An Old-School Northwoods Outfit
Channel your inner voyageur at the Burntside Lodge in Minnesota
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
With its pine- and cedar-lined shores, rocky islands, and clean blue water, Burntside is the prototypical northwoods lake. And this 101-year-old outfit on the lake’s south shore is the prototypical northwoods lodge.
Immaculately restored FDR-era cabins sitting at the water’s edge? Check. A bar and restaurant serving freshly caught pan-fried walleye? Yep. Access to a fleet of boats and canoes for exploring 7,000 acres of deep, fish-filled waterways? Right again.
Make Burntside Lodge your upscale jumping-off point for canoeing and backpacking trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. (There’s an entry point to the storied BWCA across the lake, but beware—the first portage is a beast.) Or just kick back for a week of rustic R&R. Favorite on-site activities include paddleboarding, exorcising demons (and other toxins) in the Finnish sauna, and staring at the lake until your head is free of modern concerns.
If you get restless, just a few miles away is Ely, Minnesota’s answer to that small town in Northern Exposure, filled with friendly locals, divey bars and restaurants (try Ely Steakhouse), and outfitters such as Steger’s Mukluks, founded by Patti Steger, ex-wife of legendary Arctic adventurer Will Steger.
But really, you can’t go wrong with sitting on a rock and staring at the lake.