Heading Up To The Echo Trail In Northern Minnesota

A slice of heaven on Earth...
A slice of heaven on Earth…

Another Boundary Waters Canoe Area trip is set for this next month in August.  However, I am not 100 percent sure how much canoeing I will be doing.  You see, my father is renting a cabin on one of the entry lakes that allows motorized boats.  I’m tagging along for a few days with him and other family members.

While we will be in the area of the BWCA, I will not actually be paddling into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness… at least not at first… I’m toying with the idea of sticking around for a few extra days after my family’s vacation and do a two or three night solo trip into the BWCA.  I really like the idea of sneaking in a mid-summer BWCA trip, but I am not sure I can get away from work for those few extra days.

Echo Trail Family Trip

Usually once per year, in the summer months, my father will go all out and rent a nice cabin or a houseboat in the upper mid-west or Ontario, Canada.  This year he’s planning a cabin getaway to a swank woodsy lodge along the Echo Trail north of Ely, Minnesota.

There will be lots to do.  Fishing, hiking, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, paddle boards, swimming, grilling out, fish-fries, bumming around Ely…  you get the idea.

I used to live in Ely back in my late teens while I attended Vermilion Community College for Conversation Law Enforcement.  It was a fun time in my life.  I loved living there.  As you can imagine my free time was pretty much spent out in the woods or canoeing.  A lot of my time was spent hiking and paddling along the Echo Trail.

It will be fun to be back in that area again with my family.

What Is The Echo Trail?

So what is the Echo Trail?  The name itself implies it is a trail… and that is correct, to a certain degree.  It’s actually just a narrow paved road with some areas being gravel, that is roughly 72 miles long.

It stretches in a mostly northerly direction away from Ely area, cutting through the Superior National Forest and Kabetogama State Forest.  Along the trail there are various entry points people can use to access the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area.

Of course there are various types of campgrounds along the way, hiking trails, fishing lakes, resorts, outfitters, and similar things.

I’ll Be Test Paddling A Few Canoes!

One of the things I am looking forward on this family vacation is the opportunity to test paddle a few canoes.  Ely is canoe country!  There are scores of retailers in the area around the BWCA that sell canoes canoe tripping gear.  It’s no secret I have been scheming to buy a new canoe.

I currently have a 17 aluminum ‘battlecanoe’… no idea how old it is.  That beast can take a beating, but it’s heavy and not what I want to haul around and do solo trips in.  I really want to get a lightweight solo canoe, or a lightweight tandem canoe that can also be used easily as a solo.

I am seriously considering the Wenonah Wilderness, Prism or Solo Plus.  But I am also eyeing the Souris River Q16 or Tranquility.

Ideally I would like to buy a new canoe by the spring of 2019.  Slowly I am adding money to a canoe fund…



TD is the owner and publisher of TD All Outdoors. He has been enjoying the outdoors since since he was a child. Over the years he has spent as much time as he can solo wilderness canoe tripping, overlanding, hiking, fishing, bushcrafting, hunting, hammock camping, and more. Aside from this blog, he also own his own coffee brand, www.folklore-coffee.com.

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