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Canoeing the Boundary Waters, MN

This million-acre wilderness area is a paddler's paradise.
  • Travel light and rent whatever gear you need from local outfitters. Here, the crew launches from Seagull Outfitters at Seagull Lake. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • Motorboats are allowed on some lakes in the area, but once you pass the wilderness boundary, expect all peace and quiet. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • Whatever route you choose, you're sure to need to carry (aka portage) your canoe on trails connecting lakes. A GPS can help a lot to find the exact spot to unload. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • You'll need permits for your planned entry spot, but the designated campsites are first-come, first-serve. This one, on Ester Lake, offered nice views through the trees. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • Expect fire pits and large tent spots at most campsites. Canoeing allows for extra luxuries, but don't forget you'll still have to carry it all (plus your boat!) at the portages. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • This far north, the sun doesn't set until after 9 p.m. in early July. The mosquitos are worst at dusk; bring repellent and even face nets. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • Sunrise at Ester Lake. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • Though it's sheltered here on its west end, crossing 13,800-acre Saganaga Lake along the Canadian Border can be tricky in high winds. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
  • So many islands, so little time. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
Travel light and rent whatever gear you need from local outfitters. Here, the crew launches from Seagull Outfitters at Seagull Lake. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)
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Travel light and rent whatever gear you need from local outfitters. Here, the crew launches from Seagull Outfitters at Seagull Lake. (Photo: Rachel Zurer)

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