The BWCAW contains over a thousand lakes and attracts visitors with its reputation for canoeing, canoe touring, fishing, backpacking, dog sledding, and remote wilderness character. The BWCAW has nearly 2,200 backcountry campsites. Although there are numerous drive-in campgrounds surrounding the wilderness, most campsites in the BWCAW are accessible only by water. As of 1999, about 75% of the BWCAW's water area was reserved for non-motorized boat travel. Most lakes and rivers are interconnected by portage trails, resulting in over 1,000 miles of canoe routes. Chains of lakes and portages of various lengths and difficulties can be combined to create either linear or circular routes. Canoe campers often use Duluth packs, designed for easy portaging and loading in canoes, to carry their gear.
Fishing is also popular with game species including northern pike, walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, whitefish, and lake trout, among others. A small number of lakes are stocked with brook trout as well.
If you would like to get out of your canoe and stretch your legs there are a number of short trails to Eagle Mountain, Magnetic Rock, and Angleworm Lake. The Boundary Waters has several long-distance trails as well. The Border Route Trail runs east-west for over 60 miles through the eastern BWCAW, following the ridges between the long border lakes such as Loon, South, and Rose. The Kekekabic Trail traverses the Boundary Waters from the Gunflint Trail on the east to Snowbank Lake on the west and is the only footpath through the center of the wilderness. Both the Border Route and the Kekekabic Trail are unofficially part of the longer North Country National Scenic Trail. There are also three longer loop trails in the Boundary Waters: the Pow Wow Trail, the Snowbank Trail, and the Sioux-Hustler Trail.
The two main communities with visitor services near the BWCAW are Ely and Grand Marais, Minnesota. The smaller town of Tofte is another gateway community. Several historic roads, such as the Gunflint Trail, the Echo Trail, and Fernberg Road allow access to the many wilderness entry points.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area offers guided tours, canoe outfitting, basecamp lodging, full service campgrounds, resort and cabin lodging, guided fishing, and hiking.
For more detailed information on this area visit http://www.bwca.cc/