Cross Bay Lake to Poplar Lake

Cross Bay to Poplar PinThis Boundary Waters canoe route is a moderately difficult loop that can be done in either direction. Expect to see beautiful scenery and few people as you travel through this isolated area. Start at Cross Bay lake landing just down our driveway and travel through the interior of the BWCAW.  Tuscarora can provide your group shuttle service to or from the Poplar Lake area for an additional fee.

US Forest Service entry permit needed (route can be done in either direction): #50 Cross Bay Lake – or – #47 Lizz & Swamp Lakes

Maps for this route –

  • Fisher Maps – F12 & F13
  • McKenzie Maps – 7 & 4 & 2 – or – T1

(Route lines are an approximation and should not be used for navigation.)

This route starts at the Cross Bay Lake entry point just 300 yards up our driveway on the Cross Creek

  • Portage 50 rods into a small lake
  • Portage 40 rods into Ham Lake– a great lake to fish for walleye on and hang out with 4 campsites
  • Portage 24 rods into Cross Bay Lake – this portage has been moved and is often wrong on maps. Be sure to stop in the office so we can mark it correctly on your map. Cross Bay Lake is typically home to at least one moose every year. It has two campsites it is a great lake to stop and fish for walleye, northern, and bass.
  • Portage 56 rods into Rib Lake– one campsite
  • Portage 37 rods into Lower George Lake
  • Portage 28 rods into Karl Lake – one campsite
  • Paddle or portage into Long Island Lake– with 15 campsites, this beautiful destination lake is a wonderful place to spend some time. It is home to lake trout and northern pike. Fishing can be challenging but the swimming is great!
  • Portage 20 rods into Muskeg Lake – 1 campsite
  • Portage 185 rods into Kiskadinna Lake – 2 campsites
  • Portage 35 rods into Omega Lake – 4 campsites
  • Portage 20 rods into Henson Lake – 5 campsites
  • Portage 80 rods into Gaskin Lake – 10 campsites
  • Portage 102 rods into Horseshoe Lake – 7 campsites
  • Portage 20 rods into Caribou Lake – 8 campsites
  • Portage 73 rods into Lizz Lake
  • Portage 51 rods into Poplar Lake – paddle across to Windigo Lodge where we can pick up your group (shuttle fees may apply)

You extend this route by turning sour at Long Island lake.

  • Portage 5 rods into Long Island River
  • Portage 28 rods into Gordon Lake – two campsites
  • Portage 13 rods into Cherokee Lake – a large destination lake with 19 campsites
  • Portage 140 rods into Sitka Lake
  • Portage 105 rods into North Temperance Lake – 3 campsites
  • Portage 55 rods into South Temperance Lake – 4 campsites
  • Portage 10 rods into Brule Lake – a large lake with 30 campsites
  • Portage 30 rods into South Cone Lake – 1 campsite
  • Portage 25 rods into Middle Cone Lake – 1 campsite
  • Portage 5 rods into North Cone Lake
  • Portage 160 rods into Cliff Lake
  • Portage 14 rods into Wanihigan Lake
  • Portage 14 rods into Winchell Lake– 12 campsites on this long and windy lake which usually prevails from the northwest
  • Portage 44 rods into Omega Lake -or- portage 60 rods into Gaskin Lake and rejoin route 2 to end at Poplar Lake

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Questions or comments on this route?  Leave us a note!

4 Responses to Cross Bay Lake to Poplar Lake

  1. Lander says:

    Wondering your thoughts on where the laker depth location may be this spring, based on ice out timing & your weather conditions lately? Still up feeding shallow? Know anybody who’s been hooking any Lakers yet?
    Thanks

    • Rachel says:

      The water is still pretty cold and the trout are still shallow, just about everyone that’s been out has been catching trout. If you’re headed in on route 2 your best bet for trout is going to be Long Island and Winchell. If you would like to specifically target trout you may want to check out route 1, there are more lake trout lakes in that country and right now is the perfect time to target them.

      Thanks!

      • Lander says:

        Perfect. Thanks for the reply. Planning a run into Winchell…You have a preference on route into Winchell-from Brule(thru the Cones or Grassy route?) Heard interesting tales of the Grassy route being more portage than the maps offer. Seems to be half the distance and may have to battle less NW wind thru Grassy route.
        Much obliged!

        • Rachel says:

          I would recommend the Cones. Grassy is a dying lake so you don’t really paddle in it at all anymore. It’s just one long portage now. I’m sure it would be faster to go up through Grassy but I would rather paddle a little more. Have fun!

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