Loop through Clearwater Lake
and Lake One
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This fine loop takes you from the scenic South Kawishiwi River up through a series of relatively remote lakes then heads into the ever popular Lake Two and Lake One. This is an excellent route for anyone seeking relative solitude in the busy Kawishiwi Triangle area. This route is easily modified and shortened, so you should have no problem altering your travel plans if you so desire.
Detailed Route Info
This trip starts off with a 140-rod portage from a parking lot to the magnificent South Kawishiwi River. A 121-rod portage climbs along a nice trail and places you up on Little Gabbro Lake, which has 3 campsites and easy access to more campsites in the east on Gabbro and Bald Eagle Lakes.
The portage leaving Bald Eagle Lake toward Gull Lake starts at the northern side of a small, low-lying island. You may want to spend an evening at Gull Lake, otherwise continue toward the 48-rod portage to Pietro Lake.
From the small, boggy Camdre Lake, you’ll take a 125-rod portage to Clearwater Lake, which is justly famous for having remarkably clear water.
The 240 rod portage out the north end of Clearwater Lake is the toughest along this route. It’s not well-used and can be quite rugged. After the pond, continue down a tough 62 rod portage into Rock Island Lake, where you enter a flat marshy area until you reach Lake Two, a fine place to spend an evening or two, and you can explore west into the imaginatively named Lake Three and Lake Four without portaging.
The two portages from Lake Two over to Lake One are heavily traveled canoe freeways. Two more popular portages bring you into the Kawishiwi River, where you head southwest before you take a couple of short portages into the South Kawishiwi Rive. Both the Kawishiwi and South Kawishiwi Rivers have great camping, stunning scenery and, in the peak summer months, a lot of fellow adventurers. You’ll be in familiar waters now, as you head back along the same stretch of river you began on.
*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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