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“Like a fairytale” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Ranked #1,506 of 1,436 things to do in Minnesota
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Part of the Superior National Forest, this vast area is about one million acres in size and is comprised of hundreds of lakes and over a thousand canoe passages.
New York
Level Contributor
37 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Like a fairytale”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2011

We had been planning to go to the Boundary Waters for a couple years now and had heard/read enough to know what to expect - and yet we were simply stunned by the sheer beauty of the area.

The waters are absolutely pristine, the views on each lake are spectacular and unique. Even though we went during "peak season", we didnt run across anyone for 2-3 days at a time on our route. Really appreciated the crowd control via the quota system, although it means that you might neeed to plan your trip several months in advance.

We rented a canoe from the Tuscarora Lodge and the couple running the lodge (Sue & Andy) were just great. Very warm and helpful, very knowledgeable about the area and could advise us on ideal routes to take.

If you haven't canoed before, learning to portage is HARD. Would definitely recommend choosing routes carefully and packing conservatively. Having gone on several backpacking trips before, we were already accustomed to ultralight travel, which we definitely appreciated as we carried the canoe through the portages. It's nothing to get dissuaded by - just a matter of knowing your capabilities and planning accordingly.

The drive up from Duluth to Grand Marais (border town of to the Boundary Waters), all the way along the shoreline of Lake Superior, is a trip in itself.

Overall, absolutely spectacular.

Visited July 2011
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2 Thank ScooterNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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60 reviews from our community

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English first
Saint Paul, Minnesota
1 review
“Great outfitting company”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2011

This was my first trip to the BWCAW and I could not have had a better introduction. The area is stunningly beautiful. It is wonderful that it is protected under the Wilderness Act. We owe much of our great first time experience to the outfitters who set us up, Voyagers Canoe Outfitters on the Gunflint Trail. We had everything we needed the equipment was top quality; we had ample food; and most importantly, the staff were extremely helpful, friendly and professional. I would definitely use them again and have recommended them to my friends.

Visited June 2011
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Thank scoutfarinelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Taos, New Mexico
Level Contributor
25 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Wilderness Adventure with Boundary Waters Guide Service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2009

Get away from it all; soak in the magnificence of star-filled, full-moon nights; relax while swimming in the cool lake waters; enjoy fresh northern pike and walleye bakes; skim across the evening waters with only the quiet drops of water falling from your oars. We spent 6 nights out in the boundary waters canoeing and camping with the Boundary Waters Guide Service and had the time of our lives. Jason Zabokrtsky (whom we met while dog sledding last winter) was fantastic. If you don't camp often and/or if you're traveling from other parts for the experience, it is nice to have a service that will provide for all your needs (from camping gear, to canoes, food, etc). Jason does a great job of "interviewing" the folks he is traveling with and understanding what their goal is. Then, he is great about focusing on how to achieve that goal. I was NOT interested in a totally rustic experience so Jason surprised us with little extras: air matresses, espresso for breakfast and wonderful (foodie) lunches and dinners. While he is probably more inclined toward the genuine boundary waters experience (the stinky fisherman/camper adventure, as I like to call it), he is good about finding out what his clients want and what they are looking for. We had the best weather one could ask for in late August (2009) and I'm sure he can't guarantee that, but if you're interested in having the wilderness experience of your life, check them out: http://www.boundarywatersguideservice.com/.

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4 Thank SinFronteras54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oak Park, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Getting off the grid”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2007

We took a seven day canoe trip arranged by Voyageur North Outfitters out of Ely, MN last week and it was amazing. Despite rain and aching muscles, I can easily say that this was a trip worth taking and if I can find time, I'll do it again.

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4 Thank ibanno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
“Wilderness lover's paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2004

Anyone with an interest in camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, bird-watching, frog-catching, or just getting away from it all should make the BWCAW a top priority on their trip wish list.
This was our first trip to the BWCAW, and my wife and I agree that it's just one of many to come. Relatively novice canoers with moderate camping experience, we chose an easy route, and found it personally challenging and immensely rewarding.
The BWCAW requires some preparation, and access to equipment such as stoves, canoes, duluth packs. Luckily there are oodles of outfitters up there willing to rent you the equipment if you are uncertain that you will use it again. Our outfitter was Rockwood Lodge out of Grand Marais, and they were great to work with, supplying us with everything we needed and transporting us to the entry point and back. They even helped with route-planning, input that is vital to having a successful trip.
If you don't mind mosquitos, the chance of rain, or cooking your curried quinoa over a single burner white gas stove in exchange for some of the most unspoiled wilderness this side of Alaska, book now. The only down-side is the growing popularity -- to avoid competition for the more popular campsites, it may be more satisfying to get a permit on a less popular entry point.
Next time, we're going in someplace less travelled -- where, we're not telling.

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6 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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