Canoeing is a sport that can be intimidating. There are rules about boats, PFD’s, and a lot of flak from experts on how to hold your paddle correctly. But once you know what you’re doing, paddling through the BWCAW can be one of the most memorable and influential experiences of your life. To get you started, or “Wet Your Paddle”, Gunflint Trail Outfitters offer canoe rentals ranging from hourly to a full day. See the list of outfitters below to find your rental and get out on the water.



The Gunflint Trail is a 57-mile paved highway and National Scenic Byway that starts in Grand Marais, MN. The road ends on the Shore of Saganaga Lake, on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or BWCAW for short. The BWCAW is made up of over 1,000,000-acres of some of the most breathtaking backcountry you can imagine. It is a pristine example of the boreal forest, a sanctuary for wilderness creatures and those humans among us who aren’t afraid to let a mosquito or two get in the way of our play time. This wilderness area is unique and wonderful in so many ways, but the truly outstanding part about the BWCAW is that there is over 1200 miles of canoe routes. It’s a paddler’s playground.

If you’re interested in learning more about the BWCA, book a stay on the Gunflint June 8th & 9th for the BWCA Expo--two days of speakers, demonstrations and all things canoe country.



A paddler from in our offices is Executive Director of Visit Cook County, Linda Jurek. She has a few words for us on how to feel like an expert and get ready for your first adventure in a canoe. Here’s her advice:

I once paddled the Boundary Waters with a “newbie” who did not understand the quiet movement of the paddle through the water. Instead the silence was broken with each stroke as she clunked her paddle on the side of the canoe. The correct way to hold a paddle is with your top hand holding a grip on the paddle; placing your fingers on the top of the grip with your thumb wrapped around the shaft. The back of your hand faces you. The other hand should be as close the water with each stroke as possible without getting wet… and by all means, not clunking the side of the canoe!


The Answer: yes, wear one. Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s) are important! No canoer, kayaker, paddle boarder, or fisher-person should be without one. Think of it like you do with the seatbelt in your car--you might be fine without one, buy why take the risk? And in fact, just like wearing your seatbelt, it’s against Minnesota state law to be in a boat without one. Here’s some great info from the DNR on all kinds of PFD’s. Remember that kids under 10 must be wearing their PFD, while adults get a little more slack--PFD’s only must be within reach to meet the requirements of the law…. However, we still recommend that everyone wear one to make sure that their Gunflint Trail adventure is safe and fun. Help us help you ensure your vacation memories don’t involve any of our emergency services.



The best way to experience the wild beauty of the BWCA is by on the water!  For those interested in learning to paddle a canoe, you can "Wet Your Paddle" with an hourly or daily canoe rental at these Gunflint Trail outfitters:


Bearskin Lodge & Wilderness Outfitters
Full Day Rentals

Clearwater Historic Lodge & Canoe Outfitters
Full Day Rentals

Golden Eagle Lodge
Half-Day & Full Day Rentals

Gunflint Lodge
Hourly, Half-Day & Full Day Rentals

Hungry Jack Lodge
Full Day Rentals

Hungry Jack Outfitters
Hourly & Full Day Rentals

Nor'Wester Lodge & Outfitters
Half-Day & Full Day Rentals

Rockwood Lodge & Outfitters
Half-Day & Full Day Rentals

Seagull Canoe Outfitters
Full Day Rentals

Trout Lake Resort
Half-Day & Full-Day Rentals

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters
Half-Day & Full Day Rentals

Way of the Wilderness Canoe Outfitters
Full Day Rentals

Wet Your Paddle

Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters

  • 143 S Gunflint Lake Rd
  • (218) 388-2294

Minnesota Family & Fishing Resort on the Edge of the Boundary Waters Gunflint…

Hungry Jack Outfitters & Cabins

  • 318 S. Hungry Jack Rd.
  • (218) 388-2275

Hungry Jack Canoe Outfitters provides gear, food, and advice for wilderness canoe…

Rockwood Lodge & Outfitters

  • 50 Rockwood Rd
  • (218) 388-2242

Rockwood Lodge and Canoe Outfitters is a historic resort on Poplar Lake. 31 miles up…

Trout Lake Resort

  • 789 Trout Lake Rd
  • (800) 258-7688

At Trout Lake Resort you’ll find a small resort on a pristine trout lake. You will be…

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

  • Voyageur Canoe Outfitters
  • (218) 388-2224

When you’re ready to relax, unplug and get away from the hustle and bustle of the…