Border Route Trail, Minnesota
Beach the canoe on this remote trek through the wildlife-rich Boundary Waters.
The trick to finding solitude in Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness? Hike where others paddle. More than 225 miles of trails crisscross this preserve, including nearly two-thirds of the 65-mile Border Route Trail, which hugs ridgelines and cliffs with views across the forest and lakes. Thick emerald moss seems to carpet every surface, and blowdowns create challenging barriers that increase the deep-wilderness feel (and further reduce crowds). Most nights you’ll camp by a lake, where sunrise often glows like fire through the morning mists, and spotting moose, otter, or mink is a given.
At night, listen to water lapping the rocky beaches, timber wolves howling, loons crying, and wind sighing through tall pines. The western half of the Border Route roughly parallels the Gunflint Trail roadway, with the central wilderness entry point (No. 82, near Clearwater Lake), offering weekend loops via the Daniels Lake, Caribou Lake, and South Lake Trails. For maximum solitude, follow the eastern half of the Border Route 36 miles past Gogedic, Pine, and Pike Lakes and along the Pigeon River.
Map The Border Route Trail: A Trail Guide and Map ($19, borderroutetrail.org)
Permits Entry permits required for BWCAW ($16 per person, $12 to reserve; recreation.gov)