BWCA Travel time from Mudro to LBF Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Trip Planning Forum
      Travel time from Mudro to LBF     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

kraig118
member (5)member
 
05/08/2022 09:26AM  
We are set to put in at mudro on 5/18. Some of our group will be driving up from the cities that morning after dropping kids off at school so we likely won't hit the entry point until around 1pm. We are ultimately heading to LBF/crooked to basecamp for 4 or 5 nights. We are trying to figure out if it is feasible to shoot to make it all the way there after putting in around 1, or if we should plan on spending a night on Horse.

We are experienced campers and paddlers and 3 of our group of 4 have made 10+ trips to the BWCA together but this will be a new location for us. We are fairly strong paddlers and usually 1.5x the portages. Looking for some advice on travel times to Horse, LBF, and also a time from Horse to LBF so we can guage our progress that afternoon if we have to make a call on stopping or pushing on. Thanks!
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
05/08/2022 12:35PM  
About 7 hours from the Mudro EP to LBF and about 3 to 3.5 hours from Horse to LBF (water level dependent).

FYI campsites around LBF tend to fill up early.
dustytrail
distinguished member (159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/08/2022 02:17PM  
There are 2 of us. We normally start about 7-8, eat lunch on horse and get to LBF 3 or 4 if water levels are good on Horse River and that can be a big if. Most sites are already taken. In my experience I would not expect to find an open site that late in the day around LBF. But Crooked usually has open sites.
Lawnchair107
distinguished member (207)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/08/2022 02:54PM  
I would go with the expectation that the sites around LBF will be full by the time you get there. That puts you continuing on towards Crooked. Many sites to choose from down the river, but I would go with the mentality that you’ll need to continue on throughout Crooked to find an open site or camp on Horse.
MidwestFirecraft
distinguished member(832)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/08/2022 03:15PM  
I don't know if it is problem that early in May, but Horse fills up quickly as well.
technically_rugged
distinguished member (387)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2022 10:14AM  
I would echo the sentiments here. It's about 7 hours from Mudro to LBF, double portaging, in my experience. That's an average paddling pace, not dawdling but not hoofing it. While in most situations I'd say you should expect LBF to be full, May 18th is still somewhat of an early trip and there are just enough campsites in that area that you might have a shot. You could always proceed a little bit up Crooked as well but the campsites start getting spread out the further north you go.

If it were me, I'd just plan on staying on Horse. Looking for camp at 8pm with the potential to have to go even further is not a situation I'd want to be in. Then get up early the next day and hoof it up to Weds/Thurs Bay.
Saberboys
distinguished member(809)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2022 12:32PM  
We went from Mudro to the campsite at the top of LBF last May. Water levels were pretty low at that time which gave us a few extra short pull overs. We made LBF in just over 5-1/2 hours, maybe 6 hours tops. We left Mudro by maybe 8:00 AM and arrived by 2:00. We were mainly doing 1.5 portages. We were not racing to get there, and stopped for a snack on Horse.

We did have to race another canoe once we reached Basswood though, as we were both heading in the direction of the same campsite.

By the evening all of the campsites were taken as everyone had settled in for the evening. There were a few that opened up by the next morning as people were pushing on.

At that time of day, I may try to grab a site on Horse if you can, you may be hard pressed to secure something on LBF. If you are lucky, there is a nice site (1116?) on Horse near the entrance to the Horse River. I think you would then arrive at LBF the next morning when people are packing up and moving on (hopefully).
cyclones30
distinguished member(3918)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/09/2022 08:14PM  
MidwestFirecraft: "I don't know if it is problem that early in May, but Horse fills up quickly as well. "

And you can't camp there if you've got the restricted permit anyway
jwettelrin89
senior member (57)senior membersenior member
 
05/09/2022 09:01PM  
6 hours is standard for my group to get from mudro to LBF with double portaging. As long as you keep at it and you leave Mudro by 1pm that would put you at LBF around 7 or 8 conservatively. It stays light out until around 9pm these days, so it's certainly doable. Even if the sites at LBF are full you should have at least an hour to keep going and looking. Depends on your comfort and skill level. It is reaaaly nice to get past LBF and not have to worry about any portages on day 2. I'd send it, but i've done that route countless times. You could always do the Horse as a backup, sometimes it gets crouded, but on a wednesday night you should be able to find a spot.
bretthexum
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
 
05/10/2022 02:01PM  
As others said, plan on about 7 hours. Last summer was a nightmare with low water on Horse River and extra portages. Giant pain in the ... it was close to 9.

Water should be much higher now, so smoother going. We lucked out and got a site right at the falls, but it's another hour or so if those are full. Gotta be prepared for that. We were completely exhausted by the time we hit LBF. I can't imagine going further and we're pretty experienced paddlers.
walleyejunky
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
 
05/11/2022 09:50AM  
I'm about to find out how long it takes in 4 weeks. Will be our first trip to this area and we are super excited!!
PeaceFrog
distinguished member (326)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/11/2022 10:35AM  
I would recommend camping on Horse. Couple nice sites near the river. It’s a good day trip from Horse. We had young kids and did the day trip just fine until a storm whipped up; but still everyone enjoyed it. LBF can get “crowded” and feel like you are at a State Park.
GraniteCliffs
distinguished member(1957)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/11/2022 06:15PM  
Your biggest problem is not time from Mudro to LBF. Not double portaging. Nor open campsites. Nor water levels. You can figure all of that out as you go and see how fast you travel and what open campsites you stumble across.
In my experience your Achilles Heel is the fact that several of your group are leaving the Cities AFTER they drop kids at school. Then at some point stopping to eat at a drive through. Perhaps a rest stop to take care of business. And then to pick up the things someone forgot. And then your permit. And maybe to refill the gas tank. And of course the potential to shoot 30 minutes at Mudro organizing yourselves.
That, in my experience, is why you could arrive at LBF in the dark!
On the other hand it is likely you and your group are more squared away than our group trips frequently are. Which doesn’t say much since several years ago we unloaded the van at Mudro to discover our two bear vaults with food were back at home in the cities.
schweady
distinguished member(7776)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/11/2022 07:23PM  
Early on in our men's trips, the plan was always "get up at dark oh-thirty, drive the 5 hours to Ely, get our permit, and hit the water 'around noon.'" It was usually 2 pm before we got to our EP. One year, we put in at Little Indian Sioux River North and didn't let up until we reached our "planned" site on Oyster Lake. Whatever the reason was that we "had to" get there, I'm not certain. 19 miles. 9 portages. Not a lot of wilderness canoeing experience among the lot of us. Suggestions were made to keel haul our leader. Dark when we got a site. Dark making camp. Dark making supper. Dark swatting mosquitoes. The most miserable trip I can recall. It's no wonder that it was dubbed "The Iron Man." Mention that phrase to anyone in our group and it needs no further explanation. We soon devised a plan that on future trips, we would overnight in town and get to the EP in the early morning. So much more refreshing.

You have your permit date and folks have their obligations, I get that. I don't mean to pile on, you have some trips under your belt, but heading in from Mudro at 1 pm, whether planning to stop on Horse or pushing on to LBF, is not exactly a plan for success. Do your best to get everyone together as early as possible. This trip will make memories, sure, but it will be a while before you can laugh about that Day One.
cyclones30
distinguished member(3918)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/11/2022 09:17PM  
PeaceFrog: "I would recommend camping on Horse. Couple nice sites near the river. It’s a good day trip from Horse. We had young kids and did the day trip just fine until a storm whipped up; but still everyone enjoyed it. LBF can get “crowded” and feel like you are at a State Park."

Can't camp on Horse if they've got the restricted permit.
kraig118
member (5)member
 
05/12/2022 05:39PM  
I appreciate everyone's input and opinions on this.

We do not have the restricted permit, so we definitely have Horse as an option.

We used to come up and spend a night at one of the bunkhouses and head out early the next morning, but we do it this way now because we were able to spend an extra night in the BWCA without an extra night away from our families. We have done this plenty and don't take long to get going once we get up north. I will be leaving from Duluth, so I will be doing all of the "screwing around" stuff before we put in while the other guys are driving.

I think as always we will be flexible with our plans and wait and see how it goes after we hit the water. Knowing the approximate travel times, especially from Horse to LBF will definitely help us make a more educated decision once we get paddling.

I know Horse and the LBF area are popular, I am just used to not seeing quite as much traffic for our May trip. Usually on a Wednesday in mid-may we don't have to worry about sites, but things have been getting more crowded the last couple of years. Do you think the campsites are a concern so early in the season now?

Thanks again for everyone's input!
Eyedocron
distinguished member (483)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/13/2022 07:05PM  
My crews usually are for the Quetico, so we worry less about making camp early. One trip, however, a young lady with us surprised us all by being rejected for a RABC due to a past DWI, so we quickly changed to the US side for our trip. We were on the water about 10 AM and camped just short of the Horse River. Medium water levels, an early start next day, and made it to Lower Basswood Falls about noon. The only campsite available was below the falls and on the north shore across a bay, so I highly recommend you not arrive late afternoon and expect to find a campsite. Early June. We had people paddling past our campsite with flashlights after dark looking for a site. Sad and dangerous. Photos are the Horse River and Lower Basswood Falls
05/13/2022 07:58PM  
kraig118: "… I know Horse and the LBF area are popular, I am just used to not seeing quite as much traffic for our May trip. Usually on a Wednesday in mid-may we don't have to worry about sites, but things have been getting more crowded the last couple of years. Do you think the campsites are a concern so early in the season now? "

7 groups enter Mudro per day. Looks like nearly all permits are taken 5/15-5/18 (26 of 28). I bet well over half are headed up to Crooked by the route you are taking and some will spend a couple days at LBF fishing. So yes, there probably is reason to be concerned about no site upon a late arrival.

On the other hand, if you depart Horse early and get on the Horse River by 7 AM you can be on Thursday Bay by 1 PM.
kraig118
member (5)member
 
05/23/2022 08:08PM  
Just an update on the travel time for us. We put in right at 1pm and were at LBF at 7pm doing 1.5 portages. Horse river being high helped push us along a bit but we also spent an extra 30-45 minutes bushwacking around some high fast water to get to a portage. I would say 5.5-6 hours for us under normal conditions, doing 1.5 portaging and we dont generally take any extended breaks. We camped just above the falls the first night and went further into crooked after that.
IndyCanoe
distinguished member (135)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/24/2022 09:38AM  
We went late August 2019, water levels that late in the year seemed pretty low and it took us 4.5 hours from Horse to LBF with all of the pullovers. We are not fast paddlers and double portaged. We did luck into a site arriving at 4pm. That said when we decided to push on from Horse at 11:30, we had mentally prepared ourselves that we might be traveling to Crooked lake that evening, as there was a risk all of the sites would be taken.

That loop is still one of our favorite trips!
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Trip Planning Sponsor:
Rockwood Outfitters