruising the loops waiting for sites to open. Reserved site loop is much quieter... walk up sites tend to have more party-people.
TravelJunkies
member (8)member
 
07/12/2020 09:48PM  
Sadly with wife’s job we have no choice but last minute planning. Hopefully we can find something there.
07/13/2020 07:08AM  
This is a wonderful campground... nice sites well spaced, nice bathrooms, and great location. I have been making a trip there each year since retired. Site turnover is pretty frequent on the nonreservable sites so you should find an open one.
07/13/2020 08:45AM  
Stop at the Ranger Station in Ely as you will drive right by it on your way to Fall Lake and grab a handful of the day permits to put in your glovebox. We always have a supply in each of our vehicles because as stated above, sometimes the box at the entry point is out of them. At the Ranger Station they have a box of them outside the building.

Good Luck and have fun.
07/13/2020 11:01AM  
It's a great campground with plenty of space a privacy between sites
07/20/2020 02:59PM  
Roughly 50% of the sites are fist come first served, but it is a very popular campground. If it does end up being full, my 2nd choice would be Fenske Lake and 3rd choice South Kawishiwi. Each offers good paddling opportunities.

JD
07/20/2020 03:02PM  
Also! There are 2 BWCA campsites right on Fall Lake, maybe a 5-10 minute paddle from the landing, that I've rarely seen used. You could always try to get a permit once you know your dates and hit one of those.

JD
Torgo
 
07/28/2020 01:41PM  
Fall Lake is a big, spread-out campground with lots of lake sites. I have not camped there but drove through it on 7/23 and it was totally full; on a Thursday. Was staying at South Kawishiwi River campground which is 20 min away from Fall Lake campground and has excellent paddling in both directions on the river, which is really more like a long lake. If you head south away from BWCA, you can paddle into Birch Lake. I saw 4 Bald Eagles in a 2 hr paddle to Birch and back.

South Kawishiwi River campground is smaller and really pleasant, with tasty well water but they don't have showers. It stayed about half full during the week, but fills up every weekend. Birch Lake Campground is in the same area, but 5 miles down a dirt road, apparently they have bad water (the host hauls water over from South Kawishiwi River campground) and seems to cater mainly to fishermen and motorboats.

I really wanted to check out the showers, but they have a numeric lock on the doors to keep riffraff from other campgrounds like us out. I could have asked another camper for the code, but we just went back and swam in the Kawishiwi River instead.
TravelJunkies
member (8)member
 
07/29/2020 08:05PM  
so we ended up staying at that overpriced joke of an RV park right outside the Fall Lake campground area. Arrowhead RV Resort, such a joke but anyway. We got to Fall Lake about 3:50 and all the first come first serve were full on a Wednesday so we were like ok, made the trip down the dirt road at Birch Lake and stayed the night there. Called back to Fall Lake the next morning at 9:30a to inquire about a non-reservable site. We were told to do that and I thought it was a bit odd but we were told they were full. Long story short wife wanted power and water so we ended up at Arrowhead :( . We ended up going and renting 2 canoes from Fall Lake just to see how the kids would handle them since all they have experience in is kayaks. They seemed to do pretty good but im so glad I did not plan out an entire week trip in canoes. Back to Fall Lake, you can't check in till 3pm but if you call by 9am or show up you can actually get a non-reservable site. I guess you don't have to wait till 3p like they say.
 
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