Permits and FAQs

Resort Questions

  • What are your hours? Our hours are 7am-7pm Monday-Saturday and 7am- 6pm on Sunday in the Summer. We are open 8am-5pm in Fall and Winter.
  • What if we are going to arrive after hours?Dont worry if you plan on arriving after hours! We will give you detailed instructions on checking into your bunkhouse or cabin.
  • Can we get meals in your dining room? We serve a world famous pancake breakfast to our guests every morning from 7am-9:30am and homemade pizza and beer on tap is available in the afternoon/evening until 7pm.
  • Do you charge for parking? We charge $5/day for parking per vehicle. Parking is included with any of our outfitting packages. It is also included for cabin stays or the night of a bunkhouse stay.
  • Do you sell fishing licenses? We do issue Minnesota fishing licenses in our office. If you plan on purchasing upon arrival be sure to have your driver’s license and social security # available. To expedite your check in process feel free to purchase online before you arrive. 
  • If you are traveling to Quetico or planning on fishing on the Canadian side of Saganaga, you must purchase your Ontario fishing license online.
  • Do you sell live bait? We have leeches available from May-mid August and night crawlers available from May-October. Please give us a call in advance if you plan on purchasing a large quantity of live bait so we can order appropriately. We also have a full tackle shop with artificial lures and bait available.
  • What is included with a motorboat rental? Motor boat rentals include 14-16ft V-hull fishing boat, 15hp motor, paddles, life jackets, anchor, net, and gas.
  • What is included with your cabin rentals? All of our cabins include linens, towels, toilet paper, paper towels, all kitchen utensils, and a canoe rental!
  • What is Voyageur’s cancellation policy? You can find our cancellation policy here. For questions about your specific reservation, feel free to give us a call

Outfitting Questions

  • Why should I choose to paddle with Voyageur Canoe Outfitters? VCO has been outfitting trips into the BWCAW for over 50 years and offers a guest experience like no other outfitter. We pride ourselves in excellent customer service from check in to check out. We are lucky to have an outstanding crew each summer who will offer outstanding service with a smile. We aim to make your experience seamless from start to finish, but don’t take our word for it! Check out some of our past guest’s experiences with Voyageur here.
  • How do I determine a route that is right for me? The Gunflint Trail has a route for everyone. Whether you are an expert fisherman, a novice paddler, a family with small children, or a group of athletes looking for a challenge— we are confident that we can help find the right route for you! Try our route planner on our website to find a route that best suits your needs. Otherwise call us at 218-388-2224 to speak to one of our routing experts! 
  • How does VCO prepare me for my first BWCA trip? We will work with you every step of the way from choosing routes to helping you launch your canoes in the water! We love seeing people experience the BWCAW & Quetico for the first time and most groups continue the tradition for years to come.
  • What is the difference between the BWCAW & Quetico Park? The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is located entirely within the United States. While you may often find yourself paddling right along the border of the US and Canada, all BWCAW campsites are located on the US side. The BWCAW is a designated wilderness area managed by the US Forest Service, and while it is remote and rustic, is generally known to be more developed than Quetico. Each BWCAW campsite has a designated fire grate and latrine and visitors are only permitted to camp at designated campsites. 
  • Quetico Provincial Park is located entirely within the Province of Ontario, Canada. Quetico is managed by the Ontario Parks Service and has several ranger stations at different entry points around the park. Visitors to Quetico must obtain a Quetico Camping Permit as well as a Remote Area Border Crossing Permit prior to their trip. Campsites within Quetico park tend to be a bit more rustic than the BWCAW. There are no latrines or fire grates and visitors must dig catholes to use the bathroom. Portages are often more rugged as well. Despite this, Quetico offers almost 1.2 million acres of paddling routes and has a more limited permit quote than the BWCAW. This leads to even more solitude than the BWCAW as well as excellent fishing and incredible scenery. Check out some of our recommended Quetico Routes here.
  • Should I choose the Complete Outfitting Package or bring my own gear? The Complete Outfitting Package is a great option for beginners who may not own all the necessary gear to outfit themselves into the BWCAW, or if you are flying in from out of state and cannot travel with all of your camping gear!
  • Is the Kevlar canoe the best one for wilderness travel? Kevlar canoes are the preferred canoe for most BWCAW enthusiasts for their light weight and ease of portaging. There are a handful of routes that we would recommend a more durable canoe due to rocky terrain as the bottom of a Kevlar canoe should never touch land or rocks.
  •  Do you provide personal rain gear?  We do not provide rain gear, we do have some options available for purchase in our store. We highly recommend having rain gear as rain is very common in the wilderness.
  • What is the best way to check the weather for our trip? We recommend looking at the forecast for Ely, MN as the weather in Grand Marais is heavily influenced by Lake Superior and is  very different from the weather at the end of the Gunflint Trail.
  • Can you accommodate food allergies/dietary restrictions in your outfitting menu? We do our absolute best to accommodate food allergies in our outfitting menu (vegetarian, gluten free, etc.) but for more serious allergies we recommend calling us to discuss the options.

Permit Questions

  • How do I know what entry points Voyageur services? Voyageur Canoe Outfitters services all Entry Points along the Gunflint Trail. You can filter BWCAW permits by “Gunflint District” on to see which permits this includes. Voyageur Canoe Outfitters also services several Quetico Entry points including: Knife Lake, Boundary Point, Falls Chain, Man Chain, and Mack Lake Fly-in Trips.
  • Do I need to reserve a permit to enter Quetico or the BWCAW? Both the BWCAW and Quetico Park require entry permits that must be reserved in advance either online or through VCO. 
  • Do I still need a permit if I am just doing a day trip to the BWCAW? Yes, a permit is still required for day trips to the BWCAW. If you are doing a paddling day trip, you can pick up a self-issue permit in our office or at one of the kiosks located at each entry point. They are free and do not need to be booked in advance. If you are doing a motor boat day trip into Saganaga, Seagull, or any other motorized lake in the BWCAW you will need a Day Use Motor permit. These permits cost $6 per day and you can have up to 9 people and 4 boats on each permit. We highly recommend booking these well in advance of your trip, as the quotas are very limited and they book out quickly.
  • There aren’t any permits available for my desired entry point! Can Voyageur still get me one from their quota? Contrary to popular belief, outfitters do not have their own quota for BWCAW entry points. We use the same permitting system as the general public and go off the same quota. We would be happy to talk you through other entry point options or find the next available date for you, though! Feel free to give us a call.
  • How many permits does my group need? There can be up to 9 people and 4 watercraft on one permit. If your group is larger than 9 you will need an additional permit and you cannot paddle or camp together.
  • Do I have to enter the BWCAW on the date that my permit is for? Yes, you must stick to the entry date specified on your permit. Entering before or after your original entry date is illegal and subject to fines.
  • What if I selected the wrong issuing station for my permits? Your issuing station can easily be changed by calling the Gunflint Ranger Station (218) 387-1750
  • When are BWCAW and Quetico permits available to reserve? BWCA permits open for booking the last Wednesday in January and Quetico permits can be reserved 5 months in advance from the start date of your trip.
  • How far in advance should I book my permits? Every year permits are booking farther in advance so we always recommend booking as early as possible 

All individuals entering the Boundary Waters are required to watch the three informational videos below. 

Have more questions? Contact us a 218-388-2224 or email us at!

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