Welcome to the Gunflint Canoeing website, your online resource for information on canoe and hiking routes in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) off the Gunflint Trail. This site will also explain some regulations/rules of the BWCA, information on area wildlife, and suggestions for daily canoe trips and hikes around Flour Lake and Golden Eagle Lodge. The Gunflint Trail is found in northern Minnesota, beginning in Grand Marais on Lake Superior, continuing through a diverse forest of pine, birch, and aspen and finally ending after nearly 60 miles at Lake Saganaga. Completely surrounded by the BWCA, the Gunflint Trail provides an excellent beginning to your wilderness adventures by offering thousands of unique BWCA canoe routes through nearly 30 distinct entry points.
The Gunflint Trail is a scenic highway stretching through beautiful, untamed wilderness. First used by trappers, loggers, and miners, the Gunflint Trail soon flourished into a scenic getaway for vacationers, canoers, campers, hikers, fisherman, birders, and everyone in between. The many canoe trips spurring from various points along the Gunflint Trail offer a unique opportunity to experience a wilderness that has been protected from the development of man for over decades. With motorized access restricted to only a few select locations, the BWCA is truly an undisturbed treasure.
Being a wilderness respite, the Gunflint Trail and BWCA is abundant with wildlife. Laying in the heart of a boreal forest, a variety of animals, both big and small, call this unique ecosystem home.
The Gunflint Trail and BWCA are home to 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 bears found in northern Minnesota are black bears, which, although timid and present little danger, do demand respect. Proper precautions should be taken to ensure that any bear encounter, though rare, is a good one. An actual sighting of any of these animals, bear, moose, or wolf, is an absolute treat; enjoy them from a distance and take pictures! Even if you do not see one on your trip, their tracks lend powerful proof to their continuing existence.
Smaller species of animals are more likely to be encountered while on a canoeing or wilderness adventure: eagles, song birds, loons, otters, beavers, red squirrels, and pine martens to name a few. 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 and surrounding boreal forest. The summer presents its bird residents in grand style with eagles, ospreys, loons, and white-throated sparrows. There is so much to see!
We are the visitors to this wilderness, 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 Canoe Area Wilderness.