BWCA EP55 Saganaga Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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08/14/2020 09:26AM  
My wife, 9 yr old and I are doing a Sag, Knife, Seagull loop in a few weeks. This is our first BWCA trip. Are there any issues paddling north from EP55 through Granite River? I find lots of maps, but no info on direction of flow or which way is best to take on this loop.

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08/14/2020 10:16AM  
The river flows into Sag and the current is not a problem going either way. Sag is a big lake so you may want to plan on doing it early AM to avoid high winds.
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08/14/2020 10:41AM  

The Granite River flows between Granite Lake and Saganaga. But by your trip description, I’m assuming you are putting in at the public access near Trails End Campground. Correct? If so, the Sea Gull River has no discernible flow at that point.

08/14/2020 10:55AM  
Thank you, that is very helpful.Thanks for the advise on the wind, I was concerned about that as well. We plan to head out early to get through it.
08/14/2020 10:57AM  
I plan to put in at the public boat launch on Sag at the end of Gunflint trail. I think we are talking about the same place but this is our first trip. Does it make any difference whether we go Counter clockwise i.e. Sag, Knife, Seagull or clockwise-Seagull, Knife, Sag as far as prevalent winds or currents? My permit is for 55 on Sag so planned to head north from there. Thanks for the feedback.
distinguished member(1386)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/14/2020 11:12AM  
If your permit is for Saganaga, then you will need to go from the landing north to Saganaga then go counter clockwise and end up at Seagull at the end of the trip.

Instead of putting in at the landing right on Sag, the best place to start is the public landing on Gull Lake at Trail's End (near the Trail's End campground). There is a parking lot nearby. You will paddle north along the Seagull River until you reach Saganaga Lake. At the end of the trip, you can either pull up to the public landing on Seagull and just walk around the camp ground loop to where you parked your car. Or you can take an extra little portage and end up back on Gull Lake and the landing at which you started.

We just did this route with a beginner paddler. It is a lot of paddling and not much portaging (which was our goal). We did short days so that there was plenty of time for swimming and exploring around the campsite. The first day we just paddled to the north campsite on Loon Island (on Sag). The 2nd day we paddled to the 1st site on Red Rock Lake. The 3rd day we camped on Seagull and then headed out the next morning.

The day we traveled from Red Rock Lake to Seagull Lake we had some strong winds even early. We just hugged the shore. On Seagull, we stuck to the channel between the north shore and the islands. That provided a lot of protection.
08/14/2020 11:28AM  
Awesome information, we appreciate it! I feel like we have a solid plan now.
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08/14/2020 11:32AM  

Yes, with a permit for EP 55 you must enter through Saganaga. I have done a loop starting with Sagananga and ending with Seagull. If I were to choose that area again, I would head through Ester, Hanson, Cherry, etc, rather than to stay on Ottertrack and Knife. That route means much more portaging, but I think it would bring much more variety in scenery too.

08/14/2020 12:57PM  
I have done versions of this loop 3 different times. Always counter-clockwise. I've been recently thinking about planning a trip back to visit some of the lakes West of Hanson and Toe that I have never been to.

Both Sag and Seagull can be "interesting" in the wind. Like others have said, hug the shoreline. It's really good advice for several reasons, including the increased likelihood of seeing wildlife. The Seagull river has very little flow and where you will be is nice and wide.

You are probably aware, but a couple different outfitters (Seagull and Voyageurs) offer tows to American point on Sag. 2 or the 3 times I did this loop I took advantage and likely would again unless I was going for longer than 5 days. To me the cost is worth it to save almost half a day of paddling time so I can get further in on that first day. I'm not sure but maybe you could have this as a backup plan if conditions warrant?

Good luck and have a great trip!
08/14/2020 04:00PM  
Can you tell us how many nights you are planning on camping and also more specifically what lakes you are planning on passing through?
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