BWCA Entry Point #12 - Little Vermillion Lake. Three beginners and one camper who has been to BWCA once. Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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      Entry Point #12 - Little Vermillion Lake. Three beginners and one camper who has been to BWCA once.     
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aarono2690
member (9)member
 
07/01/2022 01:05PM  
Hello,

As the title states I have a entry permit for EP12. We're going in late July so this was one of the few entry points that still had permits available. Group is four younger guys (ages 25-33) in good shape. Three of the group have NEVER been to BWCA while I have been once (went in at Moose Lake entry point). We will have two canoes.

Plan is to go in very early morning via Crane Lake and paddle over to Loon Lake. I've heard this is an 18 mile journey so hopefully by leaving early we will have enough time to get to a camp site and unwind for the day. I thought about using a tow service to get in, but after looking at the cost I think we'll pass and paddle it.

Couple questions:

1) Is the 18 miles I've seen accurate?

2) How bad is boat traffic on the way over to Loon? I know Crane can be bad, but since we're leaving very early in the morning I hope it's not as bad once you get around King Williams Narrows.

3) Any hazards such as rapids to be aware of along the river.

4) Any recommendations for camp sites on Loon?

5) How does parking work around Crane Lake? Do most lodges allow you to park if you pay them a fee? Is there a free government lot for the campers who go into VNP?

Thank you!

 
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07/01/2022 01:22PM  
Welcome to the Messageboard!

I haven't been at that entry point or route. But my experience traveling has been about 2 miles per hour, +/-, when traveling, so plan on a long day of paddling and setting up camp.

I hope your winds are favorable. You'll have a blast!
Z4K
distinguished member (232)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/01/2022 01:48PM  
There are plenty of good reasons why that is one of the only permits available. 18 miles is accurate but it might feel like more depending on current. There will be motor boat traffic. Depending on where you meet them they might not want to slow down for you, either. I would look about anywhere else to spend your vacation, such as VNP, elsewhere in the SNF, a flowage or river in WI, heck I'd even take Bog Lake or Angleworm Lake over EP12 if I wasn't paying for a tow, and then start planning your 2023 BWCA adventure in January.
aarono2690
member (9)member
 
07/01/2022 02:13PM  
Interesting. We could camp half way for a night to make the trip more bearable.

I could switch to Big Lake EP7...
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(5081)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/01/2022 02:49PM  
Did a trip through there several years back. Nor-western waters

18 miles is a long day but, since you'd likely only have the portage into Loon, it is possible. Don't know your groups threshold to put in a long day but, since you mention everyone is inexperienced, I would suggest breaking the trek to Loon up into 2 days. Or, at least, be well prepared to do so.
Z4K
distinguished member (232)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/01/2022 04:04PM  
I'm sorry I wrote so discouragingly earlier, I do that too often here. If you're prepared to camp along Little Vermillion or Dovre it would make the paddle the next day more practical, but you'll still need to get all the way through Loon to get away from the motors. I wouldn't want to introduce someone to the BWCA around all those boats. On the other hand, if conditions are favorable and you bang out 25 miles on your first day it could be the start of an amazing trip in a great area, defined by the hard work you all put in to reach the wilderness.

Big Lake and Trout Lake both have some permits still available in late July. You'll still have boats on Big and Vermillion/Trout but those lakes aren't a highway like the Loon River is. With either permit I would insist on a big portage (or two) on day one. I'd take a couple long, muddy, bug-infested portages in late July heat with a group of younger guys over 20 miles of "is this guy gonna slow down when he goes past us?" every time.
07/01/2022 08:32PM  
I know the tow seems expensive but IF you can get a tow to Bottle Portage it’s definitely worth reconsidering that option. The tow saves a couple days, at least, and it puts you on some of the best fishing and sights the BWCA has to offer (Crooked, Iron, and the east end of LLC). That tow alone is definitely worth experience, at least once.
TuscaroraBorealis
distinguished member(5081)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/01/2022 08:57PM  
plander: "I know the tow seems expensive but IF you can get a tow to Bottle Portage it’s definitely worth reconsidering that option. The tow saves a couple days, at least, and it puts you on some of the best fishing and sights the BWCA has to offer (Crooked, Iron, and the east end of LLC). That tow alone is definitely worth experience, at least once. "

Agree
07/01/2022 09:12PM  
TuscaroraBorealis: "plander: "I know the tow seems expensive but IF you can get a tow to Bottle Portage it’s definitely worth reconsidering that option. The tow saves a couple days, at least, and it puts you on some of the best fishing and sights the BWCA has to offer (Crooked, Iron, and the east end of LLC). That tow alone is definitely worth experience, at least once. "


Agree"


Agree as well.
07/01/2022 09:48PM  
airmorse: "TuscaroraBorealis: "plander: "I know the tow seems expensive but IF you can get a tow to Bottle Portage it’s definitely worth reconsidering that option. The tow saves a couple days, at least, and it puts you on some of the best fishing and sights the BWCA has to offer (Crooked, Iron, and the east end of LLC). That tow alone is definitely worth experience, at least once. "



Agree"



Agree as well."


Agreed. That would be my choice, especially to avoid the motors...at least for me.
07/02/2022 08:19AM  
I used that EP and took a tow on the last week of May. The current and rapids were treacherous in a couple of places once we passed into the Loon River proper. The portage from Loon River into Loon Lake was nearly unapproachable due to the outflowing current and a wide circulating eddy pool emanating from the cascading Loon Falls. The falls were raging.

It's been some time and the waters have subsided at least a bit but I'd suggest checking with either Anderson outfitters or Zups to check on water levels and the rapids. At least one experience canoeist dumped at 56 rapids and he was luckily rescued by the towboat driver who ferried me back to Crane.

A tow might be your best bet --- at least to Loon Falls --- to start your trip off on the right foot. Best of luck to you!
07/03/2022 12:55PM  
I just returned from a trip using EP12 to Loon Lake. A church group of 15, 7 staying on Loon and 8 portaging to Lynx. We got a tow from Mark Anderson in his 300 hp boat. It took 45 minutes and the ride was lots of fun. He took part of the group directly to their portage and the rest of us looked at a few sites before choosing a really nice 5 star site facing NW. plenty of wind to blow the bugs away. Actually that was one of the windiest weeks I can remember in the BW. Your 18 mile estimate is probably close and there’s no way I’d spend that amount of my trip paddling there. Take the tow. It’s worth it.
07/03/2022 07:43PM  
Back in the far past we did this route several times, never early in the spring.
Once we took the tow to Loon falls, very enjoyable. Other times we broke it up into two days, stopping on Little Vermilion. Another time we intended to go from Lac La Croix to the parking lot on Crane Lake, but stopped at a campground in Voyageur Park.
The trip report books do not indicate any problem with current, some faster water at the rapids.

S1



aarono2690
member (9)member
 
07/06/2022 08:53AM  
We lucked out and found a Sawbill permit open today so I swapped it.

No longer doing #12. Sounds like Sawbill will be much more enjoyable for the group.
 
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