Saganaga Lake Base Camp in the BWCA
What’s your favorite lake in the Boundary Waters? I would probably have to say right at the top of my list is Saganaga at the end of the Gunflint Trail. It’s an island studded picturesque lake with lots of bays and area to explore. If you’re base camping with a canoe it would take you days to explore all of the areas and adjacent lakes. If you have a boat and motor then it will take less time but you’d be hard pressed to cover the lake in a couple of days.
Saganaga Lake is a perfect lake for those folks who are unable or unwilling to portage a canoe. There are plenty of spectacular campsites to choose from within a short paddle from the end of the Gunflint Trail. It’s the perfect lake to set up a base camp on especially for beginning paddlers who like to be close to civilization. For inexperienced paddlers or those who are short on time there’s an option to get a tow boat ride right to a campsite so you can have more quality camp time than you would if you paddled. The tow boat ride also allows you to bring along extra gear to make camp extra comfortable.
There are different areas on Saganaga Lake that we refer to. The Northeast Arm is on the Canadian Side of the Lake close to Northern Light Lake. Red Rock Bay is the area before the Red Rock Lake Portage, 3rd Bay Area is near the Swamp Lake Portage, Saganaga Falls provides access to the Granite River, then there’s Devil’s Walk Bay, James Bay, American Point and a few more. There are plenty of portages off of Saganaga Lake for day trips if a person does want to portage their canoe.
I’ve had some wonderful day trips and overnight base camp trips on Saganaga Lake. Great fishing, trees of every age, fabulous sunsets, fantastic campsites and close proximity to my home is what makes Saganaga Lake one of my favorite lakes in the BWCA to base camp on.