Little Vermillion Lake
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- #12 - Little Vermillion Lake
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
Looking for an easy trip with no portaging? Don’t mind an occasional motorboat? Looking for some great fishing? Then this route is for you.
Detailed Route Info
Your journey starts outside of the Boundary Waters on Crane Lake, which is a gateway into both Voyageurs National Park and the western BWCA. You will enter the BWCAW while passing through the Little Vermillion Narrows, after which you cross into Little Vermillion Lake.
You won’t have much trouble making it into Little Vermillion in just a few hours, so if you want a greater challenge consider continuing down the Loon River and into Loon Lake.
*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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An underrated entry, some boat traffic to contend with
My 7-day canoe trip into BWCA started and ended at the S. end of Crane Lake. As of late August, the lake was pretty well mobbed with power boats of all sizes – rowboats with 10 hp outboards to houseboats, even a number of float planes. Some boats slowed down and gave generous right of way, some did not. The boat traffic reduced exponentially as we (my 14-year-old son and I) entered the channel to Little Vermillion. We ended spending 2 nights on LV – on the way in and on the way out. The campsites were excellent – Elevated, some level ground, good views, even sand landings. Maybe 10 boats on the lake at any time and they seemed to be pretty respectful of small craft. The lake is beautiful, and we saw and heard as many loons on it as we did anywhere in the BWCA. My greatest annoyance and disappointment, both here and on waters upstream were the shuttle boats (primarily those operated by Andersons): They always operated at full throttle, never slowed down and gave little heed to us as canoeists. Ironically, the service that is bringing in canoeists to experience the more remote, quiet and boat-free areas are the ones that degrade the wilderness experience (less quiet, more boat traffic) for those who want to canoe in. I was considering using a shuttle for a future trip but seeing how they operate I would never think of using them. We had an encounter on Loon River not far below loon falls where an Anderson Shuttle boat came around a very tight bend at full throttle (the river is only about 40 feet wide), then quickly dropped to an idle when they saw us only about 100 yards away. I would call what I saw as “reckless”. I think the Crane Lake entry is perhaps underrated as it takes you along the historic travel/trade passage along the boundary and features a variety of lakes, rivers and channels. Crane lake was very busy but the other areas, up through LaCroix, are quite enjoyable except for the shuttle service boats.
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