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Oh, the Things You’ll See on a Day Trip

6/26/22 – Sawbill Lake is a great place to start a multi-day canoeing trip, but it’s also a perfect launching point for day trips into the wilderness. In addition to the BWCA entry point right here on Sawbill Lake, the Kawishiwi Lake, Baker Lake, Homer Lake, and Hog Creek entry points are all easily accessible by car and offer entry to areas of the Boundary Waters that are just out of striking distance from the Sawbill area.

Regardless of where day paddlers choose to start, the U.S. Forest Service still requires a day permit to be filled out by every group putting in. Day permits are available at every entry point inside of a cabinet by the canoe launch, conveniently letting paddlers access the wilderness without having to rush and reserve a multi-day permit weeks in advance of their trip. Fill out a slip (drop the Forest Service copy in the drop box inside the cabinet and keep yours in a dry, accessible place on your boat), and you’re all set to get out on the lake!

Day-tripping requires very little equipment – much less than needed on a multi-day trip. That 75 pound portage pack a paddler carries on a four day trip can be replaced with a small pack filled with fishing gear, sunscreen, and a tasty lunch. Additionally, without the worry of making it to a certain lake on a planned route, day trippers can relax on several lakes with lots of time to explore each one’s nooks and crannies. Leisurely swims, quality fishing, and the potential to see some wildlife are all wonderful pros of day-tripping that canoers paddling for multiple days could miss. The Sawbill crew loves to take advantage of the day trip’s flexibility, and often come back with great stories, good pictures, and if we’re lucky, a freshly caught walleye or two.

If a multi-day trip into the Boundary Waters doesn’t quite fit your situation, remember that day trips are always a fantastic option. And if you decide to use the Sawbill Campground as a base camp for your day-tripping adventures, the Sawbill Store always has extra s’more stuff that those folks on a four day expedition might have already run out of…


A good looking snapping turtle basking on Smoke Lake. Video taken by crew member Evan on a day trip last week.