Mountain Lake Overlook is medium length day trip into the BWCA. No portaging is required to reach this overlook.
Mountain Lake is located just north of Clearwater Lake, towards its eastern end. This day trip will give you two overlooks, one overlooking Mountain Lake to the north-west and the other overlooking to the east. The most efficient way to reach these vistas is to begin by launching at the Clearwater Lake public access. Enjoy the paddle down Clearwater Lake and take in the beautiful palisades. It is approximately a 4 mile paddle, one way, down Clearwater until you reach the portage head into Mountain Lake. Since you will not need to portage a canoe once you make landfall, this trip is also very enjoyable by kayak.
After reaching the portage from Clearwater to Mountain Lake, walk approximately 2/3 of the way down the portage until you get to a four way intersection. The portage trail continues north into Mountain Lake while the east and west trail that intersects is actually a section of the border route hiking trail. If you walk the border route to the right (east), you will reach what is labeled as Mountain Lake Overlook #2 after approximately 1/4 mile. While not as impressive as Overlook #1, this location offers a nice spot to eat lunch.
Moving from overlook #2, head back the way you came (west) and cross the portage trail once again, this time continuing straight (continue moving west). After approximately 3/4 of a mile after crossing the portage, you will reach what is labeled as Mountain Lake Overlook #1. From this point, you are looking east and the right hand shoreline is the U.S. while the left side is Canada.
As you head back towards the public access on Clearwater Lake and you still have time, don’t forget to stop and hike up the Clearwater Palisades, which are right on your way.
Plan 5 hours round trip when launching from the Clearwater Public Access. Add approximately 45 minutes if you stop to hike the Palisades on your way.