GPS Units on the Rise?

Garmin Satellite Phone
In recent years there has been an ever increasing number of Global Positioning System (GPS) units being used in the Boundary Waters. The usage varies widely as you can well imagine. The majority of the Boundary Waters paddlers that carry a GPS will use them sparingly, for fun and as a supplemental navigational device. There is however an increasingly larger number of paddlers each year that rely solely on their GPS for their navigation. By plugging in way points of campsites and portages before their trips, it allows them to navigate by paddling directly to that point indicated on their GPS screen. The accuracy of these units is quite impressive, and with the growth of their popularity, we’ve decided to get in tune with the times and provide some information on certain way points in our area that might be of interest to you GPS enthusiasts.

The debate over whether or not that GPS navigation in the Boundary Waters is “cheating” has been a topic of conversation over the past few years. If you go into any Boundary Waters discussion boards you’ll be hard pressed to not find a thread that is focusing on this topic. Sure the Boundary Waters purists will argue that the BWCAW/Quetico is supposed to be all natural, and that technology of any sort would undermine the entire essence of what the Boundary Waters represents and means. But with the Kevlar canoe/ultra light equipment generation of paddlers visiting the canoe country more and more each year, we will undoubtedly hear less and less of this point being made. And consequently, the use of GPS units will increase and before long they will be used in the majority of canoes in the land of loons. We might as well join the craze. We realize that the times are changing, or in some cases, have changed. And we hope that those of you using GPS units will find this information helpful.

Quetico Park and BWCA GPS Waypoints





  Hook Island 1450 ft N 48º13.48′ W090º57.78′
  Seagull Palisades 1538 ft N 48º08.498′ W090º55.297′
  Sag Tow Landing N 48º09.92′ W090º52.97′
  Seagull-Alpine Portage N 48º07.66′ W090º58.52′
  Seagull-Rog Portage N 48º06.94′ W090º58.67′
  3 Mile Island Tow Drop Off N 48º07.36′ W090º55.99′
  Seagull Outfitters 1486 ft N 48º09.58′ W090º52.10′
  Sag Cabin Dock 1432 ft N 48º10.253′ W090º53.107′
  Sag Falls Tow Drop Off Point N 48º13.75′ W090º50.43′
  American Point Tow Drop Off Point N 48º13.14′ W090º57.74′
  Red Rock Tow Drop Off Point N 48º10.25′ W090º58.35′
  Red Rock-Alpine Portage N 48º08.86′ W090º59.30′
  Alpine-Red Rock Portage N 48º08.77′ W090º59.40
  Seagull Palisades Path N 48º08.50′ W090º55.34
  Silver Falls Portage (Cache Bay Side) N 48º13.90′ W090º03.34′
  Entry to Silver Falls Bay N 48º13.82′ W091º01.73′
  Cache Bay Pictographs N 48º12.74′ W091º02.80′
  Cache Bay Ranger Station N 48º12.71′ W091º00.69′
  Alpine-Jasper N 48º07.04′ W091º00.01′
  Jasper-Alpine N 48º06.59′ W091º00.02′
  Jasper-Kingfisher N 48º06.59′ W091º01.27′
  Kingfisher-Jasper N 48º06.59′ W091º01.33′
  Ogishkemuncie-Kingfisher N 48º06.54′ W091º02.13′
  Ogishkemuncie-Annie N 48º04.60′ W091º05.32′
  Jenny-Eddie N 48º05.27′ W091º06.25′
  Knife-Eddy N 48º05.51′ W091º07.18′
  Kinife-Hanson N 48º07.27′ W091º05.26′
  Hanson-Knife N 48º07.44′ W091º05.27′
  Hanson-Ester N 48º09.02′ W091º04.22′
  Ester-Ottertrack N 48º10.36′ W091º03.44′
  Ottertrack-Ester N 48º10.45′ W091º03.52′
  Ottertrack-Swamp N 48º11.17′ W091º03.09′
  Saganaga-Swamp N 48º11.23′ W091º02.06′

If any of you have points plugged in to your GPS units that you would like to send us so we can add them to the list, please feel free. The more information that people can gather will be for the better. Many of you use your GPS units quite often and some of this information may be of interest to you. And please, if you have anything you feel needs to be added here, let us know.

For those of you looking for more information, provides detailed maps of the boundary waters where you can point and click your cursor right to a portage or campsite and get the exact latitude and longitude. Check it out if you’re interested.