Photo Credit: Jake Stimpson

The Boundary Waters. Boundary to what? Are we going to fall off the earth? As ominous sounding as Minnesota’s flagship waterways might be, don’t let that deter you from visiting one of the most amazing natural areas in the country and what National Geographic called, “One of the 100 best adventures in America.“

A protected wilderness region straddling the US and Canadian border between Ontario and Minnesota, the Boundary Waters are part of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota, over 1 million acres in size, and extending nearly 150 miles along the international border. A vast network of bogs and glacially carved landscapes, weave in and out of the watery labyrinth for amazing canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and various other outdoor pursuits. With over 1200 miles of canoe routes, 12 hiking trails and over 2000 designated campsites; there are seemingly endless possibilities for recreation.

Photo Credit: Ryan Harvey

What to Know

You can organize your own trip or go with a trusted guide outfitter, but either way you can’t just jump in anywhere. You will need an approved permit with a designated date and entry point for your group, which the Forest Service provides in varying quotas per location, anywhere from 1 to 27 a day. If you’re not big on pre-planning for trips, this is one time it is necessary as reservations are made as early as January for the following summer.

Photo Credit: Brian Dearth

Look Out For

Among the flora and fauna, primordial pine, birch, aspens, and fairy-tale like forests, keep your eyes peeled for deer and moose foraging in the water, swooping eagles overhead, and even fresh wolf tracks. And that’s just on land. The crystal blue lakes themselves are the real heart of this pristine and protected area. One of the most peaceful, serene “back to basics” areas in the country, let nature do it’s thing and soothe your soul. Relax, disconnect, and just say, “aaah.”