Agnes, Iron, Stuart Loop
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This challenging loop out of Nina Moose gives the adventure-hungry traveler a little bit of everything: rivers, big lakes, downstream and upstream travel and areas that epitomize the splendor of the Northwoods.
Detailed Route Info
Nina Moose Lake is a great place to stop on your first night on trail, though many of its sites are quite popular and may be taken. Make your way to Agnes Lake then towards Boulder Bay on Lac La Croix. Paddle through Boulder Bay and east toward Bottle Lake and the Bottle Portage, which crosses through Canada to avoid a set of fierce rapids. Although the Bottle Portage is in Canada, you are entitled to use it under the Webster-Ashburton treaty of 1842, which allowed all portages along the border from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods to be freely used by U.S. and Canadian citizens.
The alternative to the Bottle Portage is a long 321 portage on the U.S. side, which generally has a better trail but also has a couple of muddy/ marshy sections. Most people appear to take the shorter Bottle Portage.
Once you leave Iron Lake you will be paddling through the Stuart Lake area, which is much less visited than the country you just traveled through. You will paddle and portage from by way of three small lakes: Dark, Rush, and Fox. Each of these three lakes is relatively shallow and has one campsite (Rush is the best one for camping and fishing).
From Stuart Lake, three portages on the Dahlgren River (each one over 100 rods) will bring you into Lake Agnes. From here, you return to your starting point by the same route you arrived.
*Route information provided courtesy of Dan Pauly, and have been modified from his book, Exploring the Boundary Waters: A Trip Planner and Guide to the BWCAW. University of Minnesota Press, 2004
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