The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a world-renowned million-acre network of lakes, rivers and connecting overland portages along the Canadian border. Its pristine interior has no buildings, no roads, no boat motors, no electricity and no running water. Your nearest neighbor might be at a campsite miles away.
Canoe trip outfitters operate out of Ely on the western end, and the Gunflint Trail on the eastern end, providing lightweight canoes, gear and complete provisions for a trip of a few days or longer. They’ll also map out a custom trip for you, secure the needed permits, and give you all the tips you need. Alternately you can pack your own gear, getting your permit, maps, and help planning your trip from Superior National Forest, which manages the wilderness.
The Superior Hiking Trail is Minnesota’s premier hiking experience. Its 310-mile route begins near Jay Cooke State Park south of Duluth and follows the North Shore of Lake Superior to the Pigeon River on the Canadian border. The path mainly follows the ridgeline high above Lake Superior, with great views of the lake from rock outcroppings, and footbridges crossing numerous rivers and waterfalls.
It’s great for backpack camping and day hikes alike, with 93 backcountry campsites and many trailheads with parking lots along the way. Another option is the Superior Hiking Shuttle, with scheduled pickups at 52 points along the route.