Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

South Moose River
by PhilWhite

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 07/26/2018
Entry & Exit Point: Moose River (south) (EP 8)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
Great Last Minute Trip!
A buddy and I wanted to make a last minute trip to the Boundary Waters before our schedules got too busy in the fall. Neither of us had been since we were in grade school and this would be our first time. We soon discovered that this was really the best entry point available for a permit. I bought most of my gear online since I plan on going back but we did rent a canoe from an outfitter in Ely. The drive from Ely to the entry point is longer than it seems - maybe 45 mins to an hour.

Once we got there, we parked, loaded up the canoe and were away. About 15 mins in, there was a fork in the river where you can stay on the Moose River or go down Bezhik Creek. We double checked the map for direction and continued down the Moose River to the first portage. It was super easy to find, unload, and walk through. After this we had some issues. There were some rapids that we came across about halfway between the 1st portage and 2nd portage. We went back and forth a few times to make sure that we didn't miss the 2nd portage but we didn't find anything. So, we actually paddled into the woods and portaged around the rapids. Once we got back in the canoe, we paddled for about 20 mins and found the 2nd portage. This portage was much shorter so we actually doubled portaged our gear. Once we got into the lake, we ended up being able to secure the 1st site on the NW side.

We settled in there for the whole trip. It was a great site with a great landing and rocks to dry things off. Sun came up right over the lake so we were able to dry things off really quickly. Star watching wasn't super great because there was a full moon on the Friday. There was a great landing pad. We saw that there were three good places to set up a tent on the site. One by the fire pit and the other two further back int he woods. The fishing from the site was fantastic as well. We caught mostly small mouths from the shore and walleyes out on the lake. We had a small radio with us so we got MPR and the Twins games from a local station in Ely. Weather was great. Little rain on the Saturday night but other than that, it was good. We did not portage to any other lakes, nor did we feel the need to. Big Moose was beautiful. We did a lot of swimming and exploring of the small islands on the lake.

We left Sunday around 8:30am after breakfast. The paddle out was a lot easier than the paddle in. We portaged around the rapids again and arrived at the car around 11:30am. We were back in the cities by 5pm.

Overall, it's a great entry point. If you do go, I would make sure to check with your outfitter to see how the water level of the river is. For us, it wasn't wasn't a problem, even in July. But, in some seasons where there is not as much rain, it's worth checking.