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Canoeing on the Gunflint Trail

Welcome to the Gunflint Canoeing website, your online resource for information on Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) regulations, rules, wildlife, and suggestions for daily canoe trips and hikes from around the Flour Lake area. The Gunflint Trail is found in northern Minnesota, beginning in Grand Marais on Lake Superior, continuing through the Sawtooth Mountain range, over the Laurention Divide, and ending at Lake Saganaga. The Gunflint Trail is surrounded by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and provides an excellent beginning to your wilderness adventures. Click here for BWCA day use or camping permits information.


The Gunflint Trail is a scenic highway stretching 57 miles through beautiful wilderness. First used by trappers, loggers, and miners, the Gunflint Trail soon flourished into a scenic getaway for vacations, canoe trips, camping, swimming, hiking, fishing, birding, and relaxing. Canoe trips spurring out from various areas of the Gunflint Trail can give you a view of the unspoiled wilderness that is the BWCA.

Moose Wolf


Being a wilderness respite, the BWCA teems with the wildlife of northern Minnesota and the Gunflint Trail. The Gunflint Trail winds into the heart of a boreal forest, with a variety of animals that call this unique ecosystem home.

The Gunflint Trail and BWCA are home to the more common large wilderness mammals such as moose, wolves, deer, and bears. Though plentiful, wolves are rarely seen whereas moose and deer frequent the Gunflint Trail. The bear in northern Minnesota are black bears, which, although timid and presenting no danger, do demand respect. Proper precautions should be taken to ensure that any bear encounter, though rare, is a good one. Even though an actual sighting of these animals is rare, their tracks lend powerful proof to their continuing existence.

Smaller species of animals are more likely to be encountered while on a canoeing wilderness adventure: Eagles, song birds, loons, pine martens, beavers, red squirrels, frogs, toads, fish, and insects. The birds of the BWCA provide birdwatchers with a multitude of subjects. Early spring provides a unique opportunity to watch various waterfowl migrating north to breeding grounds as well as various types of warblers and finches that nest in the Boundary Waters. The summer presents its bird residents in grand style with eagles, osprey, loons, white – throated sparrows, Canadian jays, and numerous other species.

Since we are the visitors into the Boundary Waters, a wilderness that is the wildlife’s home, we must respect the species of the area and not disturb them. Patience and unobtrusive observation will provide a rare view into the natural life of the creatures of the Boundary Waters.

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