BWCA Entry

Planning a trip to the BWCA this summer and trying to decide on an entry point. I’m wondering if anyone can give me feedback on entry point #12 (West side). Is there a lot of portaging involved in getting from Crane Lake to Lac La Croix. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Also, if anyone could offer any advice about passing through customs and paddling into Canada, that would be great. I’m also considering going in through Saganaga (55) and into Quetico.

Quetico Entry
Expect a lot of motorized traffic at close quarters from Crane along the Loon River to Loon. The narrows at Crane is a potentially dangerous place with power boats whipping around a blind corner in a narrow channel - stay tight to shore through this area. Also Crane Lake is a beehive of float plane activity. Consider the shuttle to avoid these potentially negative experiences. Get an early start to paddle in calmer conditions if you enter on Sag. You should also consider a Beaverhouse entry. You don’t need the remote border crossing permit for that entry point and there are good options for routes.

Crane to LLC
Watch out in the narrows! And don’t try to portage on the snowmobile trails, they end in a swamp.

Along the border, there are motorized portages all the way from Crane to LLC. So, if you’re feeling lazy, there you go. Otherwise, along the border, the portages aren’t too bad.

Motorized portages
Could you explain what you mean by “motorized portages?”

Loon River portages
The two Loon River portages are simple rail systems. There is a cart that runs on rails, pulled up the hill and lowered back they other side by cable. The engine sits at the highest place on the portage. The cart has either a carpeted surface or cross pieces. It is lowered into the water and boats are floated into place and tied off on the cart and floated off at the other end. All your packs can stay in the canoe. There is a fee for the service and sometimes quite a wait for your turn. You don’t have to use the rail service and can carry your stuff over the traditional portage.

truck portage
Our first time up we took a truck portage into basswood for a few days around 89, not sure if any of the bwca ones are operational anymore. There is one in use on the Dawson portage to get to LLC, but I think it’s in Canada. Those tow boats on the loon river give off a pretty good wake, would be interesting paddling that way.

Western Lac La Croix Entry
I have been towed/truck portaged into Lac La Croix from Crane Lake to avoid paddling with kids on the loon river (fast tow boats). See attached trip report.


– Last Updated: Mar-13-07 10:41 AM EST –

I'll have to agree with everyone hear that Crane -> Loon Lake is not the quietest place for a canoe.

I've actually traveled this route several times by motor boat.

1. Crane lake is the sea plane capital of the world (ok maybe a slight exaggeration).

2. From Crane to Loon lake is very narrow and you have motor boats testing their skill zooming by you at 50 miles per hour.

3. The portage from the narrows to Loon lake is a rail cart with carpet. A guy lives at that location and mans the portage cart. You can just portage yourself and skip the fee it's only a about 60 rods (guestimate).

4. Loon Lake is relatively quiet and usually pretty good walleye fishing.