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CanoeingHarry
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
 
06/15/2022 01:15PM  
Wife and I are taking our six year old on his first BWCA trip and we were able to get Lake One as an entry this year. Was looking at the maps but not seeing much for good reviews on campsites.

Does anyone have any experience with Lake One camping, swimming and or explored the area? I'm hoping he has a good time so this will become a tradition for us. My wife and I have been going in alone for 8 years and are excited that he wants to go with us and see the BWCA.

 
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MikeinMpls
distinguished member(1078)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/15/2022 03:28PM  
I suggest moving on to Lake Three. The further in you go, the more of the circus you leave behind. During busy months, Lake One is very crowded. It's noisy, and more like a state campground than the "wilderness." Lake Three, while still busy, is very large and offers more sites and more options to get away from the crowd.

Mike
Grandma L
distinguished member(5514)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/15/2022 04:59PM  
Good Advice Mike, I agree - head to Lake Three. The portages are easy and short. It will add to the adventure. When our youngest grand daughter was not quite 2, that is where we spent out trip. Decent fishing, nice day trip to see the Lake Four rapids and not too many people. Most of them keep on going to Insula. Enjoy, Lake Three is one of our favorites.
CanoeingHarry
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
 
06/16/2022 07:33AM  
Thank you for the suggestions, Lake Three is huge on the map. Any site or area tips?
Kendis
distinguished member (140)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/16/2022 08:53AM  
CanoeingHarry: "Thank you for the suggestions, Lake Three is huge on the map. Any site or area tips?"

Lake Three was burned in the Pagami Creek Fire in 2011. Try to arrive earlier in the day to get a campsite that has reviews saying it was spared. This website and the alternative trip planning website have campsite reviews you can read via the interactive map to get an idea of which campsites you might be interested in.
MikeinMpls
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06/16/2022 11:31AM  
Kendis: "CanoeingHarry: "Thank you for the suggestions, Lake Three is huge on the map. Any site or area tips?"


Lake Three was burned in the Pagami Creek Fire in 2011. Try to arrive earlier in the day to get a campsite that has reviews saying it was spared. This website and the alternative trip planning website have campsite reviews you can read via the interactive map to get an idea of which campsites you might be interested in."


Totally agree. Go to the map and campsite feature of this website. Also, there are maps available that show the areas burned which is very informative cross-referencing against the campsites. Lake Three lost several campsites in the fire, so make sure that you double check the maps and with the USFS when you pick up your permit to ensure you haven't picked out a closed campsite.

Mike
06/16/2022 03:44PM  
Chances are you are not entirely bent on an isolation type of trip or you would not be going in at Lake One. Therefore you may be planning a base camp for a few days rather than a full travel every day move to another camp. You will likely find most campsites already filled as you head on to Lake Two and three. My advice is to take an acceptable site on lake One if you run on to one by some good fortune. Every site opens up at some point and you may bet lucky as I have done on 2 occasions. I would not look too hard at camps bunched together, but the odds favor a fine experience for you at the other camps you would enjoy staying in. You will likely see other groups looking for your camp, but they will move along.

If the chance you will not enjoy just seeing other groups or are concerned you may sometimes hear folks along the way is that important, I would definitely move on from lake One if you do not find an isolated site. Find a site on 2 or 3 where you are in a bay or away from other marked nearby sites. Enjoy.
06/16/2022 06:24PM  
In addition to the maps feature which has photos and ratings of many of the campsites and portages you can read trip reports from the numbered lakes. Use the search feature and enter "trip reports numbered lakes".
The area is very busy so while you might pick one or two "better" sites to camp when you get there you might "take what you can find". Be familiar with all the sites, start early and paddle a route that allows you to check sites as you go in.
I have a favorite site on Lake Three, so I go late September when crowds are down and I have chance of getting it.
It's great you are introducing your son.
ockycamper
distinguished member(949)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2022 01:57PM  
About 15 years ago we brought 3 groups in through entry point 30 on to the numbered lakes. We looked at all the camp sites on Lake one. Every one was taken. We moved on to Lake 3 and found some sites after a lot of looking. We went the last week of May. As others have said. . . VERY crowded.
CanoeingHarry
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
 
06/18/2022 05:40PM  
We've got no expectations but I'm starting to get very nervous about sites. We are going in on a Wed so hopefully that helps. We have agreed to skip Lake One and save our energy looking on Two or Three.
06/19/2022 10:47AM  
CanoeingHarry: "I'm starting to get very nervous about sites"

Biggest thing is to get going early, so you can be looking for a site in the late morning/mid-day timeframe, when the highest number are likely to be vacant.
06/19/2022 03:59PM  
I was last in Lake One in the mid-1980’s with my dad in late September. To read what people say about it now amazes me since I can recall how busy it was when I was there.
Heyfritty
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/21/2022 09:49AM  
I just wrote a long post here in a thread about how busy lakes are this year. I wrote about my recent trip to Lake Three. I’m sure I got a bit lucky but I had a lot of privacy. I stayed on the Southern part of Three. As for the campsites nearby, all of them had at least some good tree cover and 3 of them are completely unaffected and nice(and fun for a youngster to explore). The 2 less desirable in the south are campsites 1512 & 13(see this sites map feature for numbers). I wouldn’t stress out too much. If you can get the kiddo up early, you can be looking for campsites by 10:00 or 11:00. At that time you may get first pick of open sites or see others packing up to move on. I left the landing at 6 am and did just that. Good luck and hopefully he’ll fall in love like so many of us.

Fritty
ockycamper
distinguished member(949)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/21/2022 10:13AM  
That was our mistake. The numbered lakes were our first "shake down" trip. The outfitter did not get us to the put in at entry point 30 until 10:30 (we were in his bunkhouse and he shuttled us there). By the time we got to Lake 3 it was 4-5 pm and almost all the sites were gone. We never used that outfitter again.

Lesson learned that trip: When we take our groups up we get them up (from the bunkhouse) at 6 AM so that we are on the water no later then 8 am. Rarely are we not at our base camps by noon.

The other thing we did is push back our trips to mid to late September.
06/21/2022 10:41PM  
CanoeingHarry: "We've got no expectations but I'm starting to get very nervous about sites. We are going in on a Wed so hopefully that helps. We have agreed to skip Lake One and save our energy looking on Two or Three."

Arriving on a Wednesday really helps. I agree with BWCADan though if ya happen upon a nice site on lake one I’d take it. Either way you will have fun and be fine.

T




tashit
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
 
06/24/2022 03:24PM  
Personally I wouldn't worry about solitude with a 6 year old, that won't matter to him. I would let him decide if he wants to take the first open site on Lake One or continue on to Lake Two or Three. When we took my daughter on her first trip (age 5 at the time) she was very anxious to get to a site after the first 2 portages. We stayed on Caribou (off of Poplar) and it felt sort of state park like to me when we arrived, but she didn't care. She just thought it was cool that she was in the BWCA. Do what your kid wants to do so he will want to come back. As he gets older you can worry more about solitude. My daughter is now 7 and going on her third trip next month. We are also bringing our 4 year old son along for his first trip.
CanoeingHarry
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
 
06/24/2022 06:01PM  
Everyone one here is 1st class....thank you so much for the help and encouragement. We went to REI today for his new camp chair, sleeping pad and pillow...he's really starting to get excited. Few more weeks to go.
Chicagored
distinguished member(588)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/28/2022 06:42AM  
If you can go the distance, I would suggest you look at fire lake. Beautiful campsites, not fire damaged, and my experience is that they are often empty. (am I making a mistake by putting this out there?) Remember that since covid, the BWCA has been fully booked and you are looking at one of the busiest entry points. More distance and more portages equal less people. Start early. Don't be afraid to stop at a site and ask the people if they are leaving, if it looks like they may be packing up.

Also, as previously stated, try to be on the water by 8 ish so that you are looking for a site by mid to late morning. Also note that the lake one entry is popular with large inexperienced groups. That early double portage from lake one to lake two can be frustrating when a large group or two leave their boats in the water blocking the portage while portaging their bags first. If you leave early, you will probably beat the rush hour.
speake4
 
07/02/2022 03:14PM  
Heading out mid August with four women - two with very limited experience and two with some experience. Putting in at entry 30 and plan to portage into lake two - maybe further into lake three or four. ? Not sure how long it will take and wondering what lakes and parts of lakes most affected by Pagami Creek fire. I’d like to ensure great scenery and trees. What do you recommend for route and camp sites? Stay to the north? Plan to stay on two or three or four? Thank you for your thoughts!
bottomtothetap
distinguished member(942)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2022 03:51PM  
speake4: "Heading out mid August with four women - two with very limited experience and two with some experience. Putting in at entry 30 and plan to portage into lake two - maybe further into lake three or four. ? Not sure how long it will take and wondering what lakes and parts of lakes most affected by Pagami Creek fire. I’d like to ensure great scenery and trees. What do you recommend for route and camp sites? Stay to the north? Plan to stay on two or three or four? Thank you for your thoughts!"

Doing the same trip, same time with five complete newbies. Hoping for similar as you've expressed and just want them to have fun. Also considered checking out the site on Rifle to stay at if it's open. My plan would be to get into the first site the first day, stay two nights and then spend the third of 3 nights on Lake One for a quick exit from the BWCA the next AM. This would be on a Monday night with exit on a Tuesday. Is the opinion of others that we should just stay at our Lake 3 or Rifle site that last night because of Lake One crowding or would it be worth it to go for Lake One for that quick morning exit?
gopher2307
distinguished member (190)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2022 05:25PM  
Took my 5 and 6 year old with the wife in 2020. Couldn't find a Campsite until lake 3...it was a good thing though. West or south side would be ideal. Find the sand beach via Google toward the sw corner, and searched for blueberries during swim breaks. Bring a picnic.. Makes for a nice day or two.
Heyfritty
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2022 08:21PM  
bottomtothetap: "speake4: "Heading out mid August with four women - two with very limited experience and two with some experience. Putting in at entry 30 and plan to portage into lake two - maybe further into lake three or four. ? Not sure how long it will take and wondering what lakes and parts of lakes most affected by Pagami Creek fire. I’d like to ensure great scenery and trees. What do you recommend for route and camp sites? Stay to the north? Plan to stay on two or three or four? Thank you for your thoughts!"


Doing the same trip, same time with five complete newbies. Hoping for similar as you've expressed and just want them to have fun. Also considered checking out the site on Rifle to stay at if it's open. My plan would be to get into the first site the first day, stay two nights and then spend the third of 3 nights on Lake One for a quick exit from the BWCA the next AM. This would be on a Monday night with exit on a Tuesday. Is the opinion of others that we should just stay at our Lake 3 or Rifle site that last night because of Lake One crowding or would it be worth it to go for Lake One for that quick morning exit? "


That would be a risky strategy. Lake One is frequently full. Leaving from 3 is only a 3-4 hour trip, so if time is critical I’d just leave early. Depending on where you find a campsite you might only save an hour.

Fritty
Heyfritty
distinguished member (144)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/02/2022 08:32PM  
speake4: "Heading out mid August with four women - two with very limited experience and two with some experience. Putting in at entry 30 and plan to portage into lake two - maybe further into lake three or four. ? Not sure how long it will take and wondering what lakes and parts of lakes most affected by Pagami Creek fire. I’d like to ensure great scenery and trees. What do you recommend for route and camp sites? Stay to the north? Plan to stay on two or three or four? Thank you for your thoughts!"

You can see an approximate Pagami fire boundary on the Voyageur map, but there can be significant variations(burned and not burned)throughout. A number of campsites were protected during the fire, so I would say most offer good cover at the site. The boundary shows the top half of Two being outside the fire, but no matter where you are, you will see the affected shorelines. Campsite 1516 in Lake Three is a very nice site and if you look east or west from most of the site, you don’t see any fire effects. But to the south it’s obvious. The whole eastern shore was basically untouched.

I hadn’t been on those lakes since the fire, so when I got back there last fall I was surprised at how much it had recovered. There are 20’ high trees all over. Another nice site is the one on the very farthest southeastern point. I think some maps show it still closed, but it’s open (site 2224 on Voyageur map). That site has some of the largest cedar trees that I have ever seen. It also has a trail to the Pow Wow trail. In all, there are 3 nice sites on the South end of Three.

Fritty
 
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