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“The Perfect Place”

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River Point Resort & Outfitting Co.
Ranked #4 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Ely
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 13, 2012

Nancy and I had fallen in love with the Ely area several years ago, and we were looking for our perfect place. As we were heading out of town to Lake Superior one summer, she spotted a sign pointing into the forest that read "River Point Resort 1.5 miles". I'm so glad that we turned down that road because we found that perferct place at the end of it.
Nestled in the deep woods on the shores of Birch Lake is a resport that has been operated by the same familty for half a century. It is so well kept that it looks like it was built yesterday.
Any type of accomadation that you could wish for is there. We chose a beautiful one bedroom cabin with its own dock on a flat piece of ground beautifully secluded in the trees. There is a nice screened in porch, complete with wicker furniture, a table, even a lamp to read by at night.
The owners are wonderful. They leave you to yourselves while at the same time provide excellent service. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you wish in activities.
Miles of hiking trails and an undeveloped 800 acre lake are there for you to explore.
I've never slept better and I told Jane that Nancy and I will come back every year.
One night, a full moon rose over that dark lake. As we watched it rise from our deck, I knew that life was perfect.
Out of five stars, we give River Point all of thoes in the endless Northern sky.
Spike

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Spike407
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quietriver, Owner at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co., responded to this reviewResponded February 1, 2012

We are so happy, too, that Nancy spotted our sign on highway #1 and you turned onto River Point Road several years ago to check out our resort…because we have surely loved having you as our guests for the past two years, and look forward to year number three this June. The one-bedroom Hideaway Cabin with level ground right to the water along with the handy private dock makes for an excellent choice. So happy that you have enjoyed the hiking trail on the property, also. You might be interested to know that our winter staff has been busy clearing the brush and dead trees from the trail area the past few weeks which helps to open up more beautiful vistas to the lake and allows for the white pine seedlings to grow quickly. Thank you, thank you…for the better than five star rating…wow!

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49 - 55 of 73 reviews

Reviewed September 22, 2011

We just came home Monday from a 3-night stay for our 23rd wedding anniversary. I can honestly tell you we received nothing but gracious attention from Jane (the owner) and everyone else we encountered here. Our cabin was "The Point" and it had the privacy we wanted, a beautiful view of the water, a very nice screen porch and deck from which to enjoy the sounds and sights, and a nicely equipped kitchen. I should add the cabin was absolutely spotless.

There is so much to see and do here, one could never be bored. The Trail of Reflections is a nice little hike. The grounds are so beautiful and a joy to walk around, I could picture lounging on a chair enjoying warm summer breezes at the beach. Oh, and there were books and a cribbage board in our cabin. We loved playing cribbage in the evening while listening to the radio. So relaxing. We rented one of their pontoons for the day so we could do a little fishing and sight-seeing on the lake. It was pretty cold and windy that day so we were only out for 4 or 5 hours. When my husband returned the boat, Jane told him we could take it out for the rest of our hours the next day if we wished! This was completely unsolicited and is an example of how eager to please these people really are.

Ely is an interesting town with plenty restaurants, shops, and bars to keep you entertained when the weather is less than cooperative for the numerous outdoor activities available. I believe there were two grocery stores in town as well, perfect for picking up your items for cooking in the cabin. The drive from the resort to town is only about 10 minutes and one you are sure to enjoy.

We had stayed at this resort about 15 years ago and I never forgot River Point after all that time. I always knew when we next returned to Ely that we would stay here again and now I know it will be our destination the next time!

Room Tip: I don't think you could miss with any room. All have excellent views!
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sunluvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quietriver, Owner at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co., responded to this reviewResponded February 1, 2012

It was definitely our pleasure to have you as our guests once again. Whenever you need a little mental “sojourn” from your day at work you can remember “The Point” cabin with its panoramic lake views from the screen porch and sundeck and the wooded forest surrounding it…the perfect place to “enjoy the sounds and sights” of nature, sit back, and relax. We value your sincere comments and are so happy that your special 23rd anniversary was a lovely celebration for both of you. All of the staff, and Steve, James, and I are most appreciative that you selected River Point Resort for your fall getaway and that you had a great time!

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Reviewed September 12, 2011

We stayed at River Point Resort for just one night on a visit to Ely, MN and the Boundry Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). This resort is in a beautiful spot and our 2nd floor villa had a vew of the Birch Lake. They have a nice beach, and several homes/cottages with eay access to the beach. The best of all is that if you want to get outfitted to go into the BWCA they can handle all of that for you right there. If we went again, we would take advantage of a canoe rental and portage in for a canoe day trip - lots of lakes to choose from!

Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
Thank Getawaygirl2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quietriver, Owner at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co., responded to this reviewResponded September 14, 2011

Thank you for the kind comments! We wish you could have stayed longer to enjoy more of the cool stuff available....the mile-long "Trail of Reflections", the complimentary kayaks, the two natural sand swim beaches, plus more of those great views to the lake from your villa. Lots of rental canoe choices and great accessibility from our location in the Superior National Forest to paddle directly into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness…all and more awaits your return visit to River Point Resort. Thanks again!

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Reviewed August 21, 2011

This was our first trip to River Point and it will certainly not be our last. Our family of four was accompanied by my father and we loved every minute of our trip. We were completely taken aback by the beauty of the resort, the accommodations, and the staff exceeded our expectations with every encounter. We literally have only been home long enough to unpack and I already miss hearing the loons and the incredible view from our beautiful cabin, Shifting Pines.
Our family vacations yearly and we have stayed at other housekeeping cabins and found River Point to be a cut above the rest. From the time we arrived we were met by Jane (the owner) and she called me by my name having recognized my voice from our many phone conversations. We were provided with a very informative orientation which included the activities to do at the resort as well as activities and dinning options to do in town and in the area. We were provided with the keys to our cabin and allowed to check in early which was quit a blessing after being on the road a few days. Our cabin was beautiful and spotless. From the décor, to the lay out with beautiful views of the lake, the immense pride and care that River Point takes to provide your family with an enjoyable vacation was apparent. The beds were very comfortable and I was so happy to have a very well appointed kitchen to prepare meals for our family. The living room was gorgeous although I must admit we spent most of our time on the screened in porch listening to the loons and the water while reliving the days adventures with each other.
Enough about the cabin let’s talk about the resort. The grounds are beautiful and so well kept. Two beautiful beaches and the water trampoline were a real treat for me and my daughter while my son’s favorite place was the playground. River Point was full of flowers and the trails between the common areas were surrounded by spectacular views. There are so many things to do between swimming, paddle boating, kayaking, a nature trail, and fishing that the activities that we had planned to do in town were quickly forgotten as we never wanted to leave the resort. The gift shop was a nice little place to relax and share some ice cream. The staff persons were so nice and accommodating. Each staff person we interacted with was polite and it was easy to see that they loved their job. Everyone especially Christy was eager to ensure that we were having a great time. We rented a pontoon boat for the week and enjoyed Birch Lake daily; we also hired a fishing guide for our first day to orient my husband and father to fishing Birch Lake. Towards the end of our stay we utilized the outfitter service and rented a canoe for two days to explore the boundary waters. The staff provided fishing advice and loaded everything including the canoe onto our vehicle. When we returned we were met at the door and our gear was unloaded for us and everyone was eager to hear about our experience.
We did not experience any concerns with our stay in fact any time we needed assistance our needs were addressed and taken care of immediately. In fact, I accidently broke a bowl while making dessert for my family and when I advised Steve at the time of check out I was expecting to be billed to replace the bowl. His only response was a smile and a thank you for letting him know, he mentioned he would advise the housekeepers so that it would be replaced for the next guests. He was actually more concerned that my blueberry crisp had not been ruined rather than being worried about the bowl.
I could go on and on about the wonderful time we had. It is obvious that River Point prides itself in detail and providing an atmosphere for guests to relax and experience nature. From the planned children’s activities to the various other things that the staff did to make our stay pleasant my only complaint was a week was simply not long enough! As we were preparing to leave I just had to take one last walk around the resort in one last attempt to seal every precious memory our family made this past week in my heart. I am not quick to make recommendations but in this case if you and your family are looking for a quiet place to reconnect with your loved ones, to rejuvenate your soul, and to be surrounded by the sheer beauty of nature, River Point may be the right place for you. Our family is already day dreaming about our next visit!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Tanya T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quietriver, Owner at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co., responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2011

Most gracious and heartfelt thanks for your positively kind and sincere review of River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. on Birch Lake. All on staff work diligently to assist and be helpful to both our first-time visitors and those guests who have vacationed at River Point for many consecutive years. And, they truly appreciated your compliments! The gorgeous lake views, the spotless cabin, the fun trampoline, the flowers and trails, the complimentary paddle boats and kayaks, the attentive help from the outfitting staff for your day canoeing excursions, along with a great boat and motor fishing guide, are, as you say, the reasons you simply wanted to spend all your time at the resort, and not venture off into downtown Ely. That is a gracious and endearing compliment. Thank you! We are so appreciative that you and your family will be returning for another visit in the near future, and, as you indicated...maybe next time it will be for longer than a week! We all hope that you continue to enjoy the precious memories of the beauty of nature and the rejuvenation of your soul that you discovered at River Point until your family is back here again to create more wilderness memories.

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Reviewed August 19, 2011

My family and I purchased the "Comfort Plus" package for 3 days and 2 nights for 5 adults and one 6 year-old child. We bookended the outfitting package with a night in the Evergreen Chalet at the beginning and end of our trip. The area is beautiful, and the Koschak family and their employees completely ruined our experience.

After we were all set up with our gear, we headed out and made camp on Lake Four. Upon unpacking the bags they provided to us, we discovered that the collapsible water jug leaked, and was broken beyond repair. Upon our return, we complained about this. Jane Koschak's response was "well, that's why we give you duct tape. You made do, didn't you? You adapted."

On their website, they promise that you will receive Nalgene bottles and a hammock when you purchase the Comfort Plus package. We received no Nalgene bottles (as you can imagine, coupled with the leaky water jug, it was quite hard to store water during the duration of our trip) and the hammock was nowhere to be found. When we asked why we weren't given Nalgene bottles, one of their employees lied (I believe it was one of their sons, Kevin) and said he had asked us if we wanted Nalgene bottles, but we refused! Well, it's bad enough that the employee was guilty of a major oversight. But to compound the error with lying...that is unacceptable. I swear up and down, may God strike me dead, we were never asked if we wanted water bottles. Why would we even be asked? If they say they give it to you as part of the package, in any case?

We had another incident when we were picked up at Lake One by another employee (Sam). Sam immediately came up to us and started unloading our gear and unsnapping the thwart bags and Crazy Creek chairs from our canoes. He placed one Crazy Creek chair, a thwart bag, and the map case on a rock out of our sight and so it was not loaded into the van when we returned to the resort. When we pointed out that one of their employees had neglected to load everything into the van, we were told that all of the equipment is our responsibility, even if one of their employees breaks the chain of custody and handles the equipment. My husband had to drive back to Lake One (45 minutes each way) because they just shrugged and looked at us, saying "well, you better get back there as soon as possible, huh?" Look, I can pack a thwart bag (which, incidentially, contained my new Sony camera), Crazy Creek chair, and map case into a van. But don't put it on top of a rock out of my sight.

We also discovered that some of the food they packed for us had already been used. We requested vegetarian meals, and discovered that the cheese spread had already been used and had bacon bits in it. These are things that you discover only when you are already out in the wilderness, unless you literally check everything they pack.

Also, when you check in, for some reason they don't give you the air conditioning remote. You have to ask for it, even though the air conditioner doesn't turn on without the remote. When we asked why no one gave us the remote along with our keys to the Evergreen Chalet, Jane said "well, you didn't need it last night anyway." This woman had a comeback for everything, and most of the time, it was "well, things worked out. So?"

All of the employees here make you feel like a nuisance, even if you say "thank you" for something. Their son James was completely rude to us when we were checking out. When we offered a few suggestions for future visitors (Lord knows we won't be coming back, but we don't want anyone to get stuck out in the wilderness with no way of storing water), he started snickering at us and telling us that we needed to "take some responsibility and check the gear before we left". Um, are we supposed to fill the collapsible water jug with water to check for holes? I thought that was their job! Is it too much to assume that they will pack what was advertised, and that their gear will work? Apparently.

Stay at this resort or have them outfit you at your peril. I don't know if it's incompetence or a complete lack of care, but this company underwhelmed us at every turn.

Room Tip: don't stay here
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank S W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quietriver, Owner at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co., responded to this reviewResponded March 11, 2012

Thank you for taking the time to provide additional feedback regarding your 3-day canoe trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness with River Point Outfitting Co. on Ely, Minnesota. A BWCA canoe trip is surely a sojourn in the wilderness. River Point knows this after outfitting hundreds of groups for over 30+ years and seeing how some groups mesh together for the ultimate fantastic trip, and how other groups sometimes fall a bit short. A canoe trip into the BWCA is, at the same time, exciting, peaceful, awe-inspiring, physically hard work necessitating good teamwork, and is sometimes mentally challenging. It is full of the sights and sounds of nature and is most memorable due to its ability to make one do a bit of soul-searching in the midst of the natural world, away from all the gadgets and trappings, and easy-fixes people are accustomed to, often more so for people who live in bigger cities away from numerous opportunities to engage in more abundant nature type activities.

All of this becomes more exacerbated when on a group trip with several people, (often from different families) who have a goal of an adventurous fun time in the Great Outdoors on a canoe trip, but who have never done anything together before, and who must work together as a team, often with limited skills and/or wilderness aptitude, and most importantly with no real Party Leader within the group who can command the group’s attentiveness. Vastly important is the Trip Routing & Orientation Session held at River Point’s headquarters prior to the canoe trip with an experienced staff person, (who was not a son of the owner of RPO as assumed by the reviewer) whose goal during the session is to pass on a myriad of information.

With a group of 5 adults and 1 six year old child making up this reviewer’s novice group, the ability to be attentive listeners while tending to a very active youngster was challenging. Vital educational points on how to utilize some of the equipment were not heard or were misunderstood due to various interruptions from side conversation by some of the adults, or the necessity to rein in a wandering child. Preparedness for the trip was marginalized, due to lack of focus on the education being offered by the staff person. Furthermore, it was difficult for the group to concentrate so that inspection of the equipment and food choices was to their liking and to make any needed adjustments, as is the norm during a typical session. The group leader had difficulty getting the group to reach consensus as to the exit transport pick up time and other pertinent decisions. Possibly, a precursor to other issues that would occur on the trail.

When out in the wilderness, things can happen that require fixing or an adjustment…and that is not unusual. A collapsible Coghlan’s 8 liter high strength polyethylene expandable water carrier was inspected and found to be in good working condition prior to being packed. During the trip, a hole appeared in the carrier. This could have occurred by scrapping the container against a sharp rock surface while drawing water or someone inadvertently could have sat upon it, resulting in a hole. A repairable product, such as duct tape, was provided for just this type of need. With a little creativity, the group turned the container upside down so that the water could pour freely from the nozzle portion as the duct tape secured the hole on the other end. Thus, they solved this issue, contrary to the reviewer’s comment. I praised them for using their ingenuity to solve this problem when it was described to me at the trip’s conclusion. And, when queried as to how other equipment performed out in the wilderness, such as the tents, sleep bags, sleep pads, pillows, canoe/camp chairs, packsacks, etc, all party members said that they were just great.

At the transport van pick up location in the wilderness at trip’s end, it is the Party Leader’s responsibility to make certain that all equipment and gear, that he/she is responsible for, is at the landing and ready to be placed into the van for transport so that it is returned to the outfitting headquarters, as indicated on the registration papers and discussion of such guidelines that occurred prior to the trip start. This is normal procedure on all trips. Party members assist the Party Leader to make certain that all rental items and personal belongings are secured in the van. Obviously, the staff driver graciously does the heavy work of loading and strapping on the canoes to the van, making certain that they are secure for the transport. He also assists with loading packs, but cannot be responsible for gathering all personal belongings or items rented to a party of six persons. A team effort has to occur with the Party Leader being in charge. In this case, the Party Leader did not check, and items were left behind at the landing, and a trip back to the landing had been made by the renters. Not only were some RPO rental items left at the landing, but also a personal camera that was placed by a member of the group into the rental thwart bag had inadvertently been left on a rock. Yes, a trip back to the landing had to be made, but all forgotten items, including the personal camera, were at the landing exactly where the party members had left them. Inconvenient…yes…but solvable.

Regarding the A/C remote control in the Evergreen Chalet. The weather was very nice and cool and perfect for sleeping without the need for air conditioning. No other Chalet guest put on their A/C during this time. A remote control is simply a convenience. The A/C can be manually turned on by the guest at any time simply by lifting the cover of the A/C unit and switching the button to the “on” position.

The staff at RPR works very hard to educate, train and prepare people for wilderness travel. Upon reading the reviewer’s comment (who was not the Party Leader), several staff persons who had personally interacted with this group felt offended and sad, especially since they had tried so very hard to be friendly, caring, courteous, and helpful. However, the consensus was that they all did their best to prepare the group for their adventure.

We, at River Point, care about all of our guests and their feedback, whether there may be errors on some points brought up, or not, we are thankful for the comments. Following discussions attempting to gain resolutions to an issue, we strive to leave our guests in a positive spirit. As a good will gesture, a monetary refund was offered, as was breakfast at a local restaurant, which the group did not desire. Apologizing several times over for any discontent experienced, I extended my hand in a handshake which was pleasantly returned by both the Party Leader and the reviewer’s husband. However, the reviewer, unable to amicably reach a positive resolution, refused the handshake, instead turned her back to me, and left the Office. I am hopeful, that she has come to terms with her discontent, and looks back at her canoe trip adventure as a personal growth experience. Should she try this again, maybe next time she will truly find a satisfying sojourn in the wilderness.

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Reviewed August 1, 2011

Husband and I attempted to go there for our honeymoon! Owners were absolutely rude! We had a situation with the cabin that was an accident and they were awful about it. Held us hostage until we paid ...we left after one day and they wouldn't give us any money back! Not family friendly people! Would never recommend river point to anyone! Stay far away! Honeymoons are supposed to be a week to remember with good memories! They left me crying! I will never get any good memories of a honeymoon! They robbed us of that!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank akuehn08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quietriver, Owner at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co., responded to this reviewResponded August 12, 2011

Records for the September, 2010 timeframe indicated by this reviewer do not show any accident/incident at River Point Resort. However, dates indicated may not be the actual dates of the stay. Sometimes when a guest has an accident, they do not wish to assume responsibility for such. As an Innkeeper in the state of Minnesota and as resort property owners we have the right to protect our facility, and assess charges for damages caused, per Minnesota statute: 327.731 Liability Notice. Subdivision 1.Liability.
“A person who negligently or intentionally causes damage to the hotel or any furniture or furnishings within the hotel, is liable for damages sustained by the innkeeper, including the hotel's loss of revenue resulting from the inability to rent or lease rooms while the damage is being repaired.”
River Point wishes nothing but the best for our guests and their vacation and strives toward that goal with all guests. However, when unfortunate accidents arise due to the negligence of guests, resulting in damages, whether on a honeymoon vacation, a fishing trip, or family getaway, one must still be willing to accept financial responsibility for the accident and the associated cost of the damage and/or clean up cost, much like one would if it were their own place of residence.

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Reviewed July 17, 2011

First time vacationers to River Point Resort. You will notice immediately that the owners operate the resort with immense pride. During our week alone we noticed continual improvements being made to the property- staining, brush removal, carpentry work, and constant cleaning. It is incredibly well maintained. There is a staff of college students that are hard working and very friendly. They bring a vitality to the place that we enjoyed a lot, especially when you bring kids. The staff will help you with most anything...even to provide fishing tips.

Our cabin "The Point", was very small, but it suited a family of four just fine, and the setting on the peninsula is beautiful. The cabins were far enough apart to provide privacy, but close enough to access the lodge, boat, car, etc. The lay-out is very nice.

The location on Birch lake is as advertised, but don't expect to jump into a canoe and reach the boundry waters. The lake is long and the boundry waters start several miles away. We rented a small boat/motor from the resort, which was a great investment for fishing especially, but also to sightsee.

Be aware that there are many extras to spend on at the resort- guided fishing, boat rental, guided canoe trip to boundry waters, float plane ride, etc. We only did the guided canoe trip, and it was well worth it. The setting was stunning and the guide was excellent.

I can't explain some of the negative reviews of this resort. I consider myself pretty particular, and it perfectly met my family's expectations.

Room Tip: The Point is small cabin, sleeps 4, but with a beautiful view. Highly recommend for two adults and...
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Triguy86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quietriver, Owner at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co., responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2011

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind words about your family vacation at River Point Resort. We are so happy that the beautiful and private lakefront setting of the “The Point” cabin fit your family perfectly. Thank you again! Everyone on staff enjoyed getting to know you, and your wife, and your two children. Sharing the day on your guided canoe trip into Hegman Lake in the amazing wilderness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with the other family of four was a super adventure for all of you, and the guide loved it, too! Those new-found canoeing muscles, that were a bit sore the next day, were surely worth the experience! Looking forward to your return visit!

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Additional Information about River Point Resort & Outfitting Co.

Address: 12007 River Point Road, PO Box 397, Ely, MN 55731
Location: United States > Minnesota > Ely
Amenities:
Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 34 Specialty Lodging in Ely
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. is located on a magnificent private peninsula on the South Kawishwi River and Birch Lake with direct paddle access to the famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area for canoe trip adventures. Two hours from Duluth, MN and 10 minutes from the quaint town of Ely, MN makes River Point the perfect place to enjoy lodging and activities while staying at the resort, or the best location to begin a BWCA canoe trip at entry point #32. At the resort enjoy full marina service, rental boats, motors, and pontoon boats, complimentary fish cleaning, Bait and Tackle Shop, guide service, and friendly staff knowledgeable in all things fishing and more. New sauna, private Trail of Reflections hiking trail, sand beaches, free kayaks, rafts. River Point Outfitting Co. offers canoe outfitting for complete trips into the wilderness, or if you need only a canoe, we can help! Trip Routing with expert routers, maps, fishing advice, fine food, bunkhouses, and safe van transport. ... more   less 

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