Border Route Trail Log
This is an advanced wilderness trail, mainly for backpackers with abilities to follow a very minimally maintained trail. Maps and compasses are a must as the trail is often obscured by blow-down areas or overgrowth. The terrain is very difficult at times with a number of areas studded with glacial rock. In the summer, black flies and heat can make the trail uncomfortable. Other than that, it is fantastic hiking.
The Fall, and Spring are better times to hike because they provide cooler temperatures and better outlooks, due to less overgrowth. The Border Route Trail offers true solitude and a view of the deepest, most rugged parts of the BWCA. The trail can be picked up at either Gunflint Trail, or on the east at Rengo Road. The average time it takes to through hike the trail is seven to eight days. Many of the campsites are not exclusive to backpackers, and must be shared with canoeing travelers.
Starting from the west, The Border Rout
e heads towards Bridal Falls. The trail in this section offers a number of overlooks on Gunflint Lake to the north. Overgrowth in the summer can make this area difficult to traverse, as rocky patches are hidden under the leaves. The trail continues through a few controlled burn areas and then arrives at Bridal Falls. This is an excellent longer day-hike.
The route then moves along a number of bo
arder lakes. It dips below Rose Lake, skirts the northern edge of Clearwater Lake and continues east between John and MacFarland Lakes, heads south to Otter Lake and finishes with an eastern leg to the intersection of Swamp Ri
ver and the Otter Lake Forest Road. The trail passes a number of lookouts and also heads into thick birch and pine forests.
The Border Route Trail is a long, wilderness where safety concerns increase. An injury like a sprained ankle or broken
bone along the Border Route is days from help in any direction. Make sure to exercise safe hiking on the Border Route by always going in groups and notifying someone of your itinerary.