Caribou Lake Weekend
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- # 64
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This enjoyable route is loaded with scenery. It takes you into beautiful Caribou Lake and provides an opportunity to head over to Pine Lake and visit Johnson Falls on a day trip, or to head out over to Clearwater Lake to see the palisades rising up from its south shore. The only reason this route doesn’t get an “easy” rating is because of the relatively steep hill you encounter between East Bearskin and Moon Lake.
Detailed Route Info
Paddle across East Bearskin Lake, to the 115-rod portage to Moon Lake. The portage is steep near the end, so take precaution! On the way to Caribou Lake you will take a short, 15-rod portage to Deer Lake, which is particularly scenic. On the portage over to Caribou you should be careful to head right (east) at the fork in the trail. The left fork heads 200 rods over to Clearwater Lake, which is an optional side trip.
Caribou Lake is long and narrow, with a mixed forest of early growth trees, particularly spruce, aspen, and birch, as well as cedar along the shore. Portions of the lake are more than 50 feet deep, and a nice variety of game fish inhabit the depths.
Two great day trips are possible out of Caribou to either Pine Lake and Johnson Falls or to Clearwater Lake and its palisades. To get to Pine Lake, take the 25-rod portage over to Little Caribou Lake, and then the 80 rod portage into Pine Lake. On the far western shore of Pine, near where you enter from Little Caribou, is a trail heading up to Johnson Falls. This half-mile trail is well worth the hike. The falls themselves are a 20 foot drop off a slate ledge. To return to your starting point, follow the route back to East Bearskin Lake the same way you came.
*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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