Boating - Non-Motorized

Non-motorized Access

Areas listed for Non-Motorized Boating may include lakes or campgrounds with a carry down access to the water, lakes or campgrounds with boat ramps suitable for launching trailered boats, and entry points for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Lakes with boat ramps may be used by both motorized and non-motorized boats.  People in canoes and kayaks have the right of way over power boats, but should be aware of the other boaters and mindful of their wakes.  

Lakes with carry down access have trails leading to the water down which you must carry your boat.  Some trails are longer than others.  Outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, most, though not all, of these lakes do not have a prohibition against motors, and people may carry down small trolling motors and use them.  

Our Boating and Fishing Guide has a map with locations of lakes with either kind of access on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.

Designated canoe routes are series of lakes or waterways connected by portage trails.  There are backcountry campsites (see camping section) along the route which are similar to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness campsites.  Since these canoe routes are outside of the BWCAW, you do not need a reservation.  Some canoe routes may briefly enter the BWCAW, and on those routes you will need a self-issued day use permit for entry.  Day use permits are available at the access point.  A map and list of these canoe routes is available for download.


Lakes that are entry points to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness may be entirely in the BWCAW or partially in the BWCAW.  There are special rules that apply to these lakes and boaters should refer to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness section of the website.

All boats in Minnesota, including canoes and kayaks must be registered and comply with Minnesota boating regulations.  Out of state registrations are accepted, but if your boat is from state that does not require registration, you must register your boat in Minnesota.  Other regulations include possessing a  wearable Personal Flotation Device for each occupant and for boats longer than 16 feet other than canoes and kayaks, having a throwable flotation device in the boat.  For detailed descriptions of PFDs and current regulations, visit the MN DNR website.

Boating - Non-Motorized Areas

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities