Parent Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Snowbank Lake #27, 28 Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey; Northern Pike (including rare silver phase), Rock Bass, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass
Maps: Fisher F-10, F-11, F-31 Special; McKenzie #9 Lake Depth: MN DNR Lake Map; 50 feet
Fire History: 1919
Lake Size: 451 acres
Campsites: 2 (1 visited) Wildlife Seen on Visit: Loon
Last Visited: October 3, 2021;
Previous Visit(s): July 25, 2015
Lake Elevation: 1446 feet
To Snowbank Lake: Walk the 80 rod portage
To Disappointment Lake: Walk the 85 rod portage
Access to: Kekekabic Trail
Access to: Snowbank Lake Trail

Parent Lake

Kawishiwi Ranger District

Campsite 1 (#1478): Western most of the two campsites on this lake
Campsite 2 (#1479): Eastern most of the two campsites on the lake
Campsite 3: Might not exist. If it does, it is along east shoreline and accessible to hikers of the Snowbank Lake Trail

Parent Lake has two campsites available to paddlers in the northwest part of the lake. Both of these campsites are desirable. There may also be a third campsite along the southeast shore of the lake, but it is mostly aimed at users of the Snowbank Lake Trail. Relatively little traffic passes through this lake, because the majority of groups would prefer to do a single portage to Disappointment Lake rather then two portages. So even though this lake is close to an entry point, it is usually relatively quiet. You will be able to hear the motorboats on Snowbank Lake occasionally.

You enter the BWCA about midway across the Snowbank Lake to Parent Lake portage. The portage into Parent Lake is at the back of the same small bay where Wilderness Bay Lodge is.

Disappointment Lake drains into Parent Lake. The water in Parent Lake flows out the southwest corner of the lake into the south end of Snowbank Lake.

The 85 rod portage from Parent Lake to Disappointment Lake crosses/runs parallel with the Snowbank Lake Trail along its length. If you follow the Snowbank Lake Trail south a little over a mile along the east side of Parent Lake, it eventually connects up with the Kekekabic Trail. Heading west from the junction of these two trails, the Kekekabic Trail and the Snowbank Lake Trail run conterminously. If you head east from the trail junction, you will just be following the Kekekabic Trail.

The Snowbank Lake Trail continues to the north staying along the west shore of Disappointment Lake, once you reach the Disappointment Lake end of the Parent Lake to Disappointment Lake portage. The portage between Snowbank Lake and Disappointment Lake ends right next to the Parent Lake to Disappointment Lake portage. This can all be a bit confusing.

The lake is possibly named for Tom "Tame Tom" Parent. Perent Lake (note different spelling) which lies to the east near Kawishiwi Lake, is likely named for Tom Parent too.

Slash fires burned the area around Parent Lake in 1919. Slash is the detritus leftover from logging operations. Since the forest canopy is gone, the forest floor dries out quickly making it easy to ignite the remaining slash (Heinselman, 1999).

The northern pike in this lake run on the large size. Also the rare subspecies of silver phase northern pike is present in this lake (2019 Minnesota DNR fish survey).

Beymer, Robert, Boundary Waters Canoe Area – Volume 1 – Western Region (Berkeley: Wilderness Press, 2006), 173, 175, 196.
Heinselman, Miron, The Boundary Waters Wilderness Ecosystem (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 103.
Pauly, Daniel, Exploring the Boundary Waters (Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 169, 177.

Exploring Parent Lake

Routes to locations on Parent Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Snowbank Lake portage to BWCA Campsite 1478
Paddling from BWCA Campsite 1478 to the Disappointment Lake portage

Click on the photos below to see the full resolution image - Use your browsers back button to close photo and return to this page.


Parent Lake 1
Taking in a full view of the gin clear and nearly calm waters of Parent Lake. Here you are standing with your back to the portage leading back to Snowbank Lake.

Parent Lake map1 Starting out from the Snowbank Lake portage landing on Parent Lake, paddle to the nearest campsite, while staying near to the west shore of the lake.

Parent Lake 3
View to the right (north) from the portage to Disappointment Lake.


Parent Lake 4
View to the left (east) from the BWCA Campsite 1478.

Parent Lake map2 Follow the shoreline from the campsite to the Disappointment Lake portage. Pass by BWCA Campsite 1479 (which was occupied) along the route.

Parent Lake 2
Gazing south from the Disappointment Lake portage landing.

Route Connections for Parent Lake

From Parent Lake, you can portage to Disappointment Lake or Snowbank Lake. You can also access both the Kekekabic Trail and the Snowbank Lake Trail.

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PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
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