Portage between Big Rice Lake and Hook Lake and surrounding area
Length in Rods: 540 rods Date portage was last visited: July 11, 2021;
Previous Visit(s): August 17, 2019
Portage Rating: Rugged  

The Portage between Big Rice Lake and Hook Lake

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Portaging Direction: From Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 6
A boggy landing that would be difficult to find if not for the large cairn placed on the rock shelf located just offshore. The portage is located just south of where most maps show it to be (July 11, 2021).

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 7
Look for this cairn. The actual landing is just to the right of the cairn, along the shore in the background. You must weave through the drowned forest to reach it. The water level shown here is much higher than normal. The reason is the huge beaver dam along the Portage River just down stream of its outlet from Big Rice Lake. The elevated water level has drowned the shoreline forest around the entire lake (July 11, 2021).

This is certainly one of the hardest portages in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The length alone will wear out most groups, but there is the muck, the deadfall, the bugs and several fairly long ups and downs that will really close the deal for most.

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 5
The landing is fairly muddy being located in this marshy area in this back bay of Hook Lake. Can use the boulders to stand on to keep your feet dry (and from sinking into the muck). (July 11, 2021)

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 1
View just after coming out of the forest after finishing this 520 rodder. This will be a pleasant sight indeed! (August 17, 2019)

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 2
View from the portage landing of Hook Lake. Beaver lodge just across the lake to the right. This bay of Hook Lake is quite shallow. If you are heading to Rice Lake, the portage to that lake is on that far shoreline on the far left side of your view (August 17, 2019).

Now that you've made it over the portage, visit: HOOK LAKE

Portaging Direction: From Hook Lake to Big Rice Lake

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 8
Soft swampy landing in this small bay on Hook Lake. (July 11, 2021)

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 3
The portage landing on Hook Lake at the start of the 540 rod portage to Big Rice Lake. Keep in mind that Big Rice Lake has only one campsite, so this is not a good portage to start late in the day.

A really tough portage! There is a wetland not far along the portage after leaving Hook Lake that will provide most of the muck that you'll experience along this trail. It can be really soggy through that stretch when there has been lots of rain or in the springtime. The portage seems to receive rather minimal maintenance, so expect a good deal of blowdown to liftover. The entire path is brushy and overgrown by summer. It can even be difficult to follow this portage in some spots. Over its length, there are many ups and downs, some are rather lengthy. Toward the Big Rice Lake end of the portage, the path will take you down along the shore of a wetland. This area can be very muddy when there has been recent moisture. The portage finally ends at a semi-lousy landing on Big Rice Lake.

Big Rice Lake to Hook Lake Portage 9
After the long, grueling portage, you are greeted at this portage landing by knee deep mud. Use canoe as a bridge to get out to the big boulder in front of you and load up there (July 11, 2021).

Now that you've made it over the portage, visit: BIG RICE LAKE

Return to the BWCA Portage List

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