Maps of the BWCA and Quetico
There are four main companies that make maps of the Boundary Waters and Quetico area. Each are slightly different, but each company's maps can be used for traveling. My personal choice has been based on the coverage of the maps for the area I will be traveling (for example, if I only have to buy one Voyageur map versus two Fisher maps for my trip, I would probably go with the Voyageur). I have used three of the four types of maps while traveling, and I will briefly discuss my experiences with each.
The Fisher Maps F-Series maps cover the BWCA and Quetico Provincial Park and are used extensively by paddlers. The scale of the maps is 1.5 inches to the mile (1:42,240). I have used Fisher Maps on many trips. They are accurate and easy to read.
McKenzie Maps cover the BWCA and Quetico Provincial Park and are also another favorite of paddlers. The scale of the map is 2 inches to the mile (1:31,680), which is a larger scale (more "zoomed in") than the Fisher or Voyageur maps. Because of this, McKenzie maps generally have more detail than the other maps. However, this also means that each map covers less area, so you would need to buy more maps to cover the same area.
Voyageur Maps are one of the newest companies to produce maps of the Boundary Waters, and they are quickly becoming a favorite of paddlers and anglers. The scale of the maps is the same as the Fisher maps (1.5 inches to the mile). Voyageur maps only cover the BWCA, not the Quetico. Voyageur maps are popular with anglers because the maps contain fishing information. While both Fisher and McKenzie have some lake depth contours on their maps (mostly for the more popular lakes), Voyageur maps has lake depth contours for pretty much all lakes that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has surveyed. Voyageur also prints on each map a listing of the relative abundance and size of fish species found in the lakes on the map covered. In addition, the maps also have historical, geological, and other information about the area, which makes for some interesting reading in camp. Another bonus is that Voyageur decided to make their maps larger, thereby covering the entire BWCA in just 10 maps.
You can browse the entire set of Voyageur maps on their website, a feature that I've found useful quite a number of times.
Chrismar Adventure Map
The Chrismar Adventure Map is the official map of Quetico Provincial Park. It is sold at all entry stations. It has been carefully reviewed by Quetico Provincial Park for accuracy. However, it is a much smaller scale than the other maps - approximately one half inch to the mile (1:125,000). Many people opt to carry this map and a map with a larger scale for the greater detail.
National Geographic Trails Illustrated
I know I said I was only going to discuss four maps. Well, here is the fifth and most recent addition to the available BWCA maps. National Geographic Trails Illustrated published a set of maps covering the BWCA (not the Quetico). The entire BWCA fits on two maps, printed on both the front and back sides of the paper. The scale of the maps is about .9 inches to the mile (approximately 1:70,000). Because the scale is smaller, it shows less detail than any of the other maps. I don't think it is detailed enough to navigate with, so I would not recommend them for navigation. However, I purchased two sets to hang on my wall and use for trip planning. They are very attractive and colorful, and since they are less than $9.00 each, why not buy a set?
Jeff has maps for Algonquin, Killarney, and Temagami. His maps have not only lakes, campsites, and portages, but he also includes historical and geographical tidbits. He also includes directly on the maps distances from lake to lake and estimated paddling times.
All logos are property of their respective companies.