Paddle - BWCA, Quetico, Sylvania, and other paddling places


Here are what people are saying about Paddle Planner! If you haven't already, join them in using Paddle Planner!

I absolutely love using your site since I have been an interior park ranger in Algonquin Park for the past 4 years.
Conner Lockey
Quetico, Woodland Caribou, or the northeastern Manitoba parks - PaddlePlanner is the first place I go to when planning a wilderness canoe trip. Throw away your string and rulers, the site's time and distance calculator lets you sketch out an entire trip in a matter of hours based on their built-in maps and portage data. Add in a unique set of campsite databases, and you can either print your results out on a satellite or topo beackground, or download the whole thing to your GPS. What a great site!
Mike Wyganowski "Joe_Schmeaux"
Paddle Planner is a huge asset when planning out your next canoe trip. I suggest it to anyone planning a canoe trip. You are able to get reviews of campsites, and plan out which portages to use and the length of trip you want in your canoe trip.
Grant Winter
Cook, MN
Voyageur Canoe Country
Easy way to measure trip distances as well as finding campsite and portage data along with it. I spent many years punching holes in maps with dividers. It's much easier this way.

I used it to plan my trip for this year. With the distance measuring capability, I was able to pick a route that fit our ability and available time.
Mike Schaeffer
Traverse City, MI
The Route Finder is the best part and sets this site far above other research sites for mapping the BWCA. This is the best site to help you plan your trip to the BWCA, giving information you information that details out the route you may choose to go.

I also appreciate that Ben (the administrator) has personally assisted me with getting the most out of the site. He has personally helped me by showing me tricks or tips in using the tools.

I plan to be a member as long as I paddle the BWCA.
David Westenburg
Omaha, NE
You have got to check this out. It is by far the coolest site available for planning canoe travel. It's super easy to use and a great way to spend the winter months mapping and dreaming about that next trip.

I was intrigued from the beginning with the incredible map tools available back when it was It has only gotten better over the years. I don't use it a lot, but when I do, it provides such an amazingly complete package of information that I am satisfied that my membership money was well-spent.

The Route Finder is fantastic. I defy anyone to find anything so comprehensive that works this well. It's so quick and easy to modify, I will often use it for various 'what if?' scenarios. Sometimes, I think, "Why should I pay for something that I can probably find elsewhere for free?" That is not the case here. The tools here are an "all in one ace" and they work seamlessly and reliably.
David Knudsen "schweady"
Perham, MN
This was my first trip to the BWCA and found Paddle Planner to be invaluable! I went with my brother and son who both had BWCA experience. Although my son planned everything using maps, I was able to use Paddle Planner to understand those plans and also provide some valuable input.

I found nothing comparable online and really compliment the creator on his dedication to building a great set of tools. Fantastic product (and I rarely give compliments like this)!

Even if you think you know everything you need to about the BWCA, PP is a great tool that belongs in your toolbox.
Craig Thies
Newton, IA
"BWCA Novice"
Someone mentioned the site to me when it was first started. I thought it was very interesting and extremely useful. I think you have done a good job at putting the site together. People who don't use the site have no idea what they're missing. I like everything about the site and have used almost everything. Last year I did a 9 day 92 mile solo trip, Using a laser jet printer, I printed out each leg of the trip with the portage and mileage with time to plan each day. The links to fish species and DNR lake info also makes trip planning much easier.
Farmington, MN
Paddle Planner has it all...campsite reviews are helpful, the trip planner is awesome, and being able to download .gpx files are the icing on the cake. It is all user friendly. I'll keep my membership active as long as I paddle BWCA/Quetico.

The Route Finder and the ability to download those routes on the GPS is THE feature I like the most. I'm good with maps and compass...I don't get lost. But when I'm trying to find the fastest way point A to point B because I just want to GET THERE, it is awesome to have a route on the GPS and just paddle.

It was also worth the time and effort to look at campsite rankings and locations on Paddle Planner. Many campsites are not shown on [paper maps], even some good ones. I've avoided wasting time paddling to campsites not having any idea if they are any good or not.

The price was right and worth every penny.
Jackson, MO
The Paddle Planner offers the ability to sketch out a route to think about different approaches to get an idea of length and time required for a trip. I like its ability to find a path from point A to point B. I also like the ability to store routes and to share links to them with paddling partners. Counting portages and measuring length and times (based on your speed or single vs double portaging) are excellent.

Very useful. Handy for getting a quick look at a route and doing more in-depth planning. Availability of portage lengths and satellite images are great.
Randy Pfeifer
Warrenville, IL
I am very satisfied. Whenever I had questions or comments, the administrator was very prompt in responding and pleasant to interact with.

Paddle Planner was very useful in identifying expected paddle and portage distances for trip planning. Having the ability to assign paddle and portage speeds allowed estimating potential and reasonable distances and destinations. I enjoy the ability to assign paddle and portage times across a defined route to ascertain what are and are not reasonable destinations for a days paddle. It provides a great tool to describe to trip members what are the potential destinations given a hard versus leisurely pace. Basically facilitates planning of rational goals.

To help plan and anticipate for a better trip experience, more information is better in my opinion, and Paddle Planner presents a great source of information. Paddle Planner provides a great interface with geopositional data to plan routes. I don't know of any other source for this type of information other than recourse to hand held maps.

Paddle Planner allows you to investigate multiple detailed routes taking into account accurate paddle and portage distances between, lakes, portages, and campsites. It allows you to consider rational paddle and portage speeds that you decide on and input yourself. Identifying your routes is easy and fun. Many lakes, portages, and campsites have commentary available from former and varied users offering opinions that can provide useful information. The capability of Paddle Planner is very unique, fun to use, and very informative, a great trip planning resource.
Boyd Zander
Glenview, IL
Paddle Planner, had it existed back in the early 90's, would have been a valuable learning resource for us when we started canoeing. And indeed trip reports, photos, and the users forum make Paddle Planner a valuable learning resource.

As a more experienced canoeist, I use the interactive maps extensively in planning trips and dreaming about trips. The campsite locations, info and ratings are especially worthwhile in route planning. There was a time when the only campsite info available was whatever the outfitter happened to know and the old Fisher maps that some people cautioned us against placing too much trust in.

I guess I am not such a big fan of the 'good' old days.
Chris Hoepker
Planken, Liechtenstein
I was attracted by the Route Finder interactive maps that allow me to quickly map out a route and give me a wealth of basic information about mileage, portages, and time. I can quickly change the parameters to see what effect that would have on travel time.
A planning paddler
This site gives you instant access to lots of useful information and a community of like minded individuals. It seems like it is still growing compared to some of the other BWCAW related sites, but I find this one friendly and helpful. For me the mapping features are most important and they work well. The ratings of campsites are nice for planning purposes. Trip reports can be entertaining and informative. I have used PP to narrow down campsite searches in the field. Once out on the lakes it can be time consuming to paddle from place to place assessing the quality of camps. Researching here before going out assist in this process greatly. Check out Paddle Planner - it's great for routing your trip and finding camp sites that may fit your needs. The route planner gives you mileage totals making it fun and helpful to calculate how far you'll travel.
Ely, MN
My friend told me about this website. He thought it was better than sliced bread. It's a great planning tool. Better than any other BWCA website. Very glad to see other areas being added. My favorite part is the photos and the distance calculator. You can also learn what others have seen on their trip (like a mine on jack lake, waterfalls on pine) and what others take for food.
Salem, IL
I was first interested in Paddle Planner because the online maps looked great, and they are! The online maps have elevation, firelines, campsite ratings fishing info. We reviewed camp sites for our spring trip. While we don't always agree with the reviews, they were very helpful. For planning, it's the best site. Well worth the investment.
Bobs Hoenisch
Rochester, MN
I like the mapping and the tools that allow me to quickly put trips together. The portage and campsite evaluations are great. I can use Paddle Planner to plan alternative routes and "escape" routes if they are necessary. I always like to have alternative exit spots, and Paddle Planner allows me to research those other routes quickly and effectively. Paddle Planner is the easiest tool on the net for quickly and effectively building trip plans for the Boundary Waters and Quetico.
Avid Paddler, Crazy Fisherman
New Albany, IN
The route planner, info on portages, campsite rating are all great planning tools. Great place to start planning a trip.
Denton, TX
Paddle Planner is a valuable tool and resource I use often to plan trips, check campsites and mileage or discuss the BWCA with friends. I see my membership as a very small investment for a huge value. I appreciate having current and correct information at my fingertips.

In the past, I used paper or first generation electronic maps to plan the family trips. It was irritating that I would have to have numerous maps or slow electronic maps to calculate a route. I would use string to figure out the mileage and a calculator and spreadsheet to get portages listed, mileage and possible sites and days out. When using Paddle Planner, all the information is calculated for me and readily available on my computer screen in seconds. I am not trying to sound like a high priced ad - I simply like and use Paddle Planner almost daily. I plan trips for our entire family, church and college groups - probably more than 10 trips each season - not as many as an outfitter but a lot of work without a good planning program.

I love the Route Finder! I can change the settings to allow for slower groups or the college boys who are into "fast" miles! I often will plan trips in sections or days. The calculating feature lets me track starts, stops, campsites and estimate times and miles. The campsite and portage information and ratings are very valuable so I can avoid sites that will not accomodate our bigger groups or find small sites when there are only 2 on a trip.

The forum is also interesting and offers conversation with both seasoned and novice paddlers.. There are knowledgeable folks who offer information and insight in an open and friendly manner. I appreciate the discussions.

I recommend Paddle Planner to both novice and experienced paddlers. It is easy to use and I quickly became adept at using the features. It is a huge time saver for detailed and final planning or casual investigation of trip options. The Route Finder provides clear detailed information and is reliable information both on the screen and put into action on the trail. We use it at our annual family Holiday gathering to start the plans for spring trips. That way, we are almost all in attendance and gather in the den to watch the computer screen.
Lori Johnson
Minneapolis, MN
Retired not-for-profit program director, children's camp director, trip guide and outfitter, mother, grandmother and canoe traveler since 1962.
The Route Finder is definitely my favorite part of Paddle Planner, and no other place offer such comprehensive planning tools. Although some of the information can be found elsewhere, this site really has compiled the most thorough and easily accessible data on entry points, portages and campsites.

I like being able to find pictures of portages and campsites, and the member input in the form of trip reports and forum posts are informative for planning and general information.

Being able to put in multiple points and plot possible routes has really helped me plan routes appropriate for my family trips.

At first I was a bit disappointed to realize that I would have to pay for some features. However, I also realized how much I appreciate the value of the services, and the membership was a very small price to pay.

Planning your trip to the Boundary Waters and a bunch of other wildernesses will be made much easier if you start with You don't have to guess about routes or mileage, and it will even tell you which paper maps you need.
I like the interactive map feature and Route Finder that will calculate distance traveled and portage distance and time. Quality website that can really help you with trip planning.
Mike Porter
Bettendorf, IA
If you are planning a trip to the BWCA, or just want some additional information, Paddle Planner is the place to start. Great interactive maps with portage/paddle calculators, DNR lake maps, photos, reviews and more! This site is an indispensable tool to help start planning your next Boundary Waters or Quetico trip.
Mike Burke
Shakopee, MN
New Messages