Spirit of the Wilderness

Ely and Western BWCA

Spirit of the Wilderness

2030 East Sheridan Steet
Ely, MN   55731

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Contact Information:

Proprietors: Steve, Kathy & Ginny Nelson
Direct Phone: 218-365-3149
Toll-Free Phone: 1-800-950-2709
Fax: 218-365-7404
Email: info@elycanoetrips.com


Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitting and Outdoor Store,
Ely, Minnesota; centrally located to service all Ely area
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permit entry
points. Our guests find us an easy one-stop shop before
they head into the BWCAW or Canada’s Quetico Park to the

Your personal preferences, comfort and safety are all
factors that you will ultimately judge the quality of
your wilderness adventure into the BWCAW or Quetico – why
leave any of this to chance? The most important decision
you will make before your canoe, kayak or hiking trip is
your choice of a BWCAW or Quetico outfitter. No one will
give you the personal attention you need like Spirit of
the Wilderness Outfitter and Bait Shop, located in Ely,
Minnesota, the canoe capital of the upper Midwest.

Your interests, expectations, camping and canoeing skills
are the keys to planning your canoe trip. Are you an
experienced canoeist? Do you desire to follow the routes
of the French Voyageurs, challenges of portaging to
remote locations or perhaps a more laid back pace? Choose
Spirit of the Wilderness for all your outfitting needs.

Let us help you create lifetime memories...

Main Offerings:

  • Full Outfitting - Complete or partial outfitting
  • Gear Rental - Light weight, guide tested, clean
  • Trip/Route Planning Assistance - Personal and professional for your group
  • Entry Point Shuttles - Tow boat service; Moose lake, Ensign, Basswood, Prairie Portage, Snowbank, Crab Lake
  • Guide Service - Call for day or multi-day canoe and fishing trips
  • BWCA Permits - Pick up permits 6 am- 9 pm, Specify Spirit of the Wilderness when reserving permits
  • Canoe Rental - Rent by day or week; rent for 4 days (minimum) get 5th day @no charge. Kevlar repair
  • Meal Planning - Plan and Provide fresh and freeze dried meals for groups.
  • Store - Shopping - Outdoor gear & sportswear, footwear, canoe accessories, gifts & more
  • Bunkhouse - Located in Ely for easy access to shopping, restaurants, and BWCA
  • Quetico Outfitting - Let us handle your permit reservation, tow to Prairie Portage, canoe rental & more

Additional Offerings 1:

  • Kevlar Canoe Rental - Wenonah, Bell. We repair & recondition kevlar canoes
  • Maps - Fisher, McKenzie, Voyageur, National Geographic
  • Solo Canoe Rental - Prism, Encounter, Magic, Northwind Solo
  • Minnesota Fishing Licenses - Photo ID & SS# required to issue MN licence
  • Hot Showers - Available 6 am - 9 pm daily, May 1-October 15

Additional Offerings 2:

  • Northstar Canoes - Northwind 17 & 18 ft, Magic, Northwind Solo. Sales, rentals & repair
  • Wenonah Canoes - MN II, Boundary Waters, Spirit II, Champlain,MN3,Seneca,Prism,Encounter rental
  • Kayak Rental - Current Design; Kestral, Double Vision, Standup Paddle Boards
  • Gear Sales - Granite Gear, Seal Line, MSR, Bending Branches, Crazy Creek, Coghlan, Coleman, & more
  • Food Sales - Cache Lake, Backpacker Pantry
  • Fishing Tackle - G Loomis, Abu Garcia, Shimano, Rapala, Eagle Claw, Mepps, Berkley plus more
  • Live Bait - Minnows, Leeches, Crawlers, Wax worms. Fresh, delivered weekly
  • Fish Finder Rental - Rent by day or week. Excellent choice for BWCA trip
  • Satellite Phones - Spot Satellite GPS Messenger; Rent by the day or week

Boundary Waters Entry Points Supported

  • Crab Lake and Cummings from Burntside Lake - We offer tow boat service across Burntside
  • Slim Lake - Excellent for a last minute plan. Easy access
  • Big Lake - 7
  • Moose River (south) - 8
  • Little Indian Sioux River (south) - 9
  • Little Indian Sioux River (north) - Excellent fishing, scenic views
  • Moose/Portage River (north) - Access to Agnes & Lac La Croix with excellent fishing, pictographs
  • Stuart River - You will do some work on this EP, but worth it
  • Angleworm Lake - Take your time, 1st portage is long
  • Mudro Lake (restricted--no camping on Horse Lake) - Popular. Visit Lower Basswood Falls, pictograghs
  • Mudro Lake - Access to Fourtown lake with historic sites
  • Wood Lake - You will like the fishing
  • Snowbank Lake Only - We offer towboat service to Boot, Disappontment portages
  • Ojibway Lake/North Kawishiwi River - Use roller portage between Ojibway & Triangle lakes
  • Lake One - Popular w/easy access. travel to Insula for less people & great fishing
  • South Kawishiwi River - 32
  • Little Gabbro Lake - Long 1st portage but worth the effort
  • Island River - 34
  • Isabella Lake - Great walleye fishing
  • Hog Creek - 36
  • Kawishiwi Lake - 37
  • Bog Lake - 67
  • From CANADA - 71
  • Little Isabella River - 75
  • South Hegman Lake - Excellent day-trip to see pictographs and more
  • Snake River - 84
  • Trout Lake - We offer towboat service to & across Trout Lake portage
  • Fall Lake - Easy access to Basswood, portage wheels allowed
  • Moose Lake - Check out our towboat service to Prairie Portage, Ensign, Basswood,
  • Snowbank Lake - We offer towboat service to Boot lake Portage
  • Farm Lake - 31
  • Trout Lake - A
  • Fall Lake Only - C
  • Fall Lake and Beyond - Portage wheels allowed to Basswood, we offer towboat service to Four mile portage
  • Moose Lake Chain Only - We offer towboat service to Ensign, Birch lake, Prairie Portage
  • Moose Lake to Prairie Portage - Motorized portage to basswood, $15/boat one-way
  • Snowbank Lake - H
  • South Farm Lake - I

Quetico Entry Points Supported

  • Basswood River - 51
  • Sarah Lake - 52
  • Kahshahapiwi Lake - 53
  • Agnes Lake - 61
  • Carp Lake - 62
  • Cache Bay Fly In - 75

Now hiring for 2019 staff positions (full and part-time) for our Ely-based outfitting and outdoor store. Email us at info@elycanoetrips.com or call 218-365-3149 to request an application. Positions start as early as mid-April - October. Visit www.elycanoetrips.com for information about our business.

Job duties are varied...something new each day. On the job training provided. Salary based on experience. Duties include providing excellent customer service, outfit packing, loading canoes, towboat and ground transportation to/from entry points, bait & tackle sales, retail sales, and more. This is a fun place to work!

Contact us today! Interviews are being scheduled now.