BWCA Son coming of age trip - KNIFE Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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dillingerpainting
  
09/04/2023 05:01PM  
Hello all,
This will be our first time doing a trip like this. We camp, hunt, fish and hike, but never a canoe trip. I'd rather not do a loop. I would like to keep it more simple and enjoyable for us.

Here's my situation: We are planning a 4-day, 3-night trip out of Moose with Boundary Waters Outfitters. First, it was recommended to base camp on Ensign, but I quickly realized it was too populated. I hear that Knife Lake is really nice, but I also see that the scenery on Jordan Lake is really beautiful as well. I'm from the Midwest and I just want to make sure the scenery on the lake is more than flat with just trees. I like smaller lakes/rivers with lots of rock and maybe some rushing water.

The second concern is the time it will take to get to these spots. Is it possible to get to either lake in a day and still have time to set up camp?

Any recommendations are appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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09/04/2023 05:56PM  
Knife is roughly 4-5 hours max if you get a tow to American Point. Highly recommend tow. Once at Knife it could be 30 minutes to a few hours for a campsite.
09/04/2023 10:14PM  
Since your entry is from Moose Lake, you could get a tow up to the short portage between Sucker Lake and Birch Lake. From there going through Birch, Carp and Seed to Knife, I would guess 3-4 hours. Being your first canoe trip, maybe slightly better than 4 hours. If you don't get a tow and paddle all of Moose, Newfound, and Sucker, add about 2-3 hours. Knife is a big lake so once there you could spend 20 minutes to a couple hours finding a site.

If Ensign Lake is too busy for you, a couple years ago we spent 3 nights on Ashigan Lake (just south of the east end of Ensign). 2 of those nights we had the lake to ourselves. We had the campsite on the east shore just south of the portage from Ensign.

Here's a view of the campsite from the lake.


JohnGalt
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09/07/2023 03:34AM  
Lightfoot: "If Ensign Lake is too busy for you, a couple years ago we spent 3 nights on Ashigan Lake (just south of the east end of Ensign). 2 of those nights we had the lake to ourselves. We had the campsite on the east shore just south of the portage from Ensign.

Here's a view of the campsite from the lake."


I too have enjoyed Ashigan & thought to recommend it. My most memorable family trip was at that lake & I enjoyed it last summer as well. It can be reached fairly easily, especially with a tow. It has solid fishing, access to other lakes for day tripping, nearby falls, etc. I think a lot of folks going through that route either stay on Ashigan or travel through it. Jordan is nice as well, if feeling more ambitious after reaching Ashigan.

Knife through Birch is a pretty long travel day in one shot, though it is a great lake, probably my favorite up there as of late. Vera is another option that is one hop from Ensign. It is a bit of a hike of a portage, though it is a pretty portage. One can day trip from there to Missionary, Explorer, & Knife. Vera is a pretty lake, smaller than Knife & may be less trodden than some other lakes.

If using tows, I’d suggest an early tow in & a late tow out, it gets you more time out of your first day & less rush when leaving on your last.

Hope you all have a great trip!

PS Edit
Have you decided on time of year for your trip?
pastorjsackett
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09/08/2023 07:41AM  
My son's first trip was to Knife. We did not go much farther. We stayed on Knife aned had a lot of fun. It was a very satisfying experience that vaulted us on to many trips since then.

Yes, get the tow on Moose. That is a game changer and well worth the cost.

There are options past Knife, but that's for you to decide based on how you are feeling about it. I will say on one Knife trip we fought the wind to the north on a day trip to Bonnie/Pickle area and it was not really worth it in the end.

Best of luck!

 
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