A Quick Guide to the Boundary Waters

Updated: Jun 11, 2019


The Boundary Waters beauty is beyond description.

We LOVE the Boundary Waters. This was our second time back this year because we had so much fun the first time.

Here is the summary of latest trip.

Length of Time

5 days 4 nights

When

End of August

Route

Day 1: Start at Williams and Hall Outfitters on Moose Lake. Boat ride from Moose Lake —> Newfound Lake —> Sucker Lake. Portage 5 rod to Birch Lake. Sleep on Birch Lake.

Day 2: Birch Lake —> Portage 40 rod to Carp Lake —> Portage 25 rod —> Portage 15 rod —> Portage 15 rod —> Portage 75 rod to Knife Lake. Sleep on Knife Lake.

Day 3: Day trip around Knife Lake. Stay on Knife Lake

Day 4: Knife Lake —> portage 200 rod to Vera Lake —> portage 180 rod to Ensign Lake. Sleep on Ensign Lake.

Day 5: Ensign Lake —> Splash Lake —> 30 rod to Newfound Lake —> Williams and Hall Outfitters on Moose Lake.

One of the two maps we used to navigate our trip.

TOTAL DISTANCE

Approximately 55 miles.

OUTFITTER

Williams and Hall Outfitter. 10 out of 10 recommend them. Blayne, Charlene, and Dave are AWESOME. You can tell they have been doing this for years. The Outfitter is right on Moose Lake which is a huge bonus in making it easy to get going right away in the morning. You can stay in a room (ours was a private room with shared bathrooms) connected to the Outfitter. Another bonus is the morning is a $9 pancake and bacon breakfast that is 100% worth it. They were all able to give us advice on a fishing and a route.


When we returned, we were offered a pop or beer on the house, we chatted for an hour about our experience, of course had to ask for more advice about fishing the elusive walleye, and were offered a warm shower before we hit the road. These guys know what they heck they are doing and they do it well.

Highly, highly recommend Williams and Hall Outfitters!

NEAREST TOWN AND THINGS TO DO

Ely, MN. We didn’t get to explore Ely very much but it looked like a really cool small town. It had a Folk School which must mean they’ve got some pretty cool things going on.

The little time we did spend in Ely we of course went to eat and were able to get the different supplies we needed to start our trip. Here's what I can recommend.


Places to Shop

ZUP’s: local grocery store. Here we got stocked up on all the food we needed for the next 5 days.

Piragis Northwoods Company: Oh man we could have spent HOURS here.... and lots of money. Neither of which we had much of. Knowing that we’d be to the Boundary Waters again we ended up buying a 115 liter dry bag backpack and of course some more paracord (you can never have too much) from here. These guys were super friendly and the store has everything you could ever want and more.

The dry bag backpack we bought from Piragis. We loved it!

Places to Eat

Ely Steakhouse: We had two different people recommend the Steakhouse to us and the one said it was the most hometown style place we would find. We don’t eat a lot of meat but this was our big meal before we went out to the water and when you have food as good as theirs, you go all out. We shared an appetizer, steak and salad. The recommendation was completely justified. The food and service were both great!

Told you we ate our hearts out at Ely Steakhouse!

Boathouse Brewpub and Restaurant: After the Boundary Waters we were of course STARVED and actually tried going back to the steakhouse for our post meal supper. However, there’s only 2 places in town that are open on Mondays so the wait was over an hour. We ended up going to the other, more modern, but equally as great, Boathouse Brewpub. There we got 2 appetizers (come on people, do you know what traveling over 55 miles via canoe does to a person?) and two burgers. The food was amazing as was the service and atmosphere.

COST OF TRIP

Here's a breakdown of the cost of our trip:

Williams and Hall (room, breakfast, canoe rental, fishing license): 387.60

Gear (dry bags, paracord, etc.): 217.12

Gas from Michigan to Minnesota: 196.40

Eating out:193.88

Groceries for Boundary Waters: 102.01

Hotel: 91.09

BWCA Permits: 32.00


Total: 1,220.10

PACKING LIST

See our complete packing list in my other blog post.

Everything we packed for 4 nights in the Boundary Waters. (Remember, you have to carry EVERYTHING you bring in :))

PS: Here's a blog I wrote about the 9 things you should know about the Boundary Waters.

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