Loop through Parent and Disappointment Lakes
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This enjoyable loop starts with a long crossing of big open water, which typically is best made in the early morning before winds pick up. If you arrive at Snowbank and find the weather uncooperative, consider reversing the route and head along the protected southern shore to Parent Lake. Every lake on this route calls you to explore it and to stay longer than you can!
Detailed Route Info
Your journey starts on Snowbank Lake, which makes a fine place to spend a first night, particularly if you are arriving late in the day. Snowbank is huge, so be prepared for potentially large waves and don’t forget to wear your life jacket.
Portage over two modest portages divided by a small pond to Boot Lake, which is a fine place to spend the night if one of its two campsites are available. Boot’s close proximity to Snowbank makes these campsites quite popular, so give yourself time to press on if necessary.
The easy 4-rod pullover to Haven Lake leads to a difficult 74-rod portage that climbs uphill, partially over exposed rock, then drops down to Abinodji Lake.
When leaving Abinodji take the 50 rod portage over to Swing Lake, which is a flat and easy carry. Continue across Swing Lake until you reach the 40-portage leading to Gibson Lake, which you will paddle to the southeast corner, where you take an interesting 26 rod portage up the north side of a creek and waterfall to Cattyman Lake. The portage is nearly entirely uphill with extensive exposed metamorphic rock formations.
Continue down to the southern tip of Cattyman, where you will embark on a series of short portages through Adventure, Jitterbug, and finally a 20-rod portage over to Ahsub Lake. Ahsub Lake is a designated trout fishing lake and contains two campsites. Remember: It is illegal to fish outside of trout season or without a trout stamp, even if you are fishing for other species. Live minnows are also unlawful to possess or use on Ahsub.
The 25 rod portage over to Disappointment Lake is up and over a small hill, and you will cross the Old Pines Hiking Trail along the way.
A relatively easy 80-rod portage connects over to Parent Lake then another 80-rod portage from Parent to Snowbank. This trail is mostly downhill and somewhat rocky. If you would rather skip Parent Lake, you can head directly from Disappointment to Snowbank along a 140-rod portage that is more heavily traveled than either of the 80-rod portages.
*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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