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 highlights a route across the rugged western section of the BWCA. Check it out:
Total Mileage: 35.2 miles
Paddle Distance: 27.9 miles
Portage Distance: 7.2 miles
Target Campsite: Orinjack Lake
Description: Trout Lake is a motorized entry point with parking at a public landing on Vermillion. The first obstacle will be crossing the big waters of Vermillion Lake to one of the portages into Trout. There is a shorter portage for canoes that will save you time. Once on Trout, paddle up the western shore past the collection of islands and past the portage to Meritt. Portage into Orinjack and choose one of the four campsites. This is an intriguing option for getting off the motorized water and into a quieter lake. Undoubtedly, none of these campsites see high use throughout the year.
Things to See: Big Open Water
Target Campsite: Chad Lake
Description: Portage back into Trout Lake come morning. Hopefully, the morning is a calm one as the big, open waters of Trout can whip up in the wind. You are aiming for the mouth of Pine Creek which is just south of the channel into Little Trout. Pine Creek flows through a relatively wide valley with soft banks and has some scenic value. Take the longish portage out of the creek to reach Chad. There are two campsites there; pick the one that suits you. Perhaps try your hand at catching a few Largemouth while you are there.
Things to See: Chad Creek
Target Campsite: Cummings Lake
Description: There’s some portaging to be done this day. Portage first into Buck Lake, a skinny lake with reasonable topo surrounding it. Paddle up the lake to the main attraction of your travel itinerary: a mile-and-a-half-long portage into Cummings. This portage is long and not too often traveled. Cummings is a popular destination lake for this section of the BWCA. Find one of its many campsite to set up and enjoy.
Things to See: Small, Quiet Lakes
Miles: 0 +
Target Campsite: Cummings Lake
Description: This day is a layover and a chance to explore a fascinating section of the BWCA. There are lots of options. You could head to the Little Indian Sioux River which quickly descends into a series of cascades after its headwaters. Maybe you could head to explore parts of the “Ojibwe Numbers Chain” in and around the PMA to the north. Perhaps you could paddle over to Coxey Pond and explore and maybe step off and hike on the North Arm Ski trails. Or maybe just stay in camp, fish, and enjoy the day!
Things to See: Exploring
Target Campsite: Big Moose Lake
Description: Another daunting portage lay ahead. It’s a long walk from Cummings to Big Moose. Hopefully, you packed light! Other than the one long portage, the day is filled with fairly easy paddling. Take a campsite on Big Moose for your final evening, fish, and enjoy time in the BWCA
Things to See: Big Moose Lake
Target Campsite: Exit
Description: The exit out from Big Moose is an amusing one. The beavers have done major work to this section of the river and have made navigating a trick at points. The parking area is little more than a bump-out alongside the road, but it’s a quiet entry for sure.