Kawishiwi River Triangle
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This easy route is very well suited to first-time visitors. There are minimal portages as you travel along an area of exceptional beauty, and the natural wonder of both branches of the Kawishiwi River will provide memories for a lifetime.
Detailed Route Info
Your first day’s journey takes you from the landing on Farm Lake to the Kawishiwi River. Motorboats are allowed on Farm Lake, which is outside of the BWCAW. and has no horsepower restrictions. Paddle east across Farm and head out the northeast corner to the entrance into the Kawishiwi River, which feels more like a wide lake than a river. Only in the narrows are you likely to detect much of a current.
The first two portages are relatively easy, but the final 210-rod portage follows a trail that tends to be muddy and rocky. Only a handful of campsites are scattered along the first eight miles of travel, so it may be difficult to shorten this day’s travel if campsites are taken along the way. If you are visiting during June or July get an early start in the day so as to avoid trouble finding a nice campsite.
Continue to paddle and portage 7 miles along the South Kawishiwi River to Clear Lake, which involves a number of short portages of 15, 15, 30, and 70 rods. You will pass by many campsites along the South Kawishiwi, and this beautiful stretch of river attracts paddlers from the many entry points around it, so you’ll probably see other people.
A long portage leads you out from Clear Lake into the North Kawishiwi, after which you will travel back along the way you arrived.
If you would like to modify this route, a simple addition is to continue into Eskwagama Lake on your second day rather than going straight to Clear Lake. This route is less popular than the shortcut into Clear Lake. In the alternative, you can shoot down a spur route into Gabbro and Bald Eagle Lakes, if you would like to spend time on larger border lakes. This involves taking a 121-rod portage out of the south end of the South Kawishiwi.
*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
Like what you see?
Donate to support this valuable resource and ensure the wilderness you love stays protected from threats and stays wild for future generations.Donate Now
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.
Leave Your Review
Ready to Reserve Your Permits?
Once you have selected your route it’s time to reserve your permit to ensure your spot for the date you want.