Loop East Through
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- #1 Trout Lake
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This route is geared to the seasoned traveler who is fit and travels light. It requires that you cross long stretches of open water on Lake Vermillion and Trout Lake, and then adds in a number of difficult portages. Your hard work will be rewarded with unmatched variety: huge lakes, but also a winding river; a portage wide enough for cars, but also overgrown, muddy, long ones; and the bustle of motorboats on Vermillion, but also tremendous isolation when you venture into the remote interior. The recommended return route is a northern course through the Little Indian Sioux River, but an equally nice return can be made along a southern path through Lunetta, Schlamm, and Glenmore Lakes (see dotted line on route). You will want at least five days to enjoy and explore the many great lakes along the way.
Detailed Route Info
After paddling into Trout from Lake Vermillion, either spend a night on one of the many campsites on Trout or continue immediately up the eastern shore until you reach the mouth of Pine Creek Paddle up Pine Creek to the long portage over to Chad Lake. Only diehards cross this 240-rod portage that leads to a truly challenging wilderness experience. Few visitors means the portages will get a bit tougher, and seem more rugged.
Case and point: the 250-rod portage over to Buck Lake, and the 470-rod portage from Buck to Cummings Lake. Hilly, muddy and just plain hard. But your reward will be when you reach Cummings Lake, which has over a dozen campsites, great fishing, and fantastic scenery. You should spend at least a day on Cummings to regain the energy you need to return to Trout Lake. Head out through the west end of Cummings Lake by crossing the easy 5-rod portage into Otter Lake and head down the Little Indian Sioux River. You will only be covering about six miles before reaching the long, 376-rod portage into Little Trout Lake, but due to the amount of portages, plan for at least six hours to complete this journey. Head south out of Little Trout Lake through the creek into Trout Lake, and then paddle to the same portage into Lake Vermillion that you took earlier in the trip. This last segment is best taken early in the morning when the chances of strong winds and waves are the lowest.
*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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