"Ely - Stepping stone for BWCA and Quetico" Top 5 Page for this destination Ely by DSwede

Ely Travel Guide: 36 reviews and 36 photos

What a pristine piece of land!! Both the Boundary Waters Park of northern Minnesota and Quetico Park of Ontario (Quetico & BWCA)

Simply wonderful!! You can go by foot in some places, but if you do, you'll have to carry your canoe/kayak on your shoulders, since this park (probably larger than Switzerland) is full of thousands of lakes, streams and waterways.

When I went here originally, the US/Canadian immigration was done in a shed on an island in the middle of the lake. In more recent times, you can pre-clear and get all your permits by mail prior to rowing out. Its on your own honor for permits and fees, but if you are found by a patrolling ranger without proper papers, it is quite a hassle.

You should take the wise advise of bringing enough food for your trip, regardless if you plan to fish or not, because sometimes the fish are not biting.

Also, I've been stuck up there in freak hail storms and thunder, so even in the middle of the summer, bring some cool weather clothes.

The mosquitoes don't like the heat of the day, nor the cool of the night. They love the sunset and dusk. Bring proper measures for them as well, but if you take a short nap to refresh from a long day, by the time you awake for dinner, they mosquitoes will have dissipated some.

Take an experienced man's advice, and weigh anchor "early". You will be able to get the majority of your day's itinerary done while the lakes are still calm without the afternoon winds, and the heat of the day will not bake you. That way you can make camp leisurely after lunch, before all the other campers have taken everything. And it will give you some afternoon hours to swim/hike/fish without the pressure to make camp in the dark.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Untouched and pristine wilderness
  • Cons:Much of the beauty is further off path. Non-hikers, handicapped or elderly can only get a small flavor.
  • In a nutshell:Spending a week long canoe trip will rejuvenate the soul.
  • Intro Updated Apr 12, 2011
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