Rose Lake Round Trip
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This route takes you along a little piece of the historic Voyageurs’ Highway where you’ll see a few interesting artifacts of the earlier days of the fur trade, and some of the best scenery in the Boundary Waters.
Detailed Route Info
The first segment of this journey sends you east through long, deep Gunflint Lake, where you may very well encounter large, rolling waves. Because of this, it’s best to get started early in the morning because this is usually the calmest part of the day. Continue east to a shallow channel that leads to Little Gunflint Lake.
This portage into North Lake can usually be avoided by pulling your canoe upstream along a channel between the lakes. North Lake is gorgeous, with high hills, but because it is entirely outside of the BWCAW, motorboats are allowed.
Head east to the 80-rod Height of Land Portage to South Lake, where you will officially enter the BWCAW. Rain falling on the west side of the portage eventually flows to Hudson’s Bay, while rain falling on east side eventually flows to the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of the most significant historic sites in the border country, as countless Voyageurs, and Native Americans, traveled across this very portage.
Paddle and portage 6 miles from South Lake to Rose Lake, including portages of 65 rods (L3) from South Lake to Rat Lake, and 4 rods (L1) from Rat Lake to Rose Lake. Press on from South Lake when you’re ready for more travel and exploration.
The 65-rod portage leading to Rat Lake is quite level, and an easy carry. From here, you’ll make a quick carry over to Rose Lake, which is an iconic lake in the BWCAW, with towering hills and cliffs. Be sure to take a trip to the Stairway Portage leading to Duncan Lake to see a set of waterfalls tumbling down the side of this old portage trail and get a priceless view from the top. After you’ve done some exploring, turn around and return by the same way you came.
*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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