BWCA Crab Lake--Burntside lake access Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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distinguished member(2468)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/22/2020 08:16PM  
So I snagged a permit for Crab Lake in late August. Not planning on a tow at this point.

I see there are several accesses. Sounds like most people go off the access on the Van Vac road, correct? Looks like there is another access off of the Wolf lake road. Seems like a similar distance, and it's more of a protected paddle, especially if there is a west wind. Has anyone used this one? Doesn't look like there's much parking.

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distinguished member(4155)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
07/22/2020 10:27PM  
The lack of parking on that western one is what I've read about in one of the popular boundary waters route books....forgot which book.
distinguished member (252)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/22/2020 11:47PM  
I've accessed it from Passi Rd/Cty Rd. 803 (off echo trail).

Little parking, but a quiet spot IMO. Paddle for us was fairly sheltered but a few gaps of exposure. Paddling in it was glass and paddling out we had a tail wind so no great issues. I usually put in early in the AM.
I would likely try a different access next time just for variety, not because I didn't like the spot.

Good luck.
distinguished member(1435)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/23/2020 12:39AM  
We put in at the boat access on the Van Vac road. It's a LOOONNNGGG paddle across Burntside and if I did it again I'd get a tow. Finding the portage into Crab among the islands can be a chore. But maybe that was just me. We paddled by it three times before we asked one of the island residents where it was. "Well it's right over there." she said. Dohhh.

If you can find parking off of Wolf Lake Road it might be the way to go but it seems most people opt for the Van Vac road access. There may be a reason.
distinguished member(2468)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
07/23/2020 07:01PM  
Thanks everyone. We will see what the wind is like. We will probably check out the landing on the wolf lake rd first.
07/24/2020 04:42PM  
We've used the Crab Lake entry twice. Both times we used the entry off the Wolf Lake Road. The first time we used it because there was a westerly wind and it provided better shelter. The second time just because we knew that one. There's a nice parking area there with good room. I don't have a photo of the parking area, but here's one of the launch area.

member (27)member
07/25/2020 01:13PM  
A year or two ago the FS eliminated a bunch of the parking spots at the Wolf Lake landing in order to be able to provide turn-around space for trailers. About half the former number of spots now have no parking signs. This landing is often parked up--mainly islanders, contractors and forest workers--so Van Vac is a better bet, parking-wise.
Weather conditions may dictate which is the better choice but both involve a pretty exposed crossing if the wind is blowing.
07/28/2020 01:14PM  
We just got back yesterday from Crab #4 and had parked in Van Vac Road lot. The lots was full on Thursday when we went in at 7:30 am and nearly full when we left about noon Monday. We opted for the tow but there was a group of two canoes (father+sons) that paddled back from #4 with a 15 mph tail wind. They did okay in the big waves. I'm sure they were glad it was a tail wind.
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