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.
Distance: 27.43 mi
Total Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
Pace: 0:00 / mi
Points of Interest
Location: 47.801170, -91.306366
From trailhead parking lot, head west on former railroad bed.
Location: 47.800556, -91.314941
Turn right @ trail sign; head northwest.
Location: 47.801521, -91.315643
Enter Boundry Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on a straight, old road.
Location: 47.807941, -91.319679
Pass a campsite next to the Isabella River.
Location: 47.808090, -91.319534
Cross bridge over the Isabella River (the only maintained bridge on the route).
Location: 47.828171, -91.320839
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: 47.831776, -91.321411
Turn left @ Y-junction. Hike west toward Fallen Arch Lake.
Location: 47.832664, -91.339172
Trail passes a beaver dam at the southern end of Fallen Arch Lake. Ahead, trail winds to the west.
Location: 47.833214, -91.371719
Pass a campground at Marathon Lake. The trail veers southwest for the next mile.
Location: 47.828331, -91.394554
Cross Diana Lake's outlet on these logs. Be careful; sit down or use hiking poles to avoid a fall.
Location: 47.825249, -91.439987
Head south, passing a campsite at Campfire Lake.
Location: 47.823284, -91.440498
Continue straight @ 3-way; the spur trail on the left leads to Quadga Lake.
Location: 47.820091, -91.452347
Cross Myth Lake outlet and continue hiking west.
Location: 47.828083, -91.463326
The trail traces the eastern banks of Superstition Lake past an unmarked campsite on the lake's small peninsula.
Location: 47.831974, -91.458160
Cross Superstition Creek at the north end of the lake. Next, trail veers to the northwest.
Location: 47.843098, -91.448570
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: 47.849880, -91.447884
Pass a beaver dam on Mirror Lake, then veer northeast for 0.5 mile to Path Lake.
Location: 47.853638, -91.442307
At the southern edge of Path Lake, the trail turns west and traces the lake's western shore.
Location: 47.858166, -91.441170
Walk past a large campsite on Path Lake's level, rocky shoreline.
Location: 47.862831, -91.440926
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: 47.864784, -91.440659
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: 47.878700, -91.438065
Skirt the southeast corner of Lake Three, then head north.
Location: 47.880215, -91.437546
Fallen trees make a rustic stream crossing.
Location: 47.881828, -91.436104
Cedar trees flank the trail around this well-used portage. Continue straight @ 4-way intersection, heading north.
Location: 47.882397, -91.430328
Savor the last views of Horseshoe Lake, then turn left and head northeast.
Location: 47.874786, -91.396637
Go straight and cross portage between North Wilder and Harbor Lakes.
Location: 47.865925, -91.389336
Cross watercourse between North and South Wilder Lakes.
Location: 47.864204, -91.386292
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: 47.860451, -91.322472
Turn right @ T-junction onto a long-abandoned logging road.
Location: 47.845886, -91.302071
Turn right @ T-junction. Ahead: Continue southwest to Waypoint 7 and turn left @ Y-junction. Retrace route to trailhead.
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