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OhPaddler  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, March 22, 2023 2:11:29 PM(UTC)


I'm just doing a little dreaming while the lakes are still frozen. 

In your opinion, what would be the one or two standard routes (no PMA's) where I could expect to achieve maximum solitude in the BWCA.

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Ben Strege  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, March 22, 2023 11:14:38 PM(UTC)


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The least traveled route in the Boundary Waters is the Louse River route. I don't know how that was determined, but I have read that in several places. Frost River route is another good one. That being said, I have been able to find secluded places on every route. Some routes are more difficult to find seclusion, but it is possible.

Or you can go to Quetico, Wabakimi, or Woodland Caribou 

eagle98mn  
#3 Posted : Thursday, March 23, 2023 1:01:38 PM(UTC)


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I haven't traveled it (yet), but I'm assuming things are pretty quiet along Little Indian Sioux South. Otherwise, aiming for a dead end always helps. A couple summers ago I entered at East Bearskin in August and camped at the east end of Crystal. Going through Alder and Canoe was a zoo, but Crystal was empty. Taking the campsite at the far end of the lake further distanced us from the crowds. I heard wolves howling nearby that night too! Despite all the busy lakes surrounding me, it felt like we had the wilderness to ourselves on Crystal.
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Ben Strege on 3/23/2023(UTC)
Ben Strege  
#4 Posted : Thursday, March 23, 2023 3:22:31 PM(UTC)


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I have done Little Indian Sioux South. The first night we were by ourselves. The second night, another group took the other campsite. The third night we shared our campsite with a father/daughter duo that came up from the south and discovered both campsites taken.

FYI - there are a couple of brand new campsites on the Little Indian Sioux River. One is north of Bootleg, the other south.

TuscaroraBorealis  
#5 Posted : Thursday, March 23, 2023 10:44:58 PM(UTC)


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Being sandwiched between 2 exceedingly easy EP lakes... the Perent River wouldn't seem to be anywhere near the top but, I rarely hear/read of anyone actually recently undertaking the trip. Only poking in a few portages from one end or the other and then returning from whence they came.

The frequent portages and the fact it got wiped out by Pagami certainly must contribute to why.

Also, the Big Lake EP comes immediately to mind.
Ben Strege  
#6 Posted : Friday, March 24, 2023 10:04:28 AM(UTC)


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Originally Posted by: TuscaroraBorealis Go to Quoted Post
Also, the Big Lake EP comes immediately to mind.

I sometimes wonder where everybody goes from Big Lake. There are really only two campsites (at least without a really long portage). There are two permits per day, and I have seen them be sold out multiple days in a row. Where does everyone go?

OhPaddler  
#7 Posted : Friday, March 24, 2023 11:17:19 AM(UTC)


Wabakimi is certainly on the list of places to paddle - but the BWCA is a easier to "sell" to my tripping partners (wife and kiddos).  Not expecting a ton of solitude on this years trip, as we are planning Moose River North to Fall Lake - but since I've spent much of my time in the eastern BWCA, a change will be nice.  Thanks for the beta!  It's something to keep me dreaming about while spring approaches.

TuscaroraBorealis  
#8 Posted : Friday, March 24, 2023 9:06:21 PM(UTC)


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Originally Posted by: Ben Strege Go to Quoted Post
<p>
Originally Posted by: TuscaroraBorealis Go to Quoted Post
Also, the Big Lake EP comes immediately to mind.
</p><p>I sometimes wonder where everybody goes from Big Lake. There are really only two campsites (at least without a really long portage). There are two permits per day, and I have seen them be sold out multiple days in a row. Where does everyone go?</p>



I guess if you miss out on getting a Slim, Big Moose or Crab permit it offers a chance yo get into those areas if you're willing to portage.

The Big Rice - Hook portage is mostly just long. Very long. Although it can be wet & muddy. The Duck - Big Moose still rates as one of the 2 or 3 toughest maintained trails I've run across in the bwca. Not to mention you'd have the 2 miler into Cummings next. O, the joy! ;-)
todd burkes  
#9 Posted : Monday, April 17, 2023 10:40:32 AM(UTC)


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I am planning a trip in early Sept. I will be the youngest at 56 and my Dad the oldest at 78. Dad is very capable of the walking, paddling etc..  However, the Dr. has placed some weight restrictions on him. We want to go either to Minn lake via Black Robe portage or go up north to Pickerel Lake. We want to do as little portaging as possible but still find quiet and seclusion.  Last year I think we saw 2 other canoes when we were in Minn and Iron. Can I assume that I could expect the same through Pickerel down to Buckingham?

FromTentToTakeoff  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, January 9, 2024 9:34:22 AM(UTC)


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Here is a list of EPs with a little more information on each, and a map with each EP and issuing station, in case that helps to find these more off-the-beaten path spots. 

https://fromtenttotakeoff.com/bwca-entry-points/

We like to go in on Kawishiwi Lake and at least hit Malberg on day 1. It's a hike but worth it. Once you are past Malberg you will rarely see much for other canoists. We've done a version of this trip ever year since our youngest was 2. Very doable and rewarding. 

 

gjfellman56  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, January 10, 2024 4:45:33 PM(UTC)


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I find that when you go is as important as where sometimes.  If you can do weekdays in early to mid-May and late September through October that alone takes care of a lot of the crowds.

thanks 3 users thanked gjfellman56 for this useful post.
Ben Strege on 1/10/2024(UTC), AmateurHour on 1/11/2024(UTC), elkninja on 1/12/2024(UTC)
elkninja  
#12 Posted : Friday, January 12, 2024 5:53:17 PM(UTC)


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Originally Posted by: gjfellman56 Go to Quoted Post

I find that when you go is as important as where sometimes.  If you can do weekdays in early to mid-May and late September through October that alone takes care of a lot of the crowds.

Agreed.  I did Mudro at the end of September and saw relatively few people during a week-long trip.  And in early October I spent a week at Cross Bay and didn't see anyone else the entire time.

twopaddle  
#13 Posted : Monday, January 15, 2024 4:50:20 PM(UTC)


My wife and I did the Frost River loop several years ago and didn't see anyone for 4 days. I went on a solo trip and stayed on Snipe Lake in June 2024. Zero people for two days and one canoe each on two other days. A very short trip but was exceptionally quiet. Saw only 3 groups as I was exiting via Cross Bay and Ham on last day
OhPaddler  
#14 Posted : Thursday, February 1, 2024 10:09:36 AM(UTC)


I certainly found some solitude on my route this year - not maximum or total - but a fair amount. We ended up paddling the Moose River to Anges, on to Oyster, Ge-Be-on-a-quet, LLC, Basswood and out at Fall Lake.

It was fairly quiet from Oyster - Iron. Crooked was a little busier with a few camps full of people. We saw a bull moose on GeBe Creek, heard wolves in the middle of the night on Ge-Be (really loud/close), LLC and Iron and saw a juvenile wolf along the shore just past the bottle portage.

Basswood River to Fall Lake was super busy with multiple groups observed.

We ended up paddling from Lower Basswood Falls to the southern end of Jackfish bay and almost every site was occupied, minus one which would have been OK for an overnight/emergency.

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