BWCA EP24 - Fall Lake Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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rockom
 
02/05/2022 06:01PM  
Hello,

I am planning a trip for myself, my wife, and our three children ages 16, 13, and 9. We are looking at 4 nights for this trip. This will be the first trip for all of them.

In the past I have entered on Moose (EP25) and an outfitter towed us up to Splash. We made our way into Ima and then back down into Disappointment to exit at Snowbank over the course of a week (6 nights) staying at a different sight each night. My last trip was in 2020. On day one, my buddy and I didn't find an empty site until we reached Jordan. That's too far this time around. My family is a less experienced group that is interested in mostly base camping and paddling from camp each day so, I think the big loop through Ima will not work.

I currently have a permit for EP24 mid June. Will making our way north from Fall Lake be a suitable route for my Family? I have not planned an exit yet but so far I figure we will return to the entry point. Should I be looking at a different area? We are an adventurous group and have lots of camping experience but pushing hard the first day or two is NOT our goal. Also, looking at my Fisher maps today I noticed there is a motor route from Fall Lake up through Newton and Pipestone to Basswood. What is the motor traffic like there?

My goal is for my families first experience in the BWCA to as memorable for them as it has been for me.

-Rocko
 
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Wallyhunter7
member (11)member
 
02/05/2022 08:52PM  
I think Fall lake would be good for you and your kids. The portages are easy and wide open and campsites will be open. I also would recommend going into Back Bay for fishing if you and your kids like that. Bring some crawlers or small leeches for panfish fun. The motor traffic is not ideal, but if you get off the main route ie into back bay, you won’t hear them much. I would plan to edit on Fall for ease of transportation and it’s just more simple. Overall, I think Fall lake is pretty good for the first time with kids.
Kendis
distinguished member (114)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/06/2022 08:23AM  
rockom: "Hello,

I am planning a trip for myself, my wife, and our three children ages 16, 13, and 9. We are looking at 4 nights for this trip. This will be the first trip for all of them.

In the past I have entered on Moose (EP25) and an outfitter towed us up to Splash. We made our way into Ima and then back down into Disappointment to exit at Snowbank over the course of a week (6 nights) staying at a different sight each night. My last trip was in 2020. On day one, my buddy and I didn't find an empty site until we reached Jordan. That's too far this time around. My family is a less experienced group that is interested in mostly base camping and paddling from camp each day so, I think the big loop through Ima will not work.

I currently have a permit for EP24 mid June. Will making our way north from Fall Lake be a suitable route for my Family? I have not planned an exit yet but so far I figure we will return to the entry point. Should I be looking at a different area? We are an adventurous group and have lots of camping experience but pushing hard the first day or two is NOT our goal. Also, looking at my Fisher maps today I noticed there is a motor route from Fall Lake up through Newton and Pipestone to Basswood. What is the motor traffic like there?

My goal is for my families first experience in the BWCA to as memorable for them as it has been for me.

-Rocko"


My wife and I entered at Fall Lake in 2020 in late June and in 2021 in mid-May. The portages for a 4 night trip where you exit at Fall are easy and manageable with children. The portages between Fall -> Newton, Newton -> Pipestone Bay, and Pipestone Bay -> Back Bay are all motor portages and easy for paddlers. An "easy" route would be:

Day 1 - Fall to Pipestone Bay
Days 2 and 3, explore up towards Jackfish Bay or Basswood Falls, or take the portage into Back Bay
Day 4 - Pipestone Bay back to Fall

A more adventuresome route, still manageable with your group would be:

Day 1 - Fall to Pipestone Bay
Day 2 - Pipestone Bay to US Point. This is especially nice as once you are north of Jackfish Bay you exit the motorized zone.
Day 3 - US Point to Washington/Lincoln Island or return to Pipestone Bay via Back Bay
Day 4 - return to Fall

Lastly, you could consider a one way trip from Fall to Moose. You could stay at an outfitter on Moose the night before the trip and be driven by them to Fall on the morning of your entry date, then paddle out to the outfitter's facility on Moose. A 4 night trip on this route is probably:

Day 1 - Fall to Pipestone Bay
Day 2 - Pipestone Bay to Washington/Lincoln Island or Wind Bay
Day 3 - Wind Bay to Wind Lake
Day 4 - Wind to Moose

You could go instead take a route from Washington Island through Prairie Portage back to Moose. This cuts out the two longer portages at Wind Lake at the expense of longer paddling times. If you end up windbound on Basswood you can always get to Moose via Wind Lake as a backup plan.

All of these routes have 4-6 hours of travel per day.

The motor traffic from Fall to Pipestone Bay will be noticeable but shouldn't bother you any more than maybe having to wait your turn at one of the portages. The motor traffic between Washington Island to Back Bay is similarly fine.

This turned into a long post... hope you can glean something useful from it. If you are looking for any more detailed info about these routes let me know - campsites, etc.
02/06/2022 10:34AM  
Packsack will tow you to the top of Pipestone Bay. From there you can make your way to a couple of sites either towards UBF or the eastern shores on Basswood. There are lots of camping options up in that area to serve as a basecamp.
Melville
Guest Paddler
 
02/07/2022 11:38AM  
Totally agree. Been using Fall mostly since around 2000. The trip up to
U.S. point is great with plentiful sites on Pipestone and Basswood.
Last year however I waited too late and couldn't even get permits out of Fall Lake at all.
 
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