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BWCA Portage 566 (Cherokee to Sitka)

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Approximate Length:
830m (165 rods)


Climb/Descent Meters:

"Hilliness" Index

# of Comments:

On 8/18/2022 10:52:58 PM, EdDavies said:
Visit Date:

Make no mistake, this is a hellish portage, one of the toughest in the entire BWCA. It's not the length, it's the 140 rods of nothing but up and down, up and down. Trust me, the elevation chart does not properly convey what a P.I.T.A. this portage is - we're seasoned trippers and it wiped out both my 19 and my 21 year old kids who both have over 100 days of wilderness travel under their belts and are in very good shape for their ages, and excellent shape compared to their parents. At one point there is a 4-5 foot wall where you must hand the canoe down with one person up and one down. If you have a pack on, if its not too heavy you can carefully make your way down on your butt, but really it works much better with a buddy who hands the pack down or up as the case may be.
On 6/7/2021 9:34:10 AM, BobberRob said:
Visit Date:

Took this going into Cherokee. This thing has some seriously tight turns and some serious ups and downs. Sitka side landing is nice. Cherokee side landing has a 'staging zone' above the landing which is good for catching your breath before paddling out on Cherokee. I wouldn't recommend caring fishing rods separate here, they will get snagged. Strap everything in the canoe or on your pack. 9/10
On 6/3/2021 7:22:33 PM, TuscaroraBorealis said:
Visit Date:

Roller coaster is a good description. Tight cumbersome landing on Cherokee. A much roomier staging area is a short climb up the stone staircase. Besides the multiple climbs twists & turns, there are a few spots that are technically demanding as well; where foot placement is crucial. The Sitka landing is littered with boulders but, is much more open.
On 12/27/2020 9:42:22 AM, Riley Smith said:
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We initially tried heading through the Cherokee Creek route, but it was iced up. After fighting partway down, we turned back to here. We had wonderful weather earlier in the morning, but it was beginning to turn by the time we reached this portage. The portage does a fair bit of up and down with some tough footing. It's a scenic area though and we made good time on through.
On 12/18/2020 9:43:13 AM, carterswift said:
Visit Date:

By far the most difficult portage I've found in the BWCA. A roller coaster up and down with one large rock where you need to balance the canoe on your shoulders while using both hands to climb. It feels much longer than 165 rods!
On 9/23/2020 2:47:41 PM, twincitiesjesse said:
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Coming from Sitka on the Temperance/Cherokee/Sawbill loop, this was the only portage on the whole trip that we gave up single portaging for. About 2/3rds from the Sitka end, there's several spot with tricky footing to pass over. I ended up dropping the canoe and coming back for it. Otherwise, not too bad. Lots of up and down, but the trail was dry in September.
On 4/5/2019 3:23:57 PM, Shoot!TheRapids said:
Visit Date:

Quite the roller coaster. We were coming from Sitka, which appears to be much easier versus coming from Cherokee. At one point I had to jump down off a boulder and didn't see the tree in front of it, so somehow narrowly avoided banging the canoe head on with a tree while in midair. On the Cherokee side, the landing is very steep down to the lake, though there is flat, shallow water off the cliff edge.
On 9/16/2015 10:50:43 AM, SwenMike said:
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This portage is the Laurentian Divide. It's especially steep on each end and a winding, mixture of lava flows, boulders, but fairly dry. On the very top of the divide I was lucky enough to come across a mature bull moose. His path intersected the trail at the top. A beautiful, but challenging hike. The Cherokee side landing has nice natural steps, but steep to the lake with shallow pebble bottom at the lakefront. We portaged 4 kayaks empty first trip, then gear on a 2nd trip.
On 7/13/2015 10:25:40 AM, eagle98mn said:
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Going from Cherokee into Sitka, was a steep and challenging climb for our group. Not impossible by any means, but it isn't flat!
On 1/20/2015 7:05:08 AM, ParkerMag said:
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One of the more challenging portages in the BW that I can recall. Going from Sitka to Cherokee, catching sight of Snub ~2/3 of the way and thinking you're nearly finished is cruel! lol
On 10/13/2014 9:53:56 AM, jeemon said:
Visit Date:

Windy and steep. Fun to explore without canoes and pack. Will provide some challenges when portaging boats as the trail gets steep, rocky, and windy at the same time.
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Cherokee Side of the Sitka to Cherokee (Laurentian Divide) Portage
Cherokee Side of the Sitka to Cherokee (Laurentian Divide) Portage by SwenMike
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