Piragis Northwoods Outfitters
Boundary Waters Canoe Trips
105 North Central Avenue
Ely, Minnesota 55731

Why we do what we do:

Piragis Northwoods Company Canoe Trip Outfitting

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, when combined with Canada's Quetico Provincial Park, just across the border, offers over two million acres of island-studded lakes and pine-covered forests that are accessible only to canoeists. The Boundary Waters Wilderness a place of intriguing interest and unparalleled beauty. Hundreds of miles of water routes wind through hundreds of lakes, past dozens of cascading waterfalls and around scores of rushing rapids. The only way to see it is from a canoe. Motorboats are prohibited from all of the interior lakes and from most of the fringe lakes. No one is permitted to live in the BWCA and no man-made structures are allowed there. Created by glaciers and protected by the Federal Government, the Boundary Waters Wilderness is a very special, natural place.

Call Drew Brockett or Adam Macht
toll free at 1-800-223-6565 for more information about anything related to Canoe Trip Outfitting and the Boundary Waters

Outfitting Regulations & Rates

BWCAW Permit Reservation and Fees

In the BWCAW there is a
reservation fee $14 per permit ($6 Forest Service Reservation Fee + $8 Outfitting Service Fee), covering up to 9 people for your entire trip. In addition, there is a camping fee of $16 per adult per trip and $8 per youth 17 years old and under per trip. These fees must be paid when the permit reservation is made. Permits are issued on a daily basis for all locations and are more readily available for mid-week entry. All arrangements for your reservations will be made by us upon receipt of your trip plans. If you cancel your permit at least two days prior to your trip, you will be refunded all but $20 of the total permit cost.

Reserve your permit and gear today online

Call (800)223-6565 or e-mail Drew Brockett or Adam Macht for help routing and planning a great canoe trip...

Quetico Permit Reservation and Fees

In Quetico there is a permit fee of $30 per permit. In addition, there is a nightly camping fee per adult per night and per youth under 18 years of age per night. The $30 permit fee is non-refundable. Please call Adam or Drew at 1-800-223-6565 for more information about nightly camping fees in Quetico as these vary depending on location.

RABC- If you are taking a trip to Canada in the Quetico Provincial Park you may require a Remote Area Border Crossing Permit (RABC) -- $30 per adult or $30 per family. You will find the current info and application online direct from customs. Everyone entering at Prairie Portage will require this RABC as well as those entering by several other locations such as Clay Lake fly-ins and in some instances Lac La Croix fly ins. Please note: The RABC application process can take some time and campers requiring it are encouraged to apply well in advance of their trip. Click here to contact customs and download the form needed.


Choosing a wilderness entry point is the first and most important step in planning your route. The type of scenery, variety of wildlife, number of other travellers and the length of your trip will all depend on which entry point you choose.

There are more than 70 entry points into the Boundary Waters but only 29 into the Quetico Park.

The best way to assure that your trip is everything you want it to be is to contact one of our outfitting coordinators who will help you plan a route. If you prefer larger lakes with fewer portages, and you don't mind sharing your wilderness with other visitors, that's fine. Or maybe you prefer smaller lakes and tiny creeks, and you don't mind frequent portages? If you're in good shape and you want a long, tough portage right away to enable a quick escape from most other visitors, just tell us. If you prefer to camp on lakes with only one campsite, we'll help you find those lakes. If you want to be dropped off at an entry point far from Ely, that's just fine with us, too. We'll take you anywhere you want to go. We'll help you find an entry point and a route that suits the skills and desires of your group.

What's right for one group is not always right for another. That's why every route we plan is different from all other routes. A map of the proposed route marked with highlights and other useful notes will be sent to you in advance of your scheduled arrival.

BWCAW Entry Points

Quetico Entry Points

Camping Regulations

BWCAW Rules and Regulations

You must enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) at the entry point and on the date shown on your permit. You may not enter/re-enter at a different point or date using this permit. Permit and stubs become invalid when the trip leader exits the wilderness.

Nine (9) people and four (4) watercraft are the maximum amount allowed gathered together in the wilderness. You may not exceed this limit at any time or anywhere (on water, portages, or campsites) in the BWCAW. Smaller groups increase the wilderness experience of you, those traveling around you, and decrease the impacts made on nature.

Use latrines at designated campsites. Latrines are not garbage cans and should be used for the intended purpose only. Everything else you pack in should be packed out and never put down the latrines. If you are not near a latrine, dig a small hole 6 to 8 inches deep and at least 150 feet or more back from the water’s edge. Fill the hole and cover with needles and leaves when finished. Bathe and wash dishes at least 150 feet away from water sources (rivers, lakes, streams, marshes). All soaps pollute water, including soap marked as “biodegradable”.

Cans and glass bottles are not allowed. Fuel, insect repellent, medicines, personal toilet articles, and items other than food and beverages may be kept in their original containers. Food may be packaged into plastic containers which must be packed out at the end of the trip.

Dispose of fish remains by traveling well away from shorelines, campsites, trails, and portages. Pack out live bait and other food leftovers at the end of the trip.

Fires are allowed within the steel fire grates at designated campsites unless campfire restrictions are in place. If there are restrictions you may be required to use a camp stove. Small camp stove may be a better idea as it heats food quickly, has less impact than a fire, and comes in handy during rainy weather. When making a fire only use dead wood found lying on the
ground; collect it away from campsites, portages, and shorelines to prevent enlarging and defacing these areas. Don’t bring wood from home or out of state. It is illegal to cut live vegetation for any reason. Drown your fire with water anytime you are going to be away from camp or at bedtime. Stir the ashes until they are cold to touch with a bare hand. It is also illegal to burn trash, make sure it is packed out with you.

Camp only at Forest Service designated campsites that have steel fire grates and wilderness latrines. You may camp up to fourteen (14) consecutive days on a specific site. All members of a permit group must camp together at one site. After you break camp check to make sure everything is packed up and your campsite is clear of litter.

Only watercraft and equipment used in connection with your current visit may be stored and left unattended, until you leave the BWCAW. All equipment and personal property must be carried out with you at the end of you trip.

Leave archaeological, historical, and rock painting sites undisturbed. The use of metal detectors in prohibited in the Wilderness.

Dogs impact wildlife and barking intrudes on the experience of others. So dogs must be in control at all times. Dispose of fecal matter 150 feet away from water sources, campsites, portages, or deposit in a latrine.

Discharging a firearm is prohibited within 150 yards of a campsite, occupied area, and in a manner or location that places people and their property at risk or danger. State game laws apply in the BWCAW. Fireworks of any kind are illegal.

Motorized watercraft meeting specific horsepower limitations are allowed on designated routes and lakes only. NO other motorized or mechanical equipment (including pontoon boats, sailboats, ATV’S, sailboards, etc) is allowed. Motors may not be used or in possession on any paddle-only
lake. Portage wheels or mechanical assistance are only permitted over the following areas: International Boundary, Four-Mile Portage, Fall-Newton-Pipestone and Back Bay Portages into Basswood Lake, Prairie Portage, and Vermilion-Trout Lake Portage.

-All of the above are enforceable United States Forest Service
Remember to Leave No Trace while traveling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in order to protect this special place for future generations.


We have Minnesota fishing licenses available for sale and a selection of lures and tackle that have proven successful, all for modest fees.

Fishing Licenses in Canada:

Fishing Licenses are no longer available at the Ranger Stations. Licences can now be obtained online at www.ontario.ca/outdoorscard. Licences can also be obtained over the phone by calling 1-800-288-1155 or in person at issuer locations.

Quetico Licensing Help Line 1-800-387-7011

Contact Drew Brockett or Adam Macht


Payment of cash, check, travellers check, American Express, Master Card, Visa, or Discover Card will be accepted for your convenience. Trips and reservations cancelled at least fourteen days in advance will be refunded deposit less $50. No deposit is refunded for trips or reservations cancelled within two weeks of scheduled departure.

If the trip should be terminated early we will be pleased to refund everything but the last two days, on equipment only.

Quick Links for your Convenience:

How do I reserve gear, canoes and permits online?:
Use our quick and easy online service to reserve your permit and gear today
What Gear is supplied? What do I need to Bring:
Boundary Waters Canoe Camping Gear Lists
What will we eat?:
Select your meals from our trip menu options
What should I expect from the weather?:
Ely Area Average Temperatures and Precipitation


Contact Drew Brockett or Adam Macht

Piragis Northwoods Company your complete online paddling source.

Piragis Northwoods Company
105 N. Central Avenue   Ely, Minnesota, 55731
Call (800)223-6565 for a free canoe consult

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