BWCA Kawishiwi entry; Night before? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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05/16/2021 01:36PM  
Heading into Kawish for the first time in about 20 years and am looking for a place to stay the night before. I know about the campground located at the lake (and how busy it can be), and it seems that any place anywhere near the EP requires a 2-3 night minimum stay. What am I missing? Thanks in advance to all who reply.
 
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dustytrail
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05/16/2021 02:12PM  
There's Sawbill if you want to camp. Maybe 20 minutes or so away.
Northwoodsman
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05/16/2021 04:27PM  
You can take your chances on a spot at the EP, there are 5 spots, all free but non-reservable, on a first come basis. There is Sawbill Lake Campground (large and very nice with an outfitter on-site), Crescent Lake Campground, and a one or two others on or near the Sawbill Trail if you are coming from the east.
05/16/2021 06:08PM  
If this summer is like last, I wouldn't chance any campground. I've done the search game up in that area before for Sawbill, Baker and Kawishiwi entries and usually I settle on reserving a room at the AmericInn in Tofte. It just seems easier after driving 9 hours. Up early and head up the Sawbill Trail.
I believe there is also a Temperance River campground near where the Grade road splits off. Never checked it out.
05/16/2021 06:19PM  
Appreciate the input. I usually stay at the AmericInn in Tofte on my way out of any Gunflint trips, but they have a 2 night minimum this year.

I talked with the owner of the Cliff Dweller about this today, and he told me that the reason for the 2 night minimum for him is due to the lack of help that usually hits the North Shore from overseas. He cannot keep up with the room cleaning for one night stays without the foreign "kids" who flock to the area for the summer. He stated this may change if visas can be issued soon, but the pandemic, obviously, is still impacting the overseas travel.

I did find a room at the AmericInn in Silver Bay; not as close I would like, but it will suffice. I have preferred a hotel/motel the night before and after a trip for some time; getting soft in my advancing years!
cyclones30
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05/16/2021 06:22PM  
I agree w/ what's been said. The few spots at the EP seem like they're taken by summer-long big campers sitting there. Temperance river is a half hour away probably and Sawbill is a bit closer. You can reserve sites at Sawbill (or I think they have some first-come) But yeah, you can get a room on the lakeshore somewhere probably 45 min to the EP or camp probably 20-30 min away.
05/16/2021 06:29PM  
cyclones30: ", you can get a room on the lakeshore somewhere probably 45 min to the EP or camp probably 20-30 min away. "

Every place north of Silver Bay has a 2-3 night limit in place this year.
05/16/2021 09:06PM  
Frenchy, I found myself in exactly the same boat. By some miracle I found a single Sunday night on Memorial Day weekend at Raven North in Beaver Bay.

Check out their airbnb "Nests" and maybe you'll get lucky too.
MikeinMpls
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05/17/2021 08:37AM  
Sounds like you have the situation covered. But I'll chime in anyway:

You could try Temperance River campground, on the Sawbill Trail, has nine sites, and is on the way to Kawishiwi Lake. It's a USFS campground.

Baker Lake is near, but only has four sites IIRC.

I think Sawbill campground is a great option.

We entered at Kawishiwi Lake last year. We stayed at the Americinn in Tofte. You can get coffee, bait, etc at the Holiday right next door. There is also a little coffee place in Tofte just north of Blue Fin.

I would highly recommend NOT staying at the EP. It's a small town there in the summer.

Mike
scotttimm
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05/17/2021 08:50AM  
Last year I had this same debate, we were worried about staying in a hotel, and the campground was closed. After talking with some folks on here, we decided to just make the drive in and camp on Kawishiwi Lake night one of our permit. Brought in a bunch of fresh food since we wouldn't have to portage it. Paddled 20 minutes, got a campsite, and this gave us a quick start the following day. I don't know how far you are driving, so that may factor in, but I think we only saw 2 other occupied campsites on Kawishiwi that first night.
mschi772
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05/17/2021 09:04AM  
Frenchy19: "Appreciate the input. I usually stay at the AmericInn in Tofte on my way out of any Gunflint trips, but they have a 2 night minimum this year."

Huh, I must have snagged my single-night stay for my June trip before they made that policy. Single-night stays must be really common around the BWCA, so there must be something really crappy about them for the hotels for them to decide to prohibit them. Requiring 2 nights is an instant deal-breaker for me.
05/17/2021 09:11AM  
I went in on Kawishiwi last year and will do so again this year. The Sawbill Campground is your best option and is what I did last year and will do again this year.

Even in this crazy times, there will be a campground open for you to take or you can even go on recreation.gov and reserve one now.
Chuckles
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05/17/2021 09:42AM  
If the weather is good, we camp at a non-designated site near the entry point. You have to be inside the NF, outside the BWCA and away from streams and such, but there always seems to be an abandoned logging road within 1/2 mile of the entry point.

It was also helpful because everyone had to unpack and repack their gear together before we hit the water and it led to many things being left behind. That tripping partner and I tend to not trust other people to bring the gear they say they're bringing and found it easier to leave it behind when we see the other guy put it in his pack.
05/17/2021 12:55PM  
The two night minimum has been pretty standard on Sept. weekends in Grand Marais for years. Email me for some more information.
northerntrader
 
05/17/2021 01:17PM  
I had the same problem with my August 31 Kawishiwi entry...no convenient place to stay the night before that didn't want a two day minimum. Flying into Duluth, I need a place with a refrigerator and preferably a freezer to cool down/freeze fresh meat, so camping night 0 was not really a good option. I ultimately decided to book an Airbnb in Duluth (actually, Superior) and treat my self to a great pre-trip, then just pack up and leave around 5 am the next day. Should get me to the entry early, refreshed and ready to paddle.
05/17/2021 02:32PM  
I think I'd opt for Sawbill campground, Mark if I had to choose. It's still a drive of a half-hour (?) to the put-in but you're close. It's been a couple of years since I went in that way but I wouldn't want to chance getting there to camp, as cowdoc pointed out, and find that the 5 spots are taken.
05/17/2021 03:28PM  
I would take a chance that one of those sites is open. However I would also plan to potentially sleep in my car in the parking lot. Packs can go in the front seat and lay a bed down for the night inside the car....best if you have a suv.
Unas10
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05/17/2021 05:48PM  
x2jmorris: "....best if you have a suv."

and was born after 1980;)
05/17/2021 08:31PM  
Unas10: "x2jmorris: "....best if you have a suv."


and was born after 1980;)"


Hey now lol yeah I'm younger but my father is 73 and joins in too :)
cyclones30
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05/17/2021 08:48PM  
I was born after 1980....and first trip to that EP just winged it hoping for a spot. No way...those people were setup w/ lights and generators and who knows what else on their 5th wheel setups.

Slept in the driver's seat of my truck....might be worst night I've ever had. We did get a VERY early start the next morning as a slight benefit due to how bad the sleeping was haha
Bobaaa
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05/18/2021 09:21AM  
Last time to the Kawishiwi EP we found 2 of the 5 sites open on a Sunday night in mid-June so I guess we got lucky. Our fallback plan was to backtrack and grab a spot at the Temperance River Campground.
05/18/2021 01:36PM  
Thanks again to all who made suggestions. We did find a room in Silver Bay which is about 30 miles from Tofte, and that is certainly very, very doable.
Z4K
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05/18/2021 02:45PM  


Plenty of rustic campgrounds in the area. First come first served and free.
Kawishiwi lake is top center; Tofte is in the bottom right.
 
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