BWCA Entry Point 7 - From Big Lake
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Entry Point: From Big Lake #7 Last Visited: July 11, 2021
Previous Visit(s): September 27, 2020, September 4, 2016
Maps: Fisher F-9; McKenzie #12 Daily Quota: 2
Fire History:
Nearest Ranger Station: Kawishiwi Ranger Station, Ely, MN on MN Hwy. 1
Portage Length from Parking Lot: None Restroom at Entry Point: Yes

BWCA Entry Point 7 - From Big Lake

Kawishiwi Ranger District

The Big Lake entry point is located on the south side of the Echo Trail just across the road from the Stuart River entry point.

Coming from Ely, Minnesota, head east on West Sheridan Street 1.2 miles to North Central Avenue. Continue onto Highway 169 for 1 mile until you reach Grant McMahan Boulevard. Take a left and drive 2.3 miles to Ely-Buycks Road (aka Echo Trail). Take a right onto the Echo Trail. Drive another 17.7 miles until you come to the sign for Big Lake. It's about a 45 minute drive and about 23 miles in total.

If you are portaging from the Stuart River, it is 80 rods from the end of the Stuart Lake portage over to Big Lake. Just follow the access road. Big Lake allows motor boats. Big Lake is a "big lake", so this is not a good entry point on a windy day.

The entry point has a restroom. There is also a full dock here used mostly by motorboats for landing and launching their craft.

There are two well known lodges on Big Lake called Big Lake Wilderness Lodge. It is located in the northwest corner of the lake. Lodge of Whispering Pines is located in the northeast part of the lake.

Big Lake is one of the least used entry points in the BWCA. The reason is that all the routes from this lake involve extremely long and rather difficult portages.

To enter the BWCA, you must paddle to the southwest corner of the lake and portage 160 rods to Lapond Lake. You will enter the BWCA as soon as you begin this portage. The other entry point to the BWCA from Big Lake is via a feeder creek that leads to the Portage River. This creek is just west of the Lapond Lake portage. There are four campsites on Big Lake. Only one of these campsites is in the BWCA. This is the campsite along the west shoreline just south of Big Lake Wilderness Lodge. You need a permit to stay at this site. The other three campsites are on two of the lakes islands and you don't need a permit to stay at any of these sites.

Exploring the Entry Point

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

Big Lake Entry Point 1
The sign for Big Lake along the Echo Trail. This is also the location along the Echo Trail where the Stuart River entry point is found.

Big Lake Entry Point 2
Taking in the parking lot for BWCA Entry Point 7 (September 2016).

Big Lake Entry Point 3
The biffy courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service (September 2020).

Big Lake Entry Point 4
Another view of the restroom building (September 2016).

Big Lake Entry Point 5
The familiar bulletin board found at all BWCA entry points. The box on the right is where you fill out a day permit. You don't need a permit if you are just going to stay on Big Lake as it isn't in the the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (September 2020).
Big Lake Entry Point 6
This is what the previous bulletin board looked like (September 2016).

Big Lake Entry Point 7
The dock and ramp make this a particularly easy place to launch a canoe. From here, you must paddle to the south end of Big Lake where you will find a feeder creek that leads to the Portage River and also a portage to Lapond Lake. Motorboats launch from this ramp too. Other motorboat traffic you may see on the lake are coming from Big Lake Wilderness Bay Lodge which is located in the northwest corner of the lake (September 2020).
Big Lake Entry Point 8
Similar view to the image above (September 2016).

Now that you've reached the shore of the lake, visit: BIG LAKE

Return to List of BWCA Entry Points (sorted by Entry Point Name or by Entry Point #)

PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
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