Southern Loop From Snowbank
- Skill Level
- Entry Point
- Portage Rods
- Longest Portage
This long route out of Snowbank Lake takes you through a rich assortment of lakes that will challenge your navigation skills and produce memories for a lifetime. A bucket list route if there ever was one!
Detailed Route Info
From Snowbank Lake, a well-maintained 140-rod portage trail leads to Disappointment Lake. From here, the first section of this route involves a lot of lake jumping and short portages until you reach the two larger lakes on the northeastern corner of the route, Ima and Thomas Lake.
From the southwest corner of Thomas, head over a 35-rod portage to Kiana Lake, where you’ll wind your way through a labyrinth of peninsulas before you come to the 185-rod portage to Lake Insula.
Lake Insula is a masterpiece of a lake, a destination that rivals any other lake in the BWCAW for sheer beauty. It has over three dozen campsites, some of which have relatively sandy beaches.
The 105-rod portage between Insula and Hudson Lake is a good kick off to a series of much shorter portages that lead to ponds, over rapids, and into Lake Four. Now you are in the “number chain” comprising Lakes One, Two, Three, and Four. These spectacular lakes have great camping, healthy fish populations, lots of islands and are just plain beautiful. The biggest drawback to these lakes are that they get so many visitors.
Portage from Lake Two to Lake One, where you exit the Wilderness about 3.5 miles from your start on Snowbank. Draw straws to see who gets to do a 5K back to the car!
*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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Been there done that.
Giving away a secret here. First off we started on lake one and ended at snowbank. One of the best, if not the best trip we’ve had. Great scenery, fishing and weather. The secret is we stashed a bike at snowbank (along with a six pack) and rode the 3 1/2 miles back to lake one. 5 stars.
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