BWCAW Entry Point 54 Seagull Lake(11 entry permits) or Entry Point 55 Saganaga Lake(17 entry permits)
Minimum Trip Length 4 Days

This is an awesome route with plenty of options for detours and exploration along the way. There’s paddling across a variety of sized lakes from small to big and wide to narrow. There are short 5-rod portages and longer portages over 100-rods. There’s fishing for all four species, wonderful campsites, hidden gems, waterfalls and vistas atop of a palisade. Ideally it would be great to have 5-7 days so you can explore all of the beautiful bays but  with a minimum of 4 days you would be able to travel the route. 

BWCA Maps Needed:

  • Fisher Maps: F-32
  • McKenzie Maps: 6, 8, 26
  • Voyageur Maps: 6

Fast Facts:

LakeDNR #Fish SpeciesMaximum DepthAcresElevationCampsites
Alpine16075900Walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike65839145525
Seagull16062900Walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike1454996145136
Saganaga16063900Walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike, whitefish28013832.23143077
Gull16063200Walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike4018314310
Jasper16076800Walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass12523914956
Kingfisher16081200Walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass423514840
Ogishkemuncie38018000Walleye, lake trout,  northern pike75701148211
Annie38019500Northern pike161814850
Jenny38019400Northern pike9310214842
Eddy38018700Northern pike, largemouth9512214651
Knife38040400Walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike1794919.75138254
Hansen38020600lake trout, northern pike10028414474
Ester38020700lake trout, northern pike11038814485
Ottertrack38021100Walleye, lake trout, smallmouth bass, northern pike116110313856
Swamp38001200walleye, northern pike2520814320


Portages out of SeagullPortages out of AlpinePortages out of JasperPortages out of Ogish
North 235 rod to Grandpa
North 38 rod to Gull Lake
NW 20 rod to Alpine
NW 105 rod to Alpine
West 20 rod to Rog Lake
South 535 to Paulson
North 235 rod to Grandpa
North 38 rod to Gull Lake
NW 20 rod to Alpine
NW 105 rod to Alpine
West 20 rod to Rog Lake
South 535 to Paulson
-NE 45 rods to Alpine
-West 25 rods to Kingfisher

Portages out of Kingfisher
-East 25 rods to Jasper
-West 38 rods to Ogish
-NE 38 rods to Kingfisher
-East 25 rods to Skindance
-East 80 rods to Mueller
-North 10 rods to Spice
-SW 15 rods to Annie
Portages out of EddyPortages out of AnniePortages out of KnifePortages out of Hansen
SE 15 rods to Jenny
-South 15 rods to Kekebaic Ponds
-North 25 rods to South Arm of Knife
East 15 rods to Ogish
-NW 15 rods to Jenny

Portages out of Jenny
SE 15 rods to Annie
-SW 20 rods to Calico
-North 15 rods to Eddy
NE 5 rods to Ottertrack
-SE 20 rods to Amoeber
-NE 120 rods to Hanson
-East 15 rods to Toe
-East  5 rods to Toe
-East 130 rods to Nave
-SE 25 rods to Eddy
-Central 30 rods from South  of Knife  to Knife
-Central 50 rods from South A of Knife  to Knife
-SE 130 rods to Sema
-South 33 rods to Bonnie
-NW 180 rods to Crawford
-SW 200  rods to Vera
-SW 25 rods to Portage
-West 75 rods to Seed Lake
-North to Ester
-West 110 rods to Cherry
-SW 10 rods to Clam
-South 120 rods to South Arm of Knife

Portages out of Ester

-North 80 rods to Ottertrack
-NE 55 rods to Ashdick
-West 15 rods to Rabbit
-South to Hanson
Portages out of OttertrackPortages out of SwampPortages out of Saganaga 
South West 50 rod portage to Gijikiki
-NW 152 rods to Plough
-South East 80 rod portage to Ester
-North 100 rods to Jasper
-NE 80 rod portage to Swamp
-South West 5 rod portage to Knife
–West 80 rods to Ottertrack
-SW 155 rods to Ashdick
-SW 5 rods to Saganaga
-North 600 rod to Saganagons
-NW 130 rod to Saganagons Silver Falls
-West 5 rod 3rd Bay to Zephyr
-West 5 rod 3rd Bay to Swamp
-SW 10 rod RR Bay to Red Rock
-South 40 rod to Roy
South 38 rod to Seagull via Seagull River
-SE 10 rod to Tenor
-SE 80 rod James Bay to Morris
-SE 38 rod to Maraboeuf on Granite River via Sag Falls
-East 25 Currans Bay to Wantelto
-NE 20 rod Northeast Arm to Northern Light Lake



Route Description:
The best part about the location of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters is the vast number of Boundary Waters and Quetico Park canoe trips that can be taken leaving right from our dock. One of our favorite said routes is the Saganaga, Knife and Seagull Lakes loop. There are a number of variations of this route depending upon how many days you have but believe me, you’re sure to enjoy this loop no matter what detours you choose to take along the way.
You can read about Saganaga and Seagull Lakes on our other trip route descriptions in full detail. For sake of brevity we’ll keep the information about those two lakes to a minimum on this route description.
This route can be done with either a Saganaga Lake permit or a Seagull Lake Permit. Since we prefer to use a tow boat to get us to American Point on Saganaga we’ll describe this route beginning from there.
American Point is as far north and west as motorboats are allowed to travel into the BWCA. From there it’s paddle power only as you make your way west along the Minnesota Canadian border.
There are a number of great campsites to choose from in this area that require no portaging to access.  If you’re getting a late start in the day or want to spend some time fishing then locate one of these jewels.
The paddle from American Point to the first 5-rod portage into Swamp Lake is relatively short but very scenic.  After paddling past the opening to Cache Bay of the Quetico Park the waterway begins to narrow. It eventually funnels down to an intimate stream like size as you straddle the narrow waterway with the bow of your canoe in the US and the stern in Canada. The waterway opens up again before the 3rd Bay of Saganaga where you can find a 5-rod portage into Zephyr Lake or continue along the route to Ottertrack Lake.
In high water we’ve paddled through the 5-rod portage into Swamp Lake but that has been a very rare occasion. Most of the time you need to unload your canoe and portage the short expanse of land.  The paddle across Swamp Lake is a short one and before you get to the portage to Ottertrack Lake you’ll see the decking of the Monument Portage.  This is a relatively easy 80-rod portage as it is quite wide due to the maintenance of the International Border.  You’ll see why the portage is called Monument as you make your way to Ottertrack. 
The bay of Ottertrack where the portage leads to is shallow and sandy.  I love this area because you can see to the bottom and one time I was able to spy a beaver swimming beneath my canoe. The lake begins to open up and this is where you would find the portage into Ester Lake and one campsite before you reach the narrow passageway into the rest of Ottertrack Lake.  This section of Ottertrack is lined by high cliffs on the Canadian side of the lake. It’s quite majestic looking and I’m always in awe when I paddle past.  It’s a beautiful long and narrow lake with most campsites located at the opposite end of the lake.  You’ll find one campsite on a point right after the portage into Gijikiki Lake. Then there are three campsites before the lake funnels around a bend toward the 5-rod portage into Knife Lake.
After the quick lift over you might want to spend some time fishing in the bay above the falls and below the falls. There’s a campsite right around the corner you could enjoy a break at if no one has set up camp there.
Knife Lake is a long, large lake that also straddles Canada and the US.  There are islands, fingers and many bays to explore on this expansive and scenic lake.  For the least amount of portaging you’ll paddle past a number of bays and campsites until you reach Thunder Point. There is a hiking trail to the top of Thunder Point and you can see down the rest of the expanse of Knife Lake from this vantage point.
The South Arm of Knife is narrower and there are again a large number of campsites to choose from as you paddle east toward the 25-rod portage to Eddy Lake.  Eddy Lake is tiny and has just one campsite on the west end of the lake. The next portage is a 15-rod into Jenny Lake that has two campsites to choose from but if you really want seclusion then take the 20-rod portage into Calico Lake where you’ll find a campsite seldom seen by others.   A 15-rod portage takes you into and out of tiny but beautiful Annie Lake into Ogishkemuncie Lake.

Ogish is a great place to camp due to the many day trip options it provides.  Those who are interested in hiking will find the Kekekabic Trail by taking the 103-rod portage into Mueller then trekking on the 112-rod portage to Agamok.  The most photographed bridge in the Boundary Waters is located on this portage thanks to the existence of the Kekekabic Trail that connects the East end of the BWCA(Gunflint Trail) to the West end of the BWCA(Snowbank Lake Area).  The water cascades beneath the bridge as it makes its way from Agamok down to Mueller in a picturesque waterfall.  The trail provides welcome relief to legs that have been cramped in a canoe for days.

While camping on Ogish one can explore Skindance Lake by taking the 22-rod portage from Ogish or explore Spice Lake to the North by traversing the quick 10-rod portage from Ogish.  Both of these lakes have campsites, privacy from paddlers on Ogish and have fishing for northern pike and smallmouth bass.
All four species of fish are available in Ogish including walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and lake trout.  The many bays and islands provide great fishing and beautiful scenery just a day’s paddle from Seagull Lake. 

At the east end of the lake you’ll find the 38-rod portage into Kingfisher which has no campsites.  It’s a fast paddle to the opposite side of the lake where the 25-rod portage into Jasper can be found. Jasper has six campsites to choose from and since the Cavity Lake Fire of 2006 they are usually open.  It was one of the hardest hit lakes during this forest fire and regeneration has been slower here than other places in the BWCA. It’s a private lake and tends to be super quiet too.

A 45-rod portage leads into Alpine Lake. Alpine is a favorite lake of many because there are a number of hidden bays and islands where 21 campsites await.  A 105-rod portage leads into Seagull Lake where you can either exit or take one more portage into the Seagull River and back to Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.
Ogishkemuncie, is the Ojibwa word for “Kingfisher”. I don’t think it’s a coincidence how Kingfisher is the lake just to the east of Ogishkemuncie. The two are related by Ojibwa definition. Ogishkemuncie (pronounced “o-gish-keh-mun-see”) is simply referred to as Ogish for brevity’s sake.
You’ll find that Ogish is a tale of two lakes really, especially now after the 2007 fire. The eastern half of the lake was affected by the Ham Lake fire. The fire spread from the south, and jumped the narrows at the mid point of the lake. The wind was blowing from the west that day, and pushed the fire eastward. It will be interesting in years to come to see how the forest regenerates and you’ll be able to compare the two sides of the lake.

A Short Story:
I never tire of camping on Ottertrack Lake. If I get a tow boat ride from American Point I can usually make my way to the end of Ottertrack in 4-5 hours. Since it’s so convenient to camp on Ottertrack I’ve spent quite a few nights on this lake and with quite a few different people. One time was with our Grandma Darlene when she was in her 60’s, Abby when she was probably 5-years old and Mike’s cousin Sheri. We were on our way home from entering Moose Lake and visiting Dorothy’s island and we were traveling in one large canoe.  I’ve camped there with my family, another time with just Mike and another time I camped with a group of women. The most memorable time I camped there was with a group of girls from our church. And that is a story for another time.