Boundary Waters: Pow-Wow Trail

Scramble around beaver dams, trek through timber wolf territory, and ford countless creeks on this 30.1-mile loop that skirts 15 backcountry lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Take two or three days to explore this 30.1-mile lasso loop in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Pine and cedar trees surround majestic lakes filled with fish, and numerous backcountry campsites dot the trail. Watch for snowshoe hare, grouse, moose, and signs of the largest timber wolf population in the Continental U.S. Be prepared to get your feet wet traversing boggy terrain and fording small streams—there’s only one maintained bridge along the route.
Note: A BWCA permit is required. Make reservations for entry point #86 by calling 877-550-6777.
-Mapped by Steffan Fay

TO TRAILHEAD: From S. 26th Ave. and N. Shore Scenic Dr./MN 61 in Duluth, head northeast on MN 61. In 57 miles, turn left onto MN 1. In 22 miles, turn right onto Wanless Rd. In 0.8 mile, turn left onto Trappers Lake Rd. In 5.8 miles, veer right onto Sawbill Landing Rd. In 2.9 miles, turn left onto NF 369. In 2 miles, continue straight onto NF 379. In 3.6 miles, turn right onto Tomahawk Rd. (toward Forest Center). Follow 1.6 miles to Lake Isabella parking lot.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 44.1



Location: 47.8011703491211, -91.3063659667969

From trailhead parking lot, head west on former railroad bed.


Location: 47.8005561828613, -91.31494140625

Turn right @ trail sign; head northwest.


Location: 47.8015213012695, -91.3156433105469

Enter Boundry Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a straight, old road.


Location: 47.8079414367676, -91.3196792602539

Pass a campsite next to the Isabella River.


Location: 47.8080902099609, -91.3195343017578

Cross bridge over the Isabella River (the only maintained bridge on the route).


Location: 47.8281707763672, -91.3208389282226

Hike through a wetland on a long, narrow mound of dirt and sticks (resembles a beaver dam). The trail is higher than the surrounding marsh for about 0.25 mile. Use caution and take it slowly to avoid wet feet (especially in the spring).


Location: 47.8317756652832, -91.3214111328125

Turn left @ Y-junction. Hike west toward Fallen Arch Lake.


Location: 47.8326644897461, -91.3391723632812

Trail passes a beaver dam at the southern end of Fallen Arch Lake. Ahead, trail winds to the west.


Location: 47.8332138061523, -91.3717193603516

Pass a campground at Marathon Lake. The trail veers southwest for the next mile.


Location: 47.8283309936523, -91.3945541381836

Cross Diana Lake's outlet on these logs. Be careful; sit down or use hiking poles to avoid a fall.


Location: 47.8252487182617, -91.4399871826172

Head south, passing a campsite at Campfire Lake.


Location: 47.8232841491699, -91.4404983520508

Continue straight @ 3-way; the spur trail on the left leads to Quadga Lake.


Location: 47.8200912475586, -91.4523468017578

Cross Myth Lake outlet and continue hiking west.


Location: 47.8280830383301, -91.4633255004883

The trail traces the eastern banks of Superstition Lake past an unmarked campsite on the lake's small peninsula.


Location: 47.831974029541, -91.4581604003906

Cross Superstition Creek at the north end of the lake. Next, trail veers to the northwest.


Location: 47.8430976867676, -91.4485702514648

The trail passes a very small campsite near Mirror Lake (it's a long walk down to the water from this site). Continue hiking north.


Location: 47.8498802185059, -91.447883605957

Pass a beaver dam on Mirror Lake, then veer northeast for 0.5 mile to Path Lake.


Location: 47.8536376953125, -91.4423065185547

At the southern edge of Path Lake, the trail turns west and traces the lake's western shore.


Location: 47.8581657409668, -91.4411697387695

Walk past a large campsite on Path Lake's level, rocky shoreline.


Location: 47.8628311157227, -91.4409255981445

Look to the west across Rock of Ages Lake for expansive views of wooded shoreline. Next, the trail winds to the north toward Horseshoe Lake.


Location: 47.8647842407227, -91.4406585693359

Travel past a campsite overlooking Rock of Ages Lake. A small hill borders the site, offering great views of forest and surrounding granite hills.


Location: 47.8787002563477, -91.4380645751953

Skirt the southeast corner of Lake Three, then head north.


Location: 47.8802146911621, -91.4375457763672

Fallen trees make a rustic stream crossing.


Location: 47.8818283081055, -91.4361038208008

Cedar trees flank the trail around this well-used portage. Continue straight @ 4-way intersection, heading north.


Location: 47.882396697998, -91.4303283691406

Savor the last views of Horseshoe Lake, then turn left and head northeast.


Location: 47.8747863769531, -91.3966369628906

Go straight and cross portage between North Wilder and Harbor Lakes.


Location: 47.8659248352051, -91.3893356323242

Cross watercourse between North and South Wilder Lakes.


Location: 47.8642044067383, -91.3862915039062

This campsite on South Wilder Lake is a good place to spend your second night. Ahead, trail rounds to the east, paralleling the lake.


Location: 47.8604507446289, -91.3224716186524

Turn right @ T-junction onto a long-abandoned logging road.


Location: 47.8458862304688, -91.3020706176758

Turn right @ T-junction. Ahead: Continue southwest to Waypoint 7 and turn left @ Y-junction. Retrace route to trailhead.

Trail Junction

Location: 47.8005638122559, -91.3150100708008


Location: 47.8015670776367, -91.3156433105469

BWCA boundary sign at entry point # 86.

Isabella Campsite

Location: 47.8079414367676, -91.3196792602539

Campsite near Isabella River.

Isabella River

Location: 47.8080940246582, -91.3195343017578

Isabella River.

Isabella River

Location: 47.8080940246582, -91.3195343017578

Isabella River.


Location: 47.8176345825195, -91.318717956543

You'll hike this section of trail in both directions.


Location: 47.8281707763672, -91.3209457397461

Raised Trail

Location: 47.8296699523926, -91.3210525512695

This raised trail helps keep you dry, if you're careful.

Trail Junction

Location: 47.8318099975586, -91.3214797973633

The loop begins (and ends) here.


Location: 47.8322639465332, -91.3291625976562

BWCA has one of the last substantial timber wolf populations in the Continental United States.

Beaver Dam

Location: 47.8325614929199, -91.3392486572266

Beaver dam at southern end of Fallen Arch Lake.

Marathon Lake

Location: 47.8332023620606, -91.3716888427734

Marathon Lake has a campground and plenty of wide, open space.

Stream Crossing

Location: 47.8283843994141, -91.3946990966797

Crossing the outlet of Diana Lake.

Diana Lake

Location: 47.8285980224609, -91.39501953125

Diana Lake.

Campfire Lake Campsite

Location: 47.8252792358398, -91.4401931762695

Wetlands and Lake

Location: 47.8200340270996, -91.4524002075195

Just one of 15 peaceful lakes you'll pass on this trail.

Superstition Lake

Location: 47.8281707763672, -91.4633178710938

Superstition Lake.

Superstition Lake

Location: 47.831916809082, -91.4581832885742

Superstition Lake.

Beaver Dam

Location: 47.8497924804688, -91.4480133056641

This beaver dam is part of the trail.

Path Lake

Location: 47.8539695739746, -91.4425506591797

Path Lake.

Path Lake Campsite

Location: 47.8582496643066, -91.4412689208984

The campsite at Path Lake is a big site on level, rocky shoreline.

Rock of Ages Lake

Location: 47.8626403808594, -91.4409484863281

Westward view from the trail above Rock of Ages Lake.

Rock of Ages Lake

Location: 47.8630676269531, -91.4413757324219

Panorama video of Rock of Ages Lake.

Rock of Ages Campsite

Location: 47.8647804260254, -91.4406280517578

Campsite on Rock of Ages Lake.

Lake Three

Location: 47.8786964416504, -91.4381637573242

One of the largest lakes on the route, Lake Three is peppered with islets large and small.

Stream Crossing

Location: 47.8801956176758, -91.4378433227539

These fallen trees make a rustic stream crossing.


Location: 47.8820152282715, -91.4361267089844

Cross this portage between Lake Three and Horseshoe Lake.

Horeshoe Lake

Location: 47.8824424743652, -91.4304580688476

This will be your last glimpse of Horseshoe Lake.