BWCA Entry Points

These entry points must be used to enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. You cannot enter the BWCA legally except from these official entry points.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a roadless and unmotorized area.  Therefore, the entry points into the BWCA surround it, along its edges.  Many roads leading to the entry points are forest roads and of packed gravel; some are paved however.  Once at the entry point, there is often a portage of some sort to move your gear from the parking lot down to the water’s edge.  These portages can be trivial to really long.  You must have a permit from the U.S. Forest Service to enter the BWCA and you must enter on the day shown on your permit.  Also, you must enter at one of these entry points.  Note that if you just want to visit for the day (no overnight), you can find a day permit box at each entry point.  Fill out the day permit and carry it with you.  This is all you need to do if you just plan to be here for the day.  Day permits are free.  The permit system is in effect to reduce impact to the wilderness, limit the number of people competing for campsites and to allow for some solitude. Visit the U.S. Forest Service Reservation website to reserve your entry point date.

BWCA Entry Points Map
Click on the active areas of the map above, or click a link in the table below.

Table below shows BWCA Entry Points sorted by Name

(Click this link to see BWCA Entry Points sorted by number. Click this link for Quetico Provincial Park Entry Points.)

Note that permit quotas are sometimes revised (permanently or temporarily) depending on conditions in the BWCA.

BWCA Entry Point Name
BWCA Entry #
Daily Quota
Nearest Forest Service Office Entry Point Details BWCA Entry Point Signage
Angleworm Lake
20
2
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 A two mile portage from the parking lot to Angleworm Lake. Entry Point 20 - Angleworm Lake sign
Angleworm Lake Trail
21
999
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 This trail is also the same as the Angleworm Lake portage. The trail however circumnavigates Angleworm Lake once it reaches the lake. Entry Point 21 - Angleworm Lake Trail sign
Baker Lake
39
2
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 Next to the Baker Lake Campground.
Big Lake (from)
7
2
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Across the road from the Stuart River entry point. There is a dock and restroom here.
Big Moose Lake Trail
76
999
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Access road off of Forest Road 464. Follow access road to large parking lot.
Blandin Trail
11
999
Cook; LaCroix Ranger Station on U.S. Hwy 53 Primarily a winter route to Lamb Lake.  
Bog Lake
67
2
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 This is a rugged portage from the parking lot out to the lake. There are no other routes from Bog Lake.
Border Route Trail (center)
82
999
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station 65 mile long trail connecting the Superior Hiking Trail to the Kekekabic Trail. Accessible from several points along the Gunflint Trail.  
Border Route Trail (east)
83
999
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station 65 mile long trail connecting the Superior Hiking Trail to the Kekekabic Trail. Accessible from several points along the Gunflint Trail.  
Border Route Trail (west)
81
999
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Trailhead on north/east side of County 12 (Gunflint Trail). The trailhead for the Kekekabic Trail (east) is just down the road on other side of highway. This is also the trailhead for the Magnetic Rock Trail.
Bower Trout Lake
43
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access road just south of T-intersection of Forest Road 152 and Forest Road 325. Access road is 1/2 mile long and fairly rough. Easy 80 rod portage from parking lot to lake.
Brant Lake
52
4
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Entry is actually at Round Lake. You must cross Round Lake, West Round Lake and then Edith Lake before portaging into Brant Lake. From the Gunflint Trail, three entry points are available along this road (#50 as wells as #51 Missing Link Lake and #52 Brant Lake just down the road).
Brule Lake
41
7
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station At the end of the Brule Lake Road. Entry point parking lot shared by Brule Lake ONLY #42 and Brule Lake Trail #78. Canoe landing is excellent. Brule Lake Trail Entry Point 41 in BWCA
Brule Lake ONLY
42
0
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station No permits are being issued for this entry point (as of 2022 season). At the end of the Brule Lake Road. Entry point parking lot shared by Brule Lake #41 and Brule Lake Trail #78. Canoe landing is excellent. Must camp all nights on Brule Lake. Entry Point 42 - Brule Lake ONLY sign
Brule Lake Trail
78
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station At the end of the Brule Lake Road. Entry point parking lot shared by Brule Lake #41 and Brule Lake ONLY #42. Canoe landing is excellent. Actual trailhead is located 1/4 mile down the road from parking lot (you pass it on the way to the parking lot on the right). Brule Lake Trail Entry Point
Canada (from)
71
3
  This entry point is only used when the trip starts in Canada and then enters into the BWCA.  
Clearwater Lake
62
2
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Boat access is near the west end of the lake along the north shoreline, not far past the Clearwater Historic Lodge. Follow Clearwater Road to its end.  
Crab Lake
4
3
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Use the Burntside Lake County Road 404 Public Water Access. It's about 2.5 miles from the access to the Crab Lake portage.  
Crocodile River
66
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Limited trip options. Mostly an out and back route. Must camp on Crocodile Lake.  
Cross Bay Lake
50
3
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Entry is actually into the Cross River. From the Gunflint Trail, three entry points are available along this road (#50 as wells as #51 Missing Link Lake and #52 Brant Lake just down the road). Road sign for Entry Point 50 - Cross Bay Lake
Daniels Lake
61
3
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is on south side of West Bearskin Lake from the Hungry Jack Lake Road 2.5 miles from its intersection with the Gunflint Trail. You must paddle across West Bearskin Lake to reach Daniels Lake.  
Duncan Lake
60
2
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is on south side of West Bearskin Lake from the Hungry Jack Lake Road 2.5 miles from its intersection with the Gunflint Trail. You must paddle across West Bearskin Lake to reach Duncan Lake.  
Eagle Mountain Trail
79
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station This place can be very busy on Saturday's Eagle Mountain Trail Entry Point
East Bearskin Lake
64
3
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station The boat access is located at the East Bearskin Lake Campground on the west end of the lake. From the Gunflint Trail, follow East Bearskin Road.  
Fall Lake
24
14
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Campground with a huge parking lot. Entry point can be busy. Close to Ely.
Farm Lake (from)
31
3
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Boat access on west side of lake off of Hwy. 16 (Kawishiwi Trail).  
Hog Creek
36
4
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 Just up the road from the Kawishiwi Lake Campground. Only route option is to Perent Lake and the Perent River.
Homer Lake
40
2
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station This entry point offers relatively few route options. Landing is very good with a cement ramp, sand and smooth gravel. Homer Lake Entry Point 40 in BWCA
Isabella Lake
35
3
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 Area is within the 2011 Pagami Fire zone. Desolate but pretty landscape.
Island River
34
2
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 From entry point it is 1.5 miles to Isabella River. Also provides access to pictograph site just outside BWCA.
John Lake
69
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is at McFarland Lake. Must paddle across Little John Lake to reach John Lake.  
Kawishiwi Lake
37
7
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 The entry point is also the location of the Kawishiwi Lake Campground. It is a long drive on dirt roads out to this entry point and campground. Unload right next to lake.
Kekekabic Trail (east)
56
999
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Trailhead along west side of Gunflint Trail, just south of the Magnetic Rock Trailhead.  
Kekekabic Trail (west) / Snowbank Lake Trail
74
999
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 This is the entry point for both the Kekekabic Trail (heading west) and the Snowbank Lake Trail. The Kekekabic Trail starts across the road.
Lac LaCroix ONLY
12A
6
Cook; LaCroix Ranger Station on U.S. Hwy 53 Start at the access in Crane Lake, MN. Shuttle service/tow is recommended across Crane Lake to Little Vermillion Lake and the Loon River. Must camp all nights on Lac LaCroix.  
Lake One
30
13
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Nice beach landing area. Paved road all the way to entry point via the Fernberg Road. Lake One Entry Point 30 in BWCA
Lake One (restricted)
30F
0
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 No permits are being issued for this entry point (as of 2022 season). Nice beach landing area. Paved road all the way to entry point via the Fernberg Road. Lake One Entry Point 30 in BWCA
Larch Creek
80
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station A creek paddle to Larch Lake. Not recommended when water levels are really low.  
Little Gabbro Lake
33
2/1 (every other day)
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Located 6 miles down gravel road from MN Hwy. 1. Portage to lake is 290 rods, but very walkable.
Little Indian Sioux NORTH
14
4
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 39 miles from Ely along the Echo Trail just past BWCA Entry Point 9. Restroom.
Little Indian Sioux SOUTH
9
1
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 39 miles from Ely along the Echo Trail. Small parking lot. No restroom. Scenic trail to hike along the Little Indian Sioux River.
Little Isabella River
75
1
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Long arduous drive out the the entry point parking lot. Portage to river is an easy 33 rods downhill.
Little Vermillion Lake
12
6
Cook; LaCroix Ranger Station on U.S. Hwy 5 Start at the access in Crane Lake, MN. Shuttle service/tow is recommended across Crane Lake to Little Vermillion Lake.  
Lizz and Swamp Lakes
47
3
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access from Poplar Lake to both Liz and Swamp Lakes.  
Magnetic Lake
57
3
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is from Gunflint Lake.  
Meeds Lake
48
2
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Requires a 320 rod portage from Poplar Lake.  
Missing Link Lake
51
5
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Entry is actually at Round Lake. You must cross Round Lake before portaging into Missing Link Lake. From the Gunflint Trail, three entry points are available along this road (#50 as wells as #51 Missing Link Lake and #52 Brant Lake just down the road).
Moose Lake
25
27
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Highest quota entry point for BWCA. Can be very busy. Large parking lot.
Moose River SOUTH
8
1 (every other day)
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Small parking lot on either side of road. Accessed from Forest Road 464.
Moose/Portage River NORTH
16
5
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 If you are coming from Ely, this access road is one mile past the eastern turnoff for Forest Road 464. There is a sign at that point showing it is 1 mile further. There is a restroom here.
Morgan Lake
45
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is about 2 miles north of junction of Forest Road 152 and Forest Road 315 (Lima Grade).
Mudro Lake
23
5
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 30 rod portage to lake Mudro Lake Entry Point BWCA
Mudro Lake RESTRICTED
22
2
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 30 rod portage to lake. A permit for this entry point disallows camping on Horse Lake. Mudro Lake Entry Point 23
North Fowl Lake
70
2
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is at McFarland Lake. From access, must paddle across Little John Lake and a small part of John Lake. From John Lake, follow the Royal River which has two portages (80 rods and 160 rods) to reach North Fowl Lake.  
North Kawishiwi River
29
1
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 To reach BWCA, must portage to and pass through Ojibwe Lake and Triangle Lake.
Norway Trail
10
999
Cook; LaCroix Ranger Station on U.S. Hwy 5 Leads to the North Arm of Trout Lake. Two trailheads. The south trailhead is the shortest and offers a 2 mile out and back hike to Trout Lake. Route Map.  
Partridge Lake Trail (also called South Lake Trail)
59
999
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station This is most often called the South Lake Trail.  
Pine Lake
68
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is at McFarland Lake. Short portage from McFarland Lake to Pine Lake.  
Powwow Trail
86
999
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 Trail severely damaged by 2011 Pagami Creek Fire.
Ram Lake
44
1
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is just north of T-intersection of Forest Road 152 and Forest Road 325.
Saganaga Lake
55
15
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Boat landing on Saganaga Lake Trail at the end of the Gunflint Trail.  
Saganaga Lake ONLY
55A
0
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station No permits are being issued for this entry point (as of 2022 season). Boat landing on Saganaga Lake Trail at the end of the Gunflint Trail.  
Sawbill Lake
38
11
Tofte; Tofte Ranger Station on Hwy. 61 You can park near the lake to unload gear. There is a dock here. The parking lot is across the road next to the Sawbill Canoe Outfitters Lodge.
Seagull Lake
54
8
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station The boat landing is on the east end of the lake off the Gunflint Trail.  
Seagull Lake ONLY
54A
0
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station No permits are being issued for this entry point (as of 2022 season). The boat landing is on the east end of the lake off the Gunflint Trail.  
Sioux-Hustler Trail
15
999
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Sign for the access road along the Echo Trail before the two Little Indian Sioux entry points.
Skipper & Portage Lakes
49
2
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Requires a 320 rod portage from Poplar Lake. Also possible to enter from Iron Lake via a 230 rod portage (less common).  
Slim Lake
6
2
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Somewhat rough one lane road from North Arm Road to entry point parking lot. Parking lot is small and can be tight on busy summer weekends.
Snake River
84
1
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Fairly long drive from Ely with a long period of driving on dirt roads. The final mile is a rugged road. Portage of 198 rods to river is in very good condition.
Snowbank Lake
27
8
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Unload gear near lake and launch canoe from dock. Bad entry point if it is windy. Snowbank Lake Entry Point BWCA
Snowbank Lake RESTRICTED
28
1
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Unload gear near lake and launch canoe from dock. Bad entry point if it is windy. You must camp all nights on Snowbank Lake with this permit. Snowbank Lake Entry Point 27
South Hegman Lake
77
1
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Entry point for visiting the North Hegman Lake pictographs.
South Kawishiwi River
32
2
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 The 147 rod portage is in good condition.
South Lake
58
2
Grand Marais on Hwy. 61; Gunflint Ranger Station Access is at Gunflint Lake. It's about a 10 mile paddle, followed by two short portages to reach South Lake.  
Stuart River
19
1
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 This entry point involves a 450 rod portage to the river. There are no campsites along the Stuart River until you reach Stuart Lake, so start early.
Trout Lake
1
12
Cook; LaCroix Ranger Station on U.S. Hwy 5 Nearest boat launch is on Moccasin Point on Lake Vermillion. It's about 3.5 miles from Moccasin Point to the Trout Lake portage.  
Wood Lake
26
2
Ely; Kawishiwi Ranger Station on Minnesota Hwy. 1 Fairly long portage to the lake. Short drive from Ely.

 
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