BWCA- Lake One

Anyone have info on this lake and surrounding area for a first time BWCA trip? Good choice-bad? Connections to other lakes? thanks.

We canoed there several years ago

– Last Updated: Feb-21-05 10:29 PM EST –

We used Ely as a base which is a fun town. From what I remember, Lake One was approx. 15-20 minutes from town. It was very nice with some moderate portages to other lakes in the area. We just did a day trip but there were many people camping on islands in the lake. It also seemed, at the time we were there, to be a popular Boy Scouts area.

If you check other threads on this site, I think someone was offering free maps for the BWCA or Voyageurs. The non-detailed maps from one of the local outfitters lacked detail and we got lost as did others on the lake.

In summary, it was very peaceful, easy paddling, even in a lightning storm that we were caught in.

I would recommend Lake One and also some of the immediately adjoining lakes. However, we haven't paddled the BWCA extensively so we do not have a basis for comparison with many other lakes in the area.

Have a good time if you go and see the wolf museum if it's still there. Make reservations if you plan to stay at a hotel in town for part of your trip; they are very full in summer.

Lake One
"Anyone have info on this lake and surrounding area for a first time BWCA trip? Good choice-bad? Connections to other lakes? thanks."

Lake One is a very popular entry point. You will see lots of people. However, that is not all bad, especially for a first-timer. I think it is a good choice.

Recommendations depend on what you want to do on your trip and how many days you will be out.

From the entry point gp left. Going left is counter-intuitive, but that is the way you go. You’ll travel down a narrow channel to the main lake. then you’ll get to two short portages to Lake Two. This can get crowded but once you’re past them things get better.

From there you can travel through Lakes Three and Four to Hudson. After Hudson is Insula. If fishing is your thing, Insula is a good destination. For a first timer, I’d camp somewhere on Lake Three or Four for night one and make Insula on day two.

If you want more solitude, you can swing south on Lake Three and go through Horseshoe and the Wilder Lakes, or go north on Hudson through Fire and Bridge Lakes.

You’ll have a good time. Lake One is a fine choice for an entry point.


Lake One
It’s been quite a while. As with most BWCA lakes these days, go before Memorial Day if possible to beat the crowds. I know that number of permits are restricted but I have been on trips in peak season where we had to portage on (several lakes beyond) because all sites were filled on the lake we wanted to camp on. This is a popular entry point. Check out Insula Lake - lots of nice islands.

Lake one-13 year old scouts
I took a group of 13 year old scouts from the Lake 1 landing through Lake 4 into Hudson Lake. From Hudson we looped north to Fire Lake and back down to Lake 4. From Lake 4 we went back to the Lake 1 Landing. The portages were easy and every camp site was nice. From the lake 1 landing we took the South Kawishiwi river toward Gabbro, then headed up to Clear Lake and portaged to the North Kawishiwi River to a Farm Lake exit at Timber Trails. Again the Campsites were excellent and the portages were easy. Both directions give a wonderfull trip for young scouts.


This was my first trip to the Boundary Waters.We stayed two weeks and it is great. Not too bad portaging…Lots of big Blow Down to see!.

Here I learned what NOT to take. A fun and mellow trip and many other folks about.

You will love it!.Take a camers and be cautious of bears

Mermaid Selma

Blow down?
Where were you in the Lakes chain that you saw blowdown? Or was it when you got closer to the Snowbank area?

Blow Down
The only blow down I remember from that area was on one of the portages in the North Wilder Area southwest of Hudson. Still, it wasn’t too bad, and the portage was all cleared. That was in 2000.