Start Planning your 2024 BWCA Trip Now!

Recreation

Is it time to start planning next summer’s canoe trip to the Boundary Waters?

Reservations for Boundary Waters permits open on January 31, and if you want to get into the entry point on the day you want, the answer is yes!

Start planning now!

There may be a few feet of ice on the lakes and your paddles might be hidden behind the snowblower, but now is the time to start chewing over the details of your next trip.

Whether it’s been five months or five years since you’ve been in the Boundary Waters, we’ve got the resources you need to select an entry point, plan a route, brush up on your skills and decide what gear you need to pack.

Portaging into a Boundary Waters Entry Point
Photo: Aaron Blackschmidt

BWCA Permits and Entry Points

Our detailed and easy-to-follow guide will walk you through every step you need to take in order to make your Boundary Waters dreams a reality.

Learn more about what routes start at certain entry points, when and where to reserve a permit and much more.

Map of the Boundary Waters

BWCA Route Library

There are over 1200 lakes in the Boundary Waters and while part of the joy of planning a canoe trip is to string these lakes together, it can be hard to decide where to go.

Get inspired with our searchable Boundary Waters route library.

With maps and detailed descriptions for over 50 routes ranging from two to seven days, this is the perfect place to launch your next canoe or hiking trip into the BWCA.

Step by step planning guide to the BWCA

Picking a canoe route in the Boundary Waters

Planning a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters isn’t like planning a trip to Disney World, or any other so-called “normal” vacations.

Where do you start? What do you have to do?

We break it all down by the months and weeks leading up to a canoe trip: when you should decide on a route, a crew, a menu, when to start packing and so forth. Chock-full of practical, nuts-and-bolts advice, this guide takes the guesswork out of planning.

Guide to the Quetico

Canoeing in the Boundary Waters at sunset

The Quetico-Superior ecosystem expands beyond national boundaries and encompasses both the Boundary Waters in the United States and the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Exploring the Quetico is a natural and logical way to deepen and expand your appreciation of the BWCA.

Because you need to cross an international border and abide by different regulations, there are a few extra hoops to jump through. From checking off the paperwork to travel tips, we have everything you need to get ready to explore the Boundary Water’s more rugged and less-visited neighbor.

Instructional Videos for the BWCA

Boundary Waters movie

We worked with a talented team of videographers and wilderness experts to create a series of visually stunning videos that together, are a masterclass in how to travel through the Boundary Waters in a canoe.

From essential skills such as how to navigate to what you can expect on a BWCA trip, these videos will get you ready to experience — and embrace — the beauty and the majesty contained in this great, northern land.

Boundary Waters Planning Resources

Canoe trip in the Boundary Waters, Minnesota
Photo: Mark Hennessey

Wondering what kind of meals you’ll pack on your next canoe trip? Questions about fishing, about knots, about hygiene? Should you be more scared of bears or lightning?

We have answers to all these questions and more. Take some time to explore our resources, and if you didn’t find information about what you’re looking for, send us an email and we’ll help you get it sorted out!

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