BWCA October Camping 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
      October Camping     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

ccterrell
member (10)member
 
08/14/2022 07:37PM  
Hey Everyone! Due to my crazy schedule, I’m not going to be able to get up to the BWCA until probably late October. I’ve only been up once and that was in September. I stayed at Sawbill campground, base camped, and did day trips out fishing. I’m looking to do the same this trip. I know Sawbill campground closes at the end of September. Are there any campgrounds that are part of the National Forest that are open in October or any other known campgrounds of similar quality open In October? Thanks in advance!
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
jwettelrin89
senior member (86)senior membersenior member
 
08/14/2022 11:58PM  
There are lots of national forest campgrounds open year round if you can get through the snow to access them. I think the only thing that happens after October first is that they stop running garbage services so you need to pack out all of your trash and the water spigots might not be running?

I'm not 100% sure on this but I'd imagine Sawbill will still be open in October. We have stayed at Devils Track, Two Islands Lake, and Trails End campgrounds late into october. They were still open, just without a few services.

08/15/2022 06:26AM  
Both times that I’ve entered the bwca at Sawbill in October there were people camped in the campground. As stated above, I think they stop taking reservations and maintaining it, but I think you can still camp there 1st come 1st serve.

Kawishiwi Lake and Baker Lake which are both in the area have small and rustic campgrounds with 5 sites that would be good options also.
Kendis
distinguished member (159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2022 07:54AM  
It's possible the campground will still be open if the weather turns cold/snowy. However, the USFS canceled my reservation at Fall Lake campground in early May due to cold. The scheduled opening date for the campground was a few days before my reservation. The opening was delayed several days and they canceled my reservation. I have no idea if I could have just gone there and camped. Hope you don't find yourself in this position.
ccterrell
member (10)member
 
08/15/2022 12:23PM  
Yeah I haven’t been up there that late in the year. I’m from The Madison, WI area and used to snow, but is the BWCA typically snowy in October? When does it usually start getting snow covered? Thanks!
jwettelrin89
senior member (86)senior membersenior member
 
08/15/2022 01:19PM  
ccterrell: "Yeah I haven’t been up there that late in the year. I’m from The Madison, WI area and used to snow, but is the BWCA typically snowy in October? When does it usually start getting snow covered? Thanks!
"


Snow can start to fall as early as mid September, but usually it doesn't start to really stick until mid to late October. You can get snow to stick in late September or early October but it usually melts within a few hours unless you get 3"+.

I attached 2 image of snowfall history for International falls (it is the closest climate station to the bwca so it's the closest place where we have reliable observation history). The brown line represents average snow accumulations and the green line is observations for 2021 and 2018. You can see that on average snow doesn't really start to pick up until late October or early November and snow is typically limited to just a couple of inches in October. Keep in mind this is an average, so if we get one year with a 10 inch snowfall in October and 10 years with 1 inches of snow in October the average will only show around 2" of snow on average, but there is still the potential to get occasional heavy snowfall that time of year.

gravelroad
distinguished member(755)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2022 03:16PM  
jwettelrin89: "Keep in mind this is an average, so if we get one year with a 10 inch snowfall in October and 10 years with 1 inches of snow in October the average will only show around 2" of snow on average, but there is still the potential to get occasional heavy snowfall that time of year."

I am reminded of an adage that is popular among statisticians:

"If you stick your feet in an oven and your head in a freezer, on average you'll be comfortable ." ;-)

Here are some examples of October discomfort:

DNR: Man rescued from BWCA during heavy snow, cold temperatures

Canoeing in a Winter Wonderland
WHendrix
distinguished member(580)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2022 06:00PM  
A similar adage is the one about the person who drowned while wading across a river with an average depth of 18 inches.
cmanimal
senior member (85)senior membersenior member
 
08/16/2022 02:39PM  
I've been going MEA weekend (3rd Thursday to the following Sunday in Oct. for non-Minnesotans) for 12 years and my words of wisdom are you need to be prepared for just about all weather conditions, and adjusting your trip accordingly, no matter what the forecast is.

In 2013 we had sunny and 70, an inch of snow, hail and high winds.

In 2020 the forecast for a winter storm had been out for about a week before we went in. We decided to come out early, mostly because we had completed our loop quicker than planned, and wanted to spend some more time with our daughter in Ely. Several groups needed to be rescued over the wknd as they were in over their head. Wet heavy snow is far more impactful than people think. I think some of the people we saw might have been over their head even without the snow. Also that year in the following week I recall hearing stories of having to break ice to get out of the BWCA.

Staying at a campground mitigates some of those items, but weather is always our unspoken companion.

Enjoy, its a great time of year.
Kendis
distinguished member (159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/16/2022 04:20PM  
cmanimal: "I've been going MEA weekend (3rd Thursday to the following Sunday in Oct. for non-Minnesotans) "

I'd be surprised if anyone outside of education knows what MEA means. Your description was so confusing I had to look it up. I've never heard anyone describe something as "...to the following Sunday."
schweady
distinguished member(7891)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/16/2022 04:59PM  
Kendis - It has now fallen upon you to describe how to calculate the date of Easter (for Western Christians), given only the vernal equinox and lunar calendar.
Try to do it in 8 words or fewer, as cmanimal has so eloquently done with 'MEA.'



To the OP: Late October can be cold and cruel. Prep for it and enjoy any departure from that norm.
gravelroad
distinguished member(755)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/16/2022 10:42PM  
Kendis: "cmanimal: "I've been going MEA weekend (3rd Thursday to the following Sunday in Oct. for non-Minnesotans) "


I'd be surprised if anyone outside of education knows what MEA means. Your description was so confusing I had to look it up. I've never heard anyone describe something as "...to the following Sunday.""


I recommend a heavier dose of time in Minnesota. Activities in October across the state are arranged around MEA weekend, even for those of us without kids who just want to avoid the crowds it generates. :-)

Ditto for ”… to the following Sunday.”
Michwall2
distinguished member(1293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/17/2022 09:00AM  
Kendis: "cmanimal: "I've been going MEA weekend (3rd Thursday to the following Sunday in Oct. for non-Minnesotans) "


I'd be surprised if anyone outside of education knows what MEA means. Your description was so confusing I had to look it up. I've never heard anyone describe something as "...to the following Sunday.""


MEA = Minnesota Education Association. Their annual conference occurs each year at that time. As a veteran of education conferences, I can tell you that anytime one is planned 80-90% of the time the weather will be cold, blustery, and usually involve some kind of freezing/frozen precipitation. Perhaps that's just an Illinois/Wisconsin thing, but . . . .
08/17/2022 09:44AM  
My wife taught in Wisconsin for many years and the Wisconsin version of MEA weekend was Teachers Convention, which was always in late October. I’m not sure that it is held anymore, but it was a time for long weekend trips for many.

We are long retired now, but I still enjoy late season trips usually to the UP. I enjoyed the trip report on Canoeing in a Winter Wonderland. It reminded me of several trips at that time of year which are doable and fun with the right gear.
OMGitsKa
distinguished member (246)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/18/2022 08:53PM  
Lol I was camping near Ely at Bear Head Lake SP last October (Around the 10th??) and there was literally a tornado warning! Got pretty nasty looking out but it was so weird having the park ranger come by telling us they are opening up one of the bathrooms incase we need to take shelter.
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Trip Planning Sponsor:
Cliff Wold's Outfitting Co.