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Boundary Waters permits and FAQs

Boundary Waters permits and FAQs

Can I mountain bike in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW?
No. Both motorized vehicles and non-motorized vehicles or conveyances with wheels are prohibited in the Boundary Waters.

Can I hike in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW?
Sure! For a day hike, all you need to do is to fill out a (free) self-issuing day permit at any of the trailheads that offer access to the BWCAW. Overnight hikes require an advance permit. Check out the hiking page for more information.

Fishing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park
The fishing stories you’ve heard about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW are true.

Mammoth lake trout. Spectacular rainbows. Plus walleye, smallmouth bass and feisty northern pike. You’ll also catch a fine mess of pan fish, and your outfitters can line you up with everything from canoes and personal flotation devices to a fishing license and bait.

All anglers 16 and older, need a Minnesota fishing license. Resident youth, 15 and under do not need a license and get their own possession limit. Non-resident youth 15 and under do not need a license if accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian and their possession limit is combined with the adults. Review Minnesota fishing license information and regulations.

For those of you who don’t let winter keep them from their catch, ice fishing is great here, too. Just ask your outfitter for an auger and some angling equipment.

Looking for a visual on the abundance of fishing opportunities? See this DNR Fishing Map.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW rules, regulations, permits and fees
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park are operated on a reservation system. Your outfitter can help you get the right permit for the route you want. Alternatively, you can handle the reservations on your own at the Boundary Waters permit website. RESERVATIONS FOR ALL ENTRY POINTS CAN BE MADE ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS BEGINNING WEDNESDAY JANUARY 27TH, 2016 AT 9:00 A.M. CENTRAL TIME. Reservations can be made through your outfitters, OR at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Permits are reserved for a specific lake entry point on a specific day and are issued for a specific number of days. Each party may have no more than nine people and no more than four watercraft. Permits and entry points.

For in-depth information about the permit system, including fees and lottery reservations, please visit the official Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW website.

More BWCAW resources

NEW: Boundary Waters Expo June 11-12, 2016