(Upper) Cowan Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Kawishiwi Lake Fishing: Unknown
Maps: Fisher F-5 and F-11; McKenzie #8 and #20 Lake Depth: Unknown
Bushwhack Rating: Lake Size: About 15 acres; but likely varies substantially depending on water table levels
Campsites: Unknown Wildlife Seen on Visit: Never visited
Last Visited: Never Lake Elevation: 1580 feet
Water Clarity: Unknown Fire History: 1863-64

(Upper) Cowan Lake

Humpback Lake PMA

I have named the northern most Cowan Lake, Upper Cowan Lake for purposes of this website. This lake used to be about double its current size, but it looks like the eastern half of the lake has drained (perhaps the failure of a large beaver dam?) and is now a mushy peat bog with a creek running through it. Upper Cowan Lake flows into Cowan Lake through a short channel.

The name "Cowan" refers to freemasonry. A cowan is someone who pretends to be a freemason but is not. Interesting as one of these two lakes pretends to be Cowan Lake, the other lake is just one of the many unnamed lakes in the BWCA. But which one?

There was a large fire in this area around 1863-1864. This fire is known as the North Kawishiwi River/Alice Lake/Cypress Lake/Saganaga Lake Complex. This burn began south of the current BWCAW's southern boundary near the town of Isabella, Minnesota.

Approach to (Upper) Cowan Lake

Locate the creek flowing into Cowan Lake along its north shore that leads to Upper Cowan Lake.

Bushwhack to (Upper) Cowan Lake

To reach Upper Cowan Lake, just bushwhack for about 8 rods along the channel that flows into the north shoreline of the Cowan Lake. At a prominent rock outcrop, hang a left (west) and paddle (if your lucky) or bushwhack for 30 rods until you reach the lake.

Exploring (Upper) Cowan Lake

Both of these lakes are easy to reach so you might as well visit both of them. The northern most of these two “possible” Cowan Lakes is more of a swamp. It appears this lake just recently lost a lot of its water. Many older maps show it as being quite a bit larger (filling in the peat bog that now fills the bowl to the east of what remains of the lake). If the creek that takes you into the northern lake is followed instead to the east, it eventually bends to the north and leads toward Hat Lake, a small lake that has almost completely transformed into peat bog.

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
Birl Lake (Upper) Cowan Lake Hotfoot Lake (Little Jug) Lake
Caveman Lake Hack Lake Humpback Lake Porridge Lake
Churn Lake Hat Lake Jug Lake Scotch Lake
Cowan Lake      
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