Trip Length: 5-7 Days
Permit Required: Brant Lake (BWCAW) entry permit
Many visitors to the BWCA look for smaller lakes to paddle that offer better opportunity to view wildlife. We don’t blame them, we feel the same way. This route will take you through smaller lakes for the first half of the trip and then return via a series of larger lakes with fewer portages. The area south of us is a little more rugged in areas because the portages are a bit more frequent and the elevation changes from lake to lake are greater. This area also gets less travel because there are fewer permits allowed per day.
You will start the trip by getting a truck ride down the Trail about 8 miles to Round Lake. There are two entry points accessed out of Round Lake, and this route will utilize the Brant Lake entry which allows 4 parties through per day. As you set out from Round Lake, you won’t be in the actual boundary waters yet until you pass through West Round, Edith and into Brant Lake. You’ll notice the BWCA Wilderness sign as you enter the park. As you travel west, you have a number of options as to which lakes you would like to go through. French, Gillis and Peter are some favorites and you’ll find lake trout and northern pike to be the main species of fish in these waters. Some of the portages are more challenging than others in this area, but that’s why there are fewer people and that’s the entire goal, right? No matter which series of lakes you choose to traverse on your way west, you’ll want to stop at Little Saganaga Lake. This lake is a boundary waters gem with countless islands and peninsulas which provide some excellent campsites and wonderful views of the surrounding geography. Rock cliffs and outcroppings will grab your attention as you navigate your way through this lake. But there’s no hurry, stay a couple days if you wish before setting out on your journey back.
When you decide that it’s time to return back; you’ll paddle north through Rattle and into Gabimichigami Lake, or just Gabby for short. The water is all flowing north here and you’ll portage around little falls and rapids all the way back to our dock on Seagull. When you come to the portage between Agamok and Mueller lakes, you’ll be faced with a decision. You can either take the 100 rod portage or cut it into 3 separate carries and view the Kekekabic Bridge as it spans across Mueller Falls. Watch your step though on these rocky portages, but it will be well worth your time. The portage from Mueller to Ogishkemuncie, or just Ogish, is most all downhill except for the very start, so find your footings carefully.
Ogishkemuncie is one of the best fishing lakes on the end of the Gunflint Trail area. The avid fishermen in your group will be rewarded in this lake with walleye, smallmouth and northern. You can get back to our dock in a day from Ogish; so depending on your schedule, you could spend your last night here and still make it back in plenty of time on your last day. Besides, the wind will most likely be at your back as you paddle east. But if you have extra time, Jasper, Alpine and Seagull are all beautiful lakes with fantastic fishing as well. On your way through Seagull, take a northern path through the lake and paddle past the Palisades next to Miles Island. The 75′ high cliff drops straight into the water here and offers a fantastic view of the entire lake from high atop this point.
This route could be completed in 5 days relatively easy, but if you want a layover day or two, 6 or 7 days would be best to take in all that the route has to offer. This route will offer a balance of large and small lake paddling to give you a feel for what you will look for in future routes.