Boundary Waters Canoe Adventure

Destination: Boundary Waters, Minnesota

| Activities: Canoeing

After the summer crowds have left, the quiet beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) rewards paddlers who explore the winding rivers, scenic lakes, and deep woodlands of this protected area. In September the air is crisp and the fall colors are starting. On our autumn canoe journey, we travel through a chain of lakes, picking a route that fits our desire to balance seeing as much as possible with having time to relax. Please join us for a wonderful autumn adventure!


  • Camping in the colorful Minnesotan woods of golden aspens and red sugar maples
  • Reveling in the peace and quiet of the pristine lakes
  • Learning and honing wilderness skills
  • Getting to swim and relax in the company of new found friends
  • Enjoying hearty camping meals after a wonderful day of canoeing and portaging

Departures and Prices

September 07 to September 13, 2022
$2795.00 - FULL
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  • 2 experienced AGC guides
  • Two nights lodging in a comfortable bunkhouse
  • All group gear and equipment (canoes, paddles, life jackets, tents, sleeping bags, pads, cookware, stoves) Participants are welcome to bring their own sleeping bag and pads
  • All meals from dinner on day 1 through breakfast on the last day
  • Round-trip transportation between Duluth, MN and Ely, MN
  • Luggage transport
Not included: Transportation from your home to and from Duluth, MN, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities and travel insurance.

Trip Documents

Trip Intro

This trip is great for any woman in basic good health. Beginning canoeists are offered the training they need to build new skills with confidence. More experienced paddlers have ample opportunity to improve their techniques and learn new wilderness living and traveling skills.

Each day's mileage will depend on weather, terrain conditions, campsite availability and group ability. The portaging takes place on wooded trails, full of roots and rocks that is inevitably slippery in places. This is an excellent trip for both novice and experienced canoe paddlers and for anyone comfortable with camping that wants to explore a beautiful corner of the country.

Our first and last night will be spent in a simple but sturdy bunkhouse. Each participant will have her own bottom bunk. There are shared bathrooms. While camping we will utilize 2-4 person tents, provided by our outfitter. Due to the campground sizes restrictions, it is not possible for participants to each bring their own tent.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Fly or drive to Duluth and meet the group at 1pm at the airport. We’ll do brief introductions before jumping into the vans and heading north 2 hours to the quaint town of Ely, Minnesota. This afternoon and evening we’ll get an overview of canoeing, portaging and camping basics and then have a group dinner in town. Overnight: Voyageur’s North Bunkhouse. (D)
After we fuel up on breakfast, we will finish getting our gear ready before heading to our put-in point on the water. Though we don’t have to pack as light as we would on a backpacking trip, portaging - or carrying - the canoe and gear adds up! Participants can leave their travel clothes and other items in the AGC vans during the trip. Never paddled a canoe before? No problem. We’ll teach you everything you need to know. Love canoeing already and feel at home on the water? This is still a great trip for you as we’ll explore an incredible wilderness area that beginners and experts alike will enjoy. Overnight: Camping (B, L, D)
Boundary Water Canoe Area permits are unique in that we only need to specify where we’re starting. Since most campsites are first come first serve we have flexibility with our day to day itinerary. This gives us the freedom to stay more than one night in a gorgeous site or explore farther if we feel like it. Each day’s mileage and portaging will depend on the AGC guides’ recommendations, the weather and how the group is feeling. With 7 participants and 2 guides, we will be in mostly 2 person canoes with one 3 person canoe. The third bench in this larger canoe is a rest spot and can rotate among participants. Overnight: camping (B, L, D)
With over one million acres of protected and pristine forests, lakes and rivers, there is abundant wildlife, diverse fauna and endless places to explore in the Boundary Waters. The best part? We won’t be sharing any part of our route with motorized boats. Some call canoeing a “silent sport” but we’ll be laughing too much. From moose and deer to bald eagles and loons, the photos from your trip will only capture a sliver of the wild beauty you’ll encounter. Overnight: camping (B, L, D)
Wake with the sunrise, sleep when the stars come out, rinse, repeat. Each day you’ll have time to swim or read a good book, but don’t worry! We’ll also get a good work out. Portaging the canoes and gear is hard work but will lead us to incredible lakes, farther from the crowds and closer to nature. We will be sleeping in 2-3 person tents with sleeping bags/pads provided by our outfitter. (You are also welcome to bring your own sleeping bag and pad, please check with AGC that it fits the appropriate criteria first) Overnight: camping (B, L, D)
Sadly, today is our last day on these calming waters so we’ll be sure to soak up as much as possible. We’ll canoe our way to the pre arranged pick up point and be driven back to our outfitters. After a hot shower (that feels positively heavenly after a few days in the woods), we’ll head into town for a celebratory dinner, toasting all we have seen and accomplished together. Overnight: Voyageurs North Bunkhouse (B, L, D)
After a final hearty breakfast we’ll drive south to Duluth. You can plan your flight home for anytime after 12pm. (B)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.


(3 reviews)
5 Food
4.7 Lodging
5 Safety
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Phyllis T.
0 months ago

The place and a chance to canoe.

Susan R.
0 months ago

No rating can express the inner joy & peace that comes from being in the Boundary Waters. Travelling with like-minded women and two of the best guides I've ever had, tops any expectation one might have.

Judith L.
0 months ago

This was my second trip to the Boundary Waters. The first was in 2002, with AGC, and my memories were of a wonderful trip. I have wanted to go back for a long time. This trip not only confirmed all my memories, but exceeded my expectations and has now made new memories. I remember the loons and their haunting calls, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the lovely campsites, the calm and peaceful lakes with few people, the portages. We did a different route than my last trip. I enjoyed Ely, and the Wolf Center there is not to be missed. This trip also added one day of wind for challenging, yet great learning and paddling, and for me, 20 years older than my first trip, nice physical challenge, but always just as much as I was willing and able to do. The guides were spectacular, as they were on the first trip. (I probably went with Deb 20 years ago, so no surprise about great guides! ) and my fellow participants were friendly, encouraging and fun to be with. I hope I get to return again.

  1. I've never camped before, is this the right trip for me?

    That depends, are you ok not showering for a few days? Would you be comfortable sleeping on the ground? (You'll have a sleeping pad, but it won't be as comfortable as a proper bed.) Are you ok sharing the confines of a tent with another person? Are you easy going when it comes to changing plans based on the weather? If your answers to those questions were "YES," then you'll do just fine on this trip!
  2. Where do we eat?

    The guides will be cooking the meals while camping; two dinners will be at restaurants where you can order off the menu.
  3. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    We can accommodate vegetarian and "simple" allergies (i.e. allergic to just one thing like shellfish or mushrooms). Because of the nature of backcountry cooking, we cannot guarantee zero cross-contamination between vegetarian and non vegetarian meal preps, nor can we accommodate travelers with gluten or lactose intolerances.
  4. Do you guarantee excellent fall foliage?

    We wish we could! We can say that unless it is a highly unusual year, there will be fall foliage. But when the peak occurs and how intense it is varies from year to year.