Canoe the Boundary Waters

Just the right amount of space for perfecting the J-stroke

Dinner reservations. Via Shutterstock     Photo: Allison Herreid

Practice that fancy new J-stroke in Minnesota’s 1.1 million acre Boundary Waters National Park. With more than 1,200 miles of canoeable waterways you’re likely to have at least a few of the lakes to yourself—aside from the moose, black bears, beavers, and history. The Boundary Waters have been traversed by canoeists for centuries. Want proof? Check out the red-ochre pictographs of canoeists painted on the cliff overhanging the water on the southeastern end of Crooked Lake. They may be as old as 1,000 years. Tie Crooked Lake into a 50-mile, week-long tour by starting at Moose River North and traversing the Canadian border in Iron Lake and Crooked. Pick up maps and rent a 17-foot Kevlar canoe from Wilderness Outfitters in Ely ($17). “Any length of time in the boundary Waters is great,” says Wilderness Outfitters’ Zach Imes, “but a week gives you time to get into the rhythm of canoe travel.”

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