BWCA Voyageurs National Park in late October? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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distinguished member (135)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/27/2023 11:29PM  
Hi friends,

I am a frequent BWCA guy (mostly solo) and never been to Voyageurs, but considering heading there the last weekend of October for a weekend respite. Worth it? Will ice be an issue? Canoe or should I take the 16' fishing boat? Any campsite recommendations since it will not be that busy?

I know it will be colder and will have warm clothes and tent, but any advice would be appreciated!
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08/28/2023 04:00PM  
In 2021, when the BW and Q was closed due to fires, we were going to do Voyageurs. We booked all the sites and had the route planned. You can look at all the sites online and see ALL the big water around them....looks intimidating for a solo canoe. It was to be a fairly aggressive route and then we got to thinking about wind and how it would affect getting to our reserved campsites on time. Well....the BW opened back up just in time for us to use our sept permit and things worked out. I would worry about October weather even more than we were second guessing things. I'll be interested to hear comments.
distinguished member(2059)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/29/2023 01:47PM  
Research it on their web page. If I recall there are some canoe camping restrictions. If I recall you must rent a canoe from a licensed cooperator and you can only canoe in the back country, not the "front" country.
distinguished member (132)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/29/2023 07:05PM  
Take the boat. The wind can get very nasty on Kabetogama. And, as already mentioned, you’re not allowed to portage your own canoes into the inland lakes.
Guest Paddler
08/30/2023 11:09AM  
On the main lakes you can certainly canoe but getting across the big water of Kab to calmer waters could be challenging. Best sites for canoeing would be back into lost bay of Kab, all the sites back there are decent except for maybe Eks bay which has lost all of its pines over the last 30 years, or the west side of Namakan is good. When the wind is blowing from the northwest on Kab it can be tough even for a 16ft tiller... you will get wet from waves. Interior lakes are just a beautiful as the best of the BWCA but no private canoes allowed due to spiny water flea on the big lakes. You can rent a canoe from the park that is already on that particular Interior lake. But getting there would mean stashing your own canoe or boat at the portage landing.
09/01/2023 10:05PM  
Call the park - if I recall they pull the rock bouys and some docks in October. We had thought about going over MEA but weren’t going to risk the fiberglass boat!

I think you could canoe, head in the Ash River boat launch, and snag a site right on the ‘River’ between Kab and Namakan. Lots and lots of protected sites without the risk of big water.
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