8 Best Guided Canoe Trip Companies In The Boundary Waters

Take a wilderness vacation in the Boundary Waters! Going guided eliminates the challenge of selecting a route, arranging permits, preparing a menu, and lining up canoeing and camping gear. You’ll also benefit from local knowledge and a more intimate backcountry experience, with the opportunity to learn wilderness skills and travel safely.

Guided trips are perfect for novices, families and individuals looking to join a group. There are plenty of options for Boundary Waters guided canoe trips. Here’s a glimpse of what you have to choose from.

[ This article is part of our Ultimate Guide To Canoeing The Boundary Waters. Find all the resources you need to plan a paddle trip in the BWCA.]

two canoeists raise their paddles in celebration on a calm, glassy lake
Photo: Bryan Van Veldhuizen // @bvtm

Border Lakes Tour Company

Looking to access the Boundary Waters from the east, via Minnesota’s Highway 61? Border Lakes Tour Company is a Grand Marais-based outfitter that offers a range of day and multiday guided trips, making for the perfect introduction to the Boundary Waters for beginners.

Clearwater Outfitters

Located on the Gunflint trail, Clearwater Outfitters delivers a range of custom guided canoe trips. Bring your own group and objectives and the outfitter will develop an all-inclusive canoe tour that meets your needs. Price per person varies with group size; a four-day trip for four people costs $1,240 per person.

A loon flaps its wings in Boundary Waters
Photo: Britta Bjur // @brittabjur

Ely Outfitting Company

This Ely-based outfitter offers personalized guided canoe trips for groups of up to eight, ranging from two to eight days, with longer expeditions available. Ely Outfitting Company guides will teach you the camping and paddling skills you’ll need for future trips, while providing insight into the local history and your natural surroundings. Price per person varies with group size; a four-day trip for four people costs $870 per person.

Moose Track Adventures

Consider Ely-based Moose Track Adventures if you’re a diehard angler looking for an all-inclusive, guided Boundary Waters canoe trip with lots of great fishing and an insider scoop. Price per person varies with group size; a four-day trip for four people costs $857 per person.

four canoes tied up on a glassy lake at dawn
Photo: Anthony Pompa // @anthony_pompa @truenorthexp

Piragis Northwoods

This long-standing Ely-based outfitter provides custom trips for groups as well as scheduled guided canoe trips with unique themes, including a women’s-only canoe trip, a wolf-howl canoe trip, and a guided canoe trip with special guest Cliff Jacobson, a popular canoe instructor. Prices for a one-week trip range from $1,395 to $1,695 per person. Piragis also offers a practical “Jump Start” guide service, which includes a one-day primer with a professional guide to set you off on a successful trip.

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply

Based in Grand Marais, Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply offers Boundary Waters canoe day trips starting at $150 per person and a four-day guided kayak camping trip on sprawling Saganaga Lake starting at $725 per person.

dramatic sunset over a lake at Boundary Waters
Photo: Britta Bjur // @brittabjur

Way to Go Outfitters

Looking for a canoe day trip while visiting Ely? Way to Go Adventures offers half- and full-day outings. Expect to pay $285 for a four-hour, two-person trip and $425 for an eight-hour, two-person trip.

Wilderness Inquiry

This long-standing Boundary Waters guide service delivers a five-day “classic” canoe trip on Brule and Winchell lakes that lives up to its description. Prices with Wilderness Inquiry start at $775 per person with several departure dates offered through the summer months.



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