Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

USFS - state mapThe Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area inside the Superior National Forest of northeastern Minnesota. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, this million-acre tract of lakes and forest is internationally acclaimed for its natural beauty.  The Boundary Waters attracts anglers, canoeists, and those seeking a peaceful wilderness camping retreat year-round. 

BWCAW Entry Permits

The U.S. Forest Service uses a permit system from May 1 – September 30 each year to manage BWCAW usage during. A limited number of groups can enter the Boundary Waters at each designated Boundary Waters entry point. (Maximum group size is 9 people and 4 watercraft.) Popular entry points can fill up quickly, so it’s always best to nail down your trip dates and book that permit sooner than later.  

You can reserve your permit through  If you’re renting canoes from us, we’re happy to reserve your permit for you. If you’re making your own BWCAW permit reservation, be sure to list Tuscarora as your issuing station so we can issue your permit to you in our office.   

BWCAW Permit Fees 

  • $6 reservation fee (non-refundable)
  • $16/trip/adult user fee
  • $8/trip/youth user fee

BWCAW Rules & Regulations

To help protect and preserve the Boundary Waters for future generations, all BWCAW visitors must practice Leave No Trace ethics as well as a set of Boundary Waters specific rules and regulations. It is a federal offense to violate any of these rules.

To make sure visitors know what to expect, the U.S. Forest Service has a series of short, mandatory Leave No Trace education videos. You need to watch Part I and Part II with your group in the months and weeks leading up to your BWCAW trip.

You’ll watch the third and final Boundary Waters Leave No Trace education video in our office when you pick up your permit. All group members must be present to watch the video. We go over a quick rules and regulations quiz afterward the video to help clarify some of the regulations.   

Boundary Waters Fishing

You need a Minnesota fishing license to fish in the Boundary Waters. Find more information about fishing licenses on our Fishing page.