Discover the Ultimate Wilderness Adventure with BWCA

Kind Reader, if you are looking for a pristine wilderness experience, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) in Minnesota is the perfect destination for you. Thanks to, planning your trip to BWCA has never been easier. is an online platform that allows visitors to book campsites, obtain permits, and choose equipment for their BWCA trip. With its user-friendly interface and helpful features, takes the stress out of planning and provides a smooth and enjoyable experience.

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What is BWCA?

recreationgov-bwca, BWCA,thqrecreation BWCA, or the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, is a section of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. Covering over a million acres, it has more than 1,100 lakes and nearly 2,200 miles of canoe routes. It is one of the most popular wilderness areas in the United States, attracting people who love the outdoors and crave adventure.

Why Visit BWCA? BWCA offers many natural attractions and outdoor activities that can be enjoyed all year round. Some of the top reasons people visit include:

No Reasons to Visit BWCA
1 The beautiful and serene landscape.
2 The chance to explore and connect with nature through various outdoor activities, such as camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching.
3 The challenge of navigating the numerous interconnected waterways that make up the area.
4 The opportunity to disconnect from the stresses of modern life and enjoy a simpler, more peaceful way of living.

How to Plan a Trip to BWCA

If you’re planning a trip to BWCA, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

The First Step is to Make a Reservation:

If you want to visit BWCA, you need to make a reservation. The area is very popular, and permits are required for camping and certain other activities. You can make a reservation through, which is the official website of the U.S. government for outdoor recreation activities.

Decide on the Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit BWCA depends on what you want to do. The area is accessible year-round, but the summer months are the most popular for camping and water activities. Spring and fall are great times for hiking and wildlife watching.

Plan Your Activities:

There are many activities to choose from in BWCA, including camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking, and more. Depending on what you want to do, you’ll need to plan accordingly. For example, if you plan to camp, you’ll need to bring appropriate gear and supplies.

How to Make a Reservation on for BWCA?

recreationgov-bwca, BWCA,thqrecreation

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is undoubtedly a fantastic destination for nature lovers. However, if you want to make a reservation for your trip, you must register online at The easiest way to do this is to follow these six straightforward steps:

Create an Account on

The first step to making a reservation is to create an account of In this account, you need to input your personal information, such as your name, email address, and password. The system will send you a confirmation to your email address. Thus, don’t forget to verify your account.

Search for Available Permits

Log in to your account and navigate to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) page. Choose the preferred dates for your trip, the number of people, and the entry point location. Then click Search. The website will display the available permits for your journey.

Select Your Permit

Click on the permit you want to reserve and select the number of people and days you want to stay in the wilderness. Then, check whether it is available or not and click “Add to Cart”, and then go to the shopping cart to see the details of your purchase.

Check Out

At this stage, you can review your reservation and add more items to your cart if you need them. For example, if you want to rent a canoe or a tent, you can add it here. Once you double-check your itinerary, click on “Proceed to Checkout” and pay for the permit reservation fee based on the length of your stay.

Print Your Permit

Once you have paid for your reservation, you will receive an email confirmation with a permit attached to it. You will need to print out this permit and carry it with you on your trip. You must also print out the Campfire Permit that comes with your reservation. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to use a stove or campfire in the wilderness.

Modify or Cancel a Reservation

If, for some reason, you need to modify or cancel your permit reservation, go back to and enter your confirmation number. Select the permit and click on “Modify” or “Cancel” to make the necessary changes.

No Information
1 The website for reservation of permits for entry to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
2 Permits are required for all overnight trips from May 1 to September 30.
3 Permit reservations can be made up to 4 months in advance.
4 Permits can be obtained for day-use as well as overnight trips.
5 Entry points, number of people, and length of trip should be chosen before making reservation.
6 Permit fees are $16 per person per trip, and there is a $6 processing fee per permit.
7 There are restrictions on group size, motor usage, and camping locations in BWCA.
8 Camping is allowed only in designated campsites, and overnight visitors need to have a camping permit.
9 Entry and exit points can be different, but they should be within the same ranger district.
10 Visitors are responsible for following rules and regulations of BWCA.

Permits and Reservations

recreationgov-bwca,Permits and Reservations,thqPermits-and-Reservations

If you’re planning to explore the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, you need to secure a permit. Under the BWCAW quota permit system, the government allows a maximum of nine people to enter each entry point per day.

Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis and can be reserved through Applying for a permit can be done up to four months before your preferred entry date. However, the best time to apply is as early as possible, especially if you want to visit during peak seasons like July, August, and September.


Permits are available all year round. However, the government releases the quota permit for each calendar year on January 27th. So planning ahead can benefit you in securing your preferred permits. The availability of the permit in the BWCA can also depend on factors outside of your control, such as weather conditions or wildfires. So, it is a good idea to prepare a back-up route in case your first choice isn’t available.

Mandatory Reservation System

Since May 2019, the US Forest Service has required that visitors obtain their permits using a new mandatory reservation system to help alleviate issues concerning rampant overuse on the BWCA. This new system is run through

Rules and Regulations

recreationgov-bwca,Rules and Regulations,thqRules-and-Regulations

To ensure an enjoyable and safe adventure, it is important to follow the rules and regulations of the BWCAW.

Leave No Trace Principles

The BWCAW promotes the Leave No Trace (LNT) principle, which means that hikers and campers need to ensure that they don’t leave any litter or waste and follow the guidelines of cleaning the site before they leave. Other LNT guidelines include respecting wildlife, using manufactured fire rings, and practice good camping etiquette.

Campfire Regulations

Campers are only allowed to use dead and down trees for their fires, and collecting firewood inside the BWCAW is illegal. Please ensure that you put the fire out entirely and never leave the fire unattended.

Bear and Food Storage

Bear barrels are required for storing food within the BWCAW. It is essential to know how to bear-proof your campsite, and the best solution is to hang the barrel high from a tree. Campers should also remember to store toiletries and other smelly items alongside their food in the bear barrel.

No Rules and Regulations
1 The Leave No Trace principles must be followed.
2 Dead and down trees are for campfires.
3 Bear barrels are required for storing food and smelly toiletries.

How to Book a Reservation on

recreationgov-bwca,How to Book a Reservation on,thqRecreation is the official website for reservation on BWCA. The website is straightforward and easy to use. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to book a reservation on

Create an Account

Before anything else, create an account on This step can be done beforehand, as the website requires account creation to book a reservation. Once logged in, navigate to “Find your Next Adventure” and enter BWCA to start the reservation process.

Select Entry Point and Date

The website will redirect to a page where entry points and dates are selectable. Availability and permit quotas are shown above each entry point for easy reference. Select a preferred entry point and date and press the search button.

Choose a Campsite

After selecting an entry point and date, the site will direct to a page with a map of available campsites. It shows the campsite’s details including occupancy limit, amenities available, weather, and more. Hover over a campsite to see a preview of the spot. When a campsite is chosen, press the reserve button.

Review Reservation and Pay

Review the reservation, and if everything is in order, proceed to the payment. accepts credit/debit payments and even gift cards. Fees and taxes apply, so check the summary before finalizing. Once the payment process is complete, the system will prompt a confirmation page, which is printable for reference.

It is best to reserve a permit as early as possible as BWCA is famous for its limited permit quota and high demand. The website starts accepting reservation up to 6 months ahead of the trip, and the reservation system can be busy during peak seasons.

Important Notes:

  • The website releases permits at 9:00 am Eastern Time every day, and it usually takes three days for permits to be oversubscribed.
  • Reservations can be done up to fourteen days ahead of a trip but no later than 9:00 pm Central Time the day before the start of a trip.
  • The has a hotline number to assist anyone in need of help while planning a trip or booking a reservation. The hotline is functional between 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM Eastern Time.
No Reservation Rule
1 $12 booking fee for each permit plus $16 per person per trip.
2 The trip leaders should obtain an overnight self-issue permit and fill it before heading out to the entry point.
3 No permits are required for day trips, but it is highly recommended to use a day-use permit.

How to Make a Reservation on for BWCA

How to Make a Reservation on for BWCA

Before setting out for a Boundary Waters adventure, visitors must secure a permit, which can be done at a permit issuing station or through Meeting seasonal availability and trip routes, permits are available from May to September.

Steps to Reserve

To make a reservation on for BWCA, follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on the “Find your trip” button on the home page.
  3. Select Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and enter the date of arrival along with other trip information such as permit type, entry point, and length of stay under “Search the Buckets”.
  4. Choose from the available options, including trip entry dates, exit dates, fees, and entry point information.
  5. Add the selected permit to the cart and proceed to checkout.
  6. Make a secure payment with a credit card. Print or save the permit confirmation receipt for presentation upon arrival.
  7. Prepare for your trip and enjoy your adventure.


The permanent reservation is needed for those who intend to explore the BWCA for more than one night, while day-use permits are acquired at the entry point on the day of the trip. To assist with the planning process, provides contact information for local BWCA ranger stations.

Permit Reservation Rules and Regulations

recreationgov-bwca,Permit Reservation Rules and Regulations,thqPermit20Reservation20Rules20and20Regulations

Before planning your trip, it is essential to understand the permit reservation rules and regulations implemented by the US Forest Service on for the BWCA. There are specific reservation windows you need to consider, depending on the season:

Highly Demanding Summer Season

If you are planning to visit the BWCA during the summer season (May 1st to September 30th), it is recommended to make your permit reservation in advance. The permit reservation window opens 180 days before your entry date.

Fall, Winter, and Spring Seasons

For less demanding seasons, permit reservations can be made up to one day before your entry date. However, same-day reservations are not allowed on the website. If you need a permit on the same day of entry, you need to obtain it from U.S Forest Service offices or ranger stations.

It’s important to note that making a reservation does not guarantee you a spot or a specific route in the BWCA. The US Forest Service issues permits based on a quota system, trail capacity, and usage limits.

BWCA Cancellation Policy

recreationgov-bwca,BWCA Cancellation Policy,thqBWCA20Cancellation20Policy

It’s crucial to know the cancellation policy before reserving a permit on for BWCA. The following information will help you with the policy:

Refund Policy

If you cancel your permit reservation before 14 days of your entry date, will refund the permit fees, reservation charges, and taxes, except a non-refundable $10 service fee.

If you cancel your permit reservation within 14 days of your entry date, will not refund any fees or charges.

Low Alert Forest Fire Closure/Restriction Policy

If the Forest Service closes or restricts the BWCA entry point due to low alert forest fires, you can get a full refund or reschedule your visit without an additional cost.

Remember, if you cancel and make changes to permit reservations, be sure to review the rules and regulations before making any changes. A flat $10 administration fee is charged for each permit change made on website.

Equipment Rentals for your BWCA Trip

recreationgov-bwca,Equipment Rentals for your BWCA Trip,thqEquipmentRentalsforyourBWCATrip

Canoe outfitters located around the entry points of the Boundary Waters offer rental equipment to make your trip as comfortable as possible. Basic camping equipment and canoes, kayaks, or other types of boats are available to rent at these outfitters. It’s important to note that some entry points have more outfitter options than others, so planning ahead and making reservations for equipment is highly recommended.

Canoe and Kayak Rentals

Canoe rental is a common choice for those visiting the BWCA as it’s a reliable and efficient way to navigate the waterways. Some outfitters also offer kayak rentals which is a better option if you’re traveling alone or with a small group and are mostly interested in exploring the smaller and quieter lakes.

Camping Equipment Rentals

If you don’t have camping gear or prefer not to bring your own, many outfitters offer camping equipment for rent with complete sets available. The sets typically include a tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp chairs, and other camping essentials.

Other Rentals

Aside from canoes and camping gear, some outfitters offer other rental equipment to make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Depending on the outfitter, these can include fishing gear, GPS devices, power packs, stoves and cooking gear, and bear canisters that are required in some park areas.

No Outfitter Services Offered Website
1 Canadian Waters Inc. Complete and partial outfitting packages, cabin rental, shuttle service, ice and bait, guide services
2 Clearwater Historic Lodge and Canoe Outfitters Complete outfitting packages, food packs, bunkhouse rentals
3 Gunflint Northwoods Outfitters Complete and partial outfitting packages, cabin rental, fishing gear, shuttle service, guide services
4 Sawtooth Outfitters Complete and partial outfitting packages, camping and fishing gear rental, shuttle service, cabin rental
5 Voyageur Canoe Outfitters Complete and partial outfitting packages, food packs, bunkhouse rentals, shuttle service

Equipment rentals from outfitters help make your trip to the BWCA more manageable without necessarily increasing your expenses. The available options depend on the outfitter you select and the entry point you choose to start your trip from.


Answers to frequently asked questions regarding and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA).

1. What is is a website that allows visitors to reserve campsites, tours, and other recreational activities on federal lands across the United States.

2. How do I make a reservation for the BWCA through

Visit the website and search for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Select your desired dates, campsites, and any additional equipment rentals or services you need. Follow the prompts to complete your reservation.

3. Can I cancel or modify my reservation?

Yes, you can cancel or modify your reservation up to the day before your arrival date. A cancellation fee may apply.

4. Do I need a permit to enter the BWCA?

Yes, all visitors to the BWCA must obtain a permit. Permits are available through

5. How do I obtain a BWCA permit?

Visit the website and search for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Select “Permits” and follow the prompts to obtain your permit.

6. What are the rules for camping in the BWCA?

Campers must follow Leave No Trace principles and camp only in designated campsites. Fires are allowed only in designated fire rings.

7. Can I bring my own canoe into the BWCA?

Yes, you can bring your own canoe or rent one from a local outfitter.

8. What are the restrictions on the size of groups in the BWCA?

Groups are limited to 9 people or less.

9. Will I need to bring my own water or can I drink from the lakes and streams?

Water in the BWCA must be treated before drinking. Bring a water filtration system or purification tablets.

10. Are there any restrictions on fishing in the BWCA?

Fishing regulations in the BWCA are managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Check the DNR website for current regulations and licensing requirements.

11. What should I do if I encounter wildlife in the BWCA?

Observe wildlife from a safe distance and never approach or feed them. Store food in bear-resistant containers.

12. What is the weather like in the BWCA?

The weather in the BWCA can be unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature and occasional storms. Check the forecast before your trip and pack appropriate clothing and gear.

13. What type of equipment should I bring for a BWCA camping trip?

Essential gear includes a tent, sleeping bag, stove, cooking utensils, and food. Optional gear may include a GPS device, fishing equipment, and a camera.

14. Can I bring my dog into the BWCA?

Pets are not allowed in the BWCA, except for service animals.

15. What is the maximum length of stay in the BWCA?

The maximum length of stay is 14 days.

16. Can I travel by motorboat in the BWCA?

Motorboats are not allowed in the BWCA, except on a few designated lakes.

17. Can I hunt in the BWCA?

Hunting is not allowed in the BWCA.

18. What are the rules for campfires in the BWCA?

Campfires are allowed only in designated fire rings and must be thoroughly extinguished before leaving the area.

19. Is there cell phone coverage in the BWCA?

Cell phone coverage is limited in the BWCA. Consider bringing a satellite phone for emergency situations.

20. Can I bring my own firewood into the BWCA?

No, firewood must be purchased on site or collected in the immediate area.

21. Are there any fees associated with camping in the BWCA?

Yes, there are fees for camping and permits in the BWCA. Check the website for current rates.

22. Can I bring my own food into the BWCA?

Yes, campers should bring their own food for the trip.

23. Do I need to make a reservation for day use in the BWCA?

No, reservations are not required for day use, but permits are still necessary.

24. Can I bring alcohol into the BWCA?

Yes, but excessive alcohol consumption is not allowed.

25. What should I do if I have an emergency in the BWCA?

Call 911 or the nearest ranger station in case of emergency. Be prepared with a first aid kit, map, and compass in case of unexpected situations.

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Let’s Explore the Wonders of the BWCA with

Kind Reader, we hope that you enjoyed reading this article about and how it can help you plan your next adventure in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. With the help of this website, you can easily reserve a campsite or permit, rent equipment, and make the most out of your trip. We encourage you to visit again later, as we’ll have more interesting and informative content about outdoor exploration. Thanks for reading and we wish you happy trails!

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