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 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Adventures

Boundary Waters Wilderness Vacation

Boundary Waters Minnesota vacation planning resources and tips will lead you to an adventure of a lifetime.

National Geographic Traveler lists the Boundary Waters in Minnesota as one of the world's "50 Best Places of a Lifetime" to visit.

Plan a canoe journey into the Boundary Waters wilderness of Minnesota just beyond the town of Ely.This Superior National Forest area encompasses 1.3 million acres and 1,200 pristine lakes and rivers. The BWCAW stretches for 150 miles along the Minnesota/Canada border and attracts 200,000 visitors every year. It may be the best place in the world for "quiet water" canoeing.

Adventurer and author, Charles Kuralt, said of Ely: "On the map, Ely appears to be at the end of the road. For people who love wilderness and beauty and solitude, on the contrary, it's at the center of the world."

Read what other travelers have to say about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Boundary Waters Minnesota Vacation

Ely will likely be the starting point for your Boundary Waters Minnesota vacation. In Ely you can consult with BWCAW guides and outfitters.

If your road trip to the BWCAW takes you through tiny Cook Minnesota, be sure to explore the town a bit. 

Get tips and ideas about everything from how to paddle your canoe to where you might spot a moose. There are fifty-six entry points into the Boundary Waters. If you have a chance, talk to some local people or to those who have made this trip.

Exploring the Boundary Waters: A Trip Planner and Guide to the BWCAW

Experience the adventure of the Boundary Waters! Begin by talking to an outfitter like Boundary Waters Guide Service.

A Boundary Waters Minnesota vacation will take you one of the most legendary camping destinations in the world.

This adventure is for you if you enjoy primitive camping, excellent fishing and world class canoeing. Fishing the Boundary Waters offers serenity and the possibility of some very large fish. More fish live to maturity here; some believe that world-record bass lurk in these waters.

You should be willing to be miles from civilization and have the ability to carry your canoe and gear across mile-long portages.

The Boundary Waters is on our list of the best Minnesota adventure tours travel destinations.

Boundary Waters Minnesota Vacation Resources

Boundary Waters Canoe Camping will give you an overview of entry points into the Boundary Waters wilderness area, descriptions of specific routes, and tips about camping in the wilderness.

Consult with expert canoe outfitters, or hire a guide. Purchase books about the Minnesota wilderness as well as Boundary Waters maps and other resources that will help you prepare for this trip. A Boundary Waters outfitting company will be able suggest canoe routes and advise you about the best spots to camp. You can do much on your own to prepare with ideas from this backpacking list.

Permits and reservations are required to enter the Boundary Waters. Get the information you need here: Boundary Waters Permits and Reservations

If you want to experience this amazing area without traveling into the Boundary Waters, you can stay nearby in the comfort of one of these Crane Lake - BWCA and Voyageurs Area Vacation Rentals


Ely Minnesota Vacation Rentals are another possibility for lodging in the area.

Tips for your adventure kayak or canoe trip into the wilderness.

Whether you choose to stay in lodging outside the Boundary Waters or travel into the wilderness, expect amazing experiences of star gazing and viewing the Northern Lights in the night sky.

National Forest Campgrounds: Some of these campsites are in the Superior National Forest and very near the Boundary Waters so can offer easy access for a day trip in the area.

Prepare for any camping excursion with this camping equipment checklist.

Included is information about the major waterways, portages, and the designated campsites. The book will help you plan your route through the Boundary Waters labyrinth of lakes and streams.

The Boundary Waters lakes are connected by streams and portages making it possible to travel throughout the wilderness by canoe.

Exploring the Boundary Waters: A Trip Planner and Guide to the BWCAW
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Canoeing is how most visitors to the area choose to explore however we would encourage you to do some hiking as well. Some of the best hiking trails in Minnesota are in the BWCAW.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is one of the most used wilderness areas in the country. More that 200,000 people enter the BWCAW each year. 

The permit restriction does ensure that you will enjoy the solitude you expect from a Boundary Waters Minnesota adventure.

If you would like a similar wilderness experience without the permit system and watercraft restrictions, you can head to one of the least visited National Parks in the U.S. Voyageurs National Park.

Sea kayaking trips offer challenges similar to an excursion into the BWCAW. 

On the shores of Lake of the Woods, you can visit one of our farthest north state parks, Zippel Bay State Park.

A quote by another lover of the wilderness: Beauty is composed of many things and never stands alone. It is part of horizons, blue in the distance, great primeval silences, knowledge of all things of the earth... It is so fragile it can be destroyed by a sound or thought. It may be infinitesimally small or encompass the universe itself. It comes in a swift conception wherever nature has not been disturbed. ~ The Singing Wilderness - Sigurd Olson

Boundary Waters Minnesota Vacation

As well as the lakes and forests, a Boundary Waters Minnesota vacation will give you the opportunity to see, and hear, many of the wild creatures that inhabit Minnesota. There is no more memorable sound in the wilderness than the haunting cry of our Minnesota State Bird, the loon.

You might also hear the howl of a wolf, see a black bear, moose, beaver and otter. Bald eagles are often seen soaring above the lakes...doing their fishing while you do yours. 

Boundary Waters Guidebooks

Boundary Waters Planning Resources include planning guides, maps, and more.


Boundary Waters Minnesota Vacation Related Pages:

Voyageurs National Park

Boundary Waters Minnesota

Minnesota National Parks and Forests

One of Our Favorite Minnesota Books




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