The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is located in the northern third of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota. Approximately 1.1 million acres in size, it extends nearly 150 miles along the international boundary adjacent to Canada's Quetico Provincial Park and is bordered on the west by Voyageurs National Park.
The BWCAW offers more than 1,200 miles of canoe routes, 11 hiking trails and approximately 2,000 designated campsites.
The area was set aside in 1926 to preserve its primitive character and was made a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1964. Visitors can canoe, portage and camp in the spirit of the french voyageurs of 200 years ago.
Any group taking an overnight paddle, motor or hiking trip, or a motorized day use trip into the BWCAW from May through September is required to obtain a quota permit.
Reservations are recommended since there are a limited number of quota permits available for each entry point. Self-issued permits are required year-round for all non-motorized day use visitors and for all overnight visitors entering the BWCAW between October and April. Self-issued permits are free and available at the entry point or Forest Service ranger stations.