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      EP66 or EP54 for first time BWCA trip     
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cblair123
 
02/26/2021 07:12AM  
Hello!
My husband and I have the opportunity to explore BWCA for the first time with some friends this summer (end of June). There are two itineraries we are trying to choose from...

The first would have us entering from EP66, camping all nights on Crocodile Lake as required and then just day hiking, canoeing and exploring the lakes around there.

The second option is entering from EP54. We are thinking of possibly choosing one campsite for the first couple of nights and then moving to another for the next couple of nights.

I'm curious if anyone has thoughts on which would be better! I appreciate anyone and everyone's input! We are so excited! Thank you so much in advance :)
 
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Mocha
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02/26/2021 07:48AM  
Personally I like crocodile, but you might be bored for 4nights. There is no hiking to speak of unless you want to walk back and forth across the portage.

Seagull is a big lake and can be nasty on a windy day.

You probably don't want other suggestions but I'm. Gonna throw out a clearwater 62 entry and head to west pike fir two nights then back to clearwater for two nights. Both lakes give you an option for hiking along different areas of the border route hiking trail.
Again, clearwater lays east/west so wind could be a factor. Just paddle early morning and make camp when the wind picks up.
lindylair
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02/26/2021 09:16AM  
EP 66 is nice but one of it's main attractions is the very good and easy walleye fishing - not sure if that is part of your agenda. As mentioned, not a lot of hiking to be had but you could paddle back to the portage, go down about halfway and bushwhack straight west to a neat little waterfall between Crocodile and East Bearskin. Probably depends on water levels as to exactly how cool it is. When I saw it at the end of May several years ago it was roaring and very nice. Crocodile is generally a nice quiet lake and feels very remote for how close you are to the entry point.

You could also paddle east down the Crocodile River a ways and take a portage up to the Veggie Lakes area - remote wilderness lakes that probably not a lot of folks see. You will probably encounter a beaver dam or two along the way you will have to pull over but not a big deal.

Or, a twist on Mocha's suggestion would be to enter at Clearwater but head down to Caribou Lake. From there it is an easy daytrip to Johnson Falls which is one of the nicest falls in all of the BWCA, actually two separate sets of falls with a swimming hole at the lower one and a very nice scene above the higher falls. There are several other lakes you could either daytrip too or move to if you had the urge too. Or you could explore and stay on Pine Lake but it is a big lake. This is a good option for a short trip, especially if you are not set on travelling every day.

Wherever you go, have a great time!

02/26/2021 09:17AM  
Hello, if you want hiking possibilities look at a map. The border route trail does run through the Clearwater area like Mocha said. If you’re going to Seagull area keep in mind it is in a burn area, just remember that. Some people don’t mind the “look” of a recent burn area but others do. And, Crocodile is a dead end lake so exploring other lakes isn’t really an option. Certainly not trying to dissuade you at all, just a heads up.

Question: are you willing to portage a few times?
cblair123
 
02/26/2021 09:44AM  
Thank you Mocha! This is really helpful! It looks like Clearwater is sold out for the dates that we are looking at, but I see that there are some permits left for EP64 which is in that same area so I'm thinking perhaps we could try throwing that out as an option for our group!

And thank you for the tip regarding wind and paddling early in the morning!
cblair123
 
02/26/2021 09:46AM  
Marc24 - Ok, I see what you are talking about with the border trail and Crocodile being a dead end. The Clearwater entry point that Mocha mentioned isn't an option for our dates but the E Bearskin entry is available so I'm thinking that might be a good choice!

Thanks for the heads up on the burn area. I think having some tree coverage would definitely be nice though not a deal breaker I suppose!

Definitely up for portaging a few times! I think that will be part of the fun of experiencing a true BWCA trip! :)
02/26/2021 12:25PM  
Are you set on going in right there in that area of the Gunflint?

East Bearskin would be easy. Between Alder, canoe, crystal, pierz you should find a nice spot for a night or two. You could always pack up and move to a new lake for another night if you wanted new scenery and a new campsite. Easy day trip to Johnson Falls is still right there, you just would land at the Canoe to Pine portage, pull your canoes way up out of the way of the landing and off the trail and hike the long portage (there's your hiking too and plenty of it)

Cool area, bucket list spot, and you don't have to carry your gear across that portage
03/01/2021 06:24PM  
cyclones30: "Are you set on going in right there in that area of the Gunflint?


East Bearskin would be easy. Between Alder, canoe, crystal, pierz you should find a nice spot for a night or two. You could always pack up and move to a new lake for another night if you wanted new scenery and a new campsite. Easy day trip to Johnson Falls is still right there, you just would land at the Canoe to Pine portage, pull your canoes way up out of the way of the landing and off the trail and hike the long portage (there's your hiking too and plenty of it)


Cool area, bucket list spot, and you don't have to carry your gear across that portage "



+1.....hike the Pine portage and take the spur up to Johnson Falls. Canoe and Alder are great lakes or Pierz for some dead end privacy.
 
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