Johnson Falls

A day at the falls can be a highlight for many wilderness lovers. There are multiple ways to configure your trip. Time and experience will decide the route. Johnson Falls is made up of two waterfalls. Swimming in the falls can be great fun, just use caution and wear sturdy shoes so you do not cut your feet.

Route Information

The most common route is to portage from Flour Lake to East Bearskin Lake and then head east down the south finger. From East Bearskin, portage into Little Alder Lake which connects to Alder Lake via a short stream. Canoe up stream into Alder and, once here, head east down Alder to the Canoe Lake portage.

Johnson Falls

© St Paul Pioneer Press

On Canoe Lake, go east to the Pine Lake portage. Here is where you have to make the decision on whether you will do the circle tour or canoe back the same route.

Alternate Route

For the quickest trip, leave your canoe at the portage and walk the portage to Pine Lake. At Pine Lake, on the west side of the portage, there is a trail along the river to the set of waterfalls. Once there, take a break, and enjoy lunch and listen to the sound of cascading water! Outdoor dining at its finest! Head back the way you came for this trip. Plan 8-10 hours for a round trip. As mentioned, Johnson Falls actually features two distinct waterfalls. To reach the second, lesser known waterfall, continue on the trail by going above and past the first waterfall. It’s not a far walk!


Back to the shores of Canoe Lake: If you are doing the circle tour, carry your canoe over the portage from Canoe to Pine Lake and leave your canoe at the lakeshore of Pine Lake. Hike the trail that goes west off the portage and along the river to the falls. Enjoy your time at the falls! To head back, canoe across Pine Lake and take the portage into Little Caribou Lake and go west. Portage into Caribou Lake and enjoy the long paddle to the west end of Caribou Lake. From here you portage to Deer Lake and loop back east a short distance to Moon Lake. Now you have one portage back into Flour Lake and a short canoe back to Golden Eagle Lodge.

This trip, done either direction, can take upwards of 10 hours. Be sure to start early in the day in order to be back before dark.

Route Map

Johnson Falls, Map, Route, Waterfall, Gunflint Trail, Canoe trip

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