Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Ely and a lake in the BWCAW

Minnesota's pristine wilderness

In the northern region of Lake County (just east of Ely, MN), you’ll find Fall Lake Township, which encompasses a large portion of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). 

Every year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts travel to this part of northeastern Minnesota to experience its pristine wilderness and to fish, canoe, hike, and camp completely off the grid. In the BWCAW, there is no cell service, so it’s best to travel with either a guide or someone with experience.

Staying in fall lake & BWCA

Several remote resorts in Fall Lake offer lodging options from newly constructed to rustic cabins and campsites. Many resorts also offer boat, canoe and kayak rentals, as well as fishing guide services. So if you’re making a trek into the BWCA, various outfitters can ensure you’re prepared to explore the vast wilderness and likely catch your limit in fish.

If you plan to camp in the BWCAW, you must apply for a permit, which the US Forest Service limits annually. Be sure to plan ahead if you’d like to visit between May and September, as the permits are very limited during summer.

Lakes near ely in fall lake township

In addition to Fall Lake, the area features the White Iron Chain of lakes, including:

  • White Iron
  • Garden
  • Farm
  • South Farm (BWCAW)
  • and Birch Lake

Other popular lakes located within Fall Lake Township include:

  • Snowbank Lake
  • Newton Lake (BWCAW)
  • Basswood Lake (BWCAW)
  • Moose Lake (BWCAW)
  • Mudro Lake (BWCAW)
  • Jasper Lake (BWCAW)


Fun Fact: Of Lake County’s 829 lakes, 799 of them are located within the BWCAW!

outfitters in the BWCA

Basswood Trails Guide Service

Basswood Trails Guide Service can help you plan your next great Northwoods adventure! As one of the longest-running custom guide services out of Ely, Minnesota. ...
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BWCA Outfitters

Boundary Waters Outfitters

There are several diverse and dynamic canoe routes available directly from their docks that allow you to canoe, camp, fish, and explore from one to ...
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Boreal Triangle Guide Service

Boreal Triangle Guide Service in Ely, MN – a small family guide service and outfitter – is committed to helping you enjoy the beauty of ...
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cliff wold's outfitting company ely mn

Cliff Wold’s Outfitting Company

Cliff Wold’s Outfitting Co. has been serving Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Quetico Provincial Park canoe trippers since 1961. Experience and knowledge, combined ...
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duane's canoe outfitters bwcaw

Duane’s Canoe Outfitters

Duane’s Canoe Outfitters celebrates more than 50 years of providing exceptional outfitting services to Boundary Waters Canoe Areas Wilderness visitors. Duane’s philosophy is simple: they ...
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piragus outfitters ely mn

Piragis Northwoods Company

Piragis Northwoods Company, a canoe outfitter in Ely, MN, provides canoe and equipment rentals, sales, and repair services. They strive to be paddlers’ best friends ...
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spirt of the wilderness bwca guide service

Spirit of the Wilderness

Spirit of the Wilderness is a family-owned BWCA guide business that offers you the expertise and enthusiasm that comes with over 30 years of canoeing ...
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williams and hall bwca guide service

Williams & Hall BWCA Outfitters

Williams & Hall BWCA Outfitters are committed to providing you with the best Boundary Waters Canoe Trip. With more than 50 years of experience, they’re ...
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