8 Great Places to Canoe/Kayak Camp this Fall in Minnesota

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The Magic of a Winter Wilderness

By Riley Smith | January 25, 2023

The Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota are special. There’s no denying that. Every year, hundreds of thousands flock to this northern wilderness area to experience a landscape where canoes outnumber the cars and a wild landscape is, in some ways, locked in time. But every winter as the canoes are tucked away, the summer tents…

BWCA Superlatives – Setting the Facts Straight

By Riley Smith | February 16, 2023

It all goes back to a BWCA trivia contest. That’s when it sank it anyways. I consider myself a BWCA nerd, down to the root, so maybe these things are more obvious to me. In any case, an organization that should have been experts in the topic were incorrect in the answers they provided for…

Map Mondays – Week 12 – Little Indian North to Moose River North

By Riley Smith | September 26, 2023

As part of our continuing series on the “route planning game,” we are creating routes using randomly selected entry points, exit points, and number of days to create unique and fun BWCA routes. This route works through parts of the BWCAW’s far western end from the furthest west EP of the BWCA through big lakes…

An Expert’s Perspective on BWCA Forests

By Riley Smith | September 15, 2023

Lee Frelich, Director of The University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology, is one of the foremost experts on the forests of the BWCAW and the fire ecology that dictates its composition. We interviewed him to gain his invaluable insight into this incredible ecosystem, its history, and a glimpse into its future. Question 1. For…

Finding Solitude in the BWCAW

By mlarson | June 18, 2019

Though the Boundary Waters is the most visited wilderness area in the United States, it’s refreshingly empty compared to most national or state parks and seldom feels crowded. For many, the occasional encounter with another group is no big deal. But all of us dream about wilderness solitude at some point in our outdoor career:…

The Route Planning Game

By Riley Smith | June 15, 2023

“Probably the best remedy for the canoe freak is map watching. Pouring over maps can often get you through the canoeless season when nothing else can. I recommend it highly. If you coat the maps with plastic, you can even use them as tablecloths, curtains, and all sorts of things. However, no matter what you…

Is it possible to visit EVERY lake in the BWCA?

By Riley Smith | July 26, 2023

This is one of those funny questions. I don’t know if other major BWCA trip enthusiasts have had to encounter it, but I certainly have. It usually comes from someone that isn’t that familiar with the Boundary Waters who, upon hearing of your adventures and how much time you’ve spent, wonders if you’ve been to…

How to Make the Most of High Water in the BWCA: A Trip Report

By Riley Smith | June 1, 2022

Open water season is well upon us and this year has been extraordinary so far. A decent snowpack and a late melt combined for a high water spring. As a result, there have been numerous stories of capsized watercraft and perilous experiences. High water can be a challenge and a hazard that should not be…

How to Plan a BWCA Route: The Treebear Way

By Riley Smith | July 12, 2022

Amidst guiding, outfitting, and plenty of personal trips in between, I have been blessed to “cross the line” into the BWCA 88 different times. I look back at all those incredible memories and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Boundary Waters still has plenty of surprises in store and so many more…

Map Mondays – Week 4 – Bower Trout to Little Indian Sioux North

By Riley Smith | July 24, 2023

As part of our continuing series on the “route planning game,” we are creating routes using randomly selected entry points, exit points, and number of days to create unique and fun BWCA routes. This week’s randomly selected entry points set us up for a cross-BWCA trip. It’s a long, 10-night trip that covers most of…

Author Bio:

Riley Smith

Riley is the Director of Community Engagement and Public Relations for Portage North and Sundog Sport. He comes from a background in wilderness programing and environmental education with four years of BWCA outfitting and guiding before taking this role. In his free time, he can be found out canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, capturing photography, and writing.

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