Top Ten Worst Portages in the BWCA

Call me crazy(many people do) but I like to portage. I love the challenge of an uphill climb with a pack on and navigating around a tight corner with a canoe on my shoulders. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing the blue of the lake from the portage trail and the accompanying feeling of “I made it” that comes with knowing you’re at the end of the path.

I like to portage. Monument Portage might be long, but it’s wide and relatively flat.  The portage from Missing Link to Tuscarora is really long but the terrain it covers isn’t that bad.  Poplar to Meeds is fine with me too. There are however a number of portages out there that stick out in my mind as being unfriendly. What made that particular portage seem “Bad” to me? Maybe it was the rain, bugs, traveling companions, weight of the pack or just a bad attitude.

What I’m asking you to do is give me the location of what you think are the worst portages in the Boundary Waters.  I haven’t been on every portage in the BWCA but I have been on many.  When I get some results I’ll be sure to share them with you and then you can decide if you want to be crazy and tackle the portage or stay away from it all together.

Here’s a few portages that come to my mind… What do you think?

  1. Brule Lake to Vernon Lake- It’s not that it was very long but there were lots of rocks of all sizes to navigate some that required very big steps. Maybe it was the thought of hauling the cooler across the portage that made it look so bad.
  2. Hanson Lake to Cherry Lake- Maybe this portage got a bad rap because of the steepness that during a torrential downpour  turned the portage into a waterfall or perhaps the lightning bolts striking nearby. I don’t have fond memories of this portage.
  3. Little Saganaga to Virgin Lake- The burned topography on a cold, rainy day could have made this portage feel exceedingly long and difficult or maybe it really was.
  4. Anyone know of the portage named “YGTBFKM” on the Frost River? It stands for, “You’ve got to be %$#@^&%*$& kidding me.”

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