Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20 – The Complete Guide

Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20

Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20 is in the Kawishiwi District of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA or BWCAW) in Northern Minnesota, at the westernmost edge of the wilderness. It is accessed via a long portage from the Echo Trail, outside of Ely, MN.

Entry Point #20 Map – Angleworm Lake BWCA

Below is a map of Angleworm Lake, which is a 144 acre lake with a maximum depth of 11 feet.

General Information

Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20 is not for the feint of heart. It begins with the longest parking lot to lake portage in the BWCA, a gnarly 640 rod portage with tons of elevation change. To add insult to injury, a beaver dammed up Spring Creek, so chances are you are going to have wet feet!

Entry Point #20 offers access to a great string of small lakes including Thunder Lake, Beartrap Lake, Gun Lake, Boot Lake, and Fourtown Lake. If you are a glutton for punishment you can also paddle Trease Lake, Hardtack Lake, and North Hegman Lake (and its pictographs), however those all require another 357 rod portage!

You can also create a much larger trek up to Crooked Lake on the US/Canadian border, or a little east to Basswood Lake.

Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20 - Toilet
Toilet at Angleworm Lake Entry Point #20
PermitsTwo entry permits granted per calendar day (May 1st – September 30th).
Access640 rod portage from parking lot. Access from Echo Trail
GPS CoordinatesLatitude: 48.06588 Longitude: -91.93028
Closest Ranger StationKawishiwi Ranger Station, 1393 MN-169, Ely, MN 55731, 218-365-7600
Closest OutfittersEly Outfitting Company (Ely); Ely Outfitters (Ely), Echo Trail Outfitters (Ely)
FacilitiesSmall parking lot; outhouse style bathroom; maps and signage; No campsites
MapsFisher F-9, F-16; McKenzie #11

Permit Pickup Options

There are a ton of BWCA Permit Issuing Stations in the Kawishiwi Ranger District. You must choose your permit pickup location when reserving your permit.

A full list of permit issuing stations with a map can be found here.

Permit Pickup Rules and Regulations

Make sure you double-check hours, availability, etc. prior to finalizing your permits at www.recreation.gov. You can call the Kawishiwi Ranger Station and if you need to change your pickup location.

Permits can only be picked up on your entry date or ONE DAY prior. Only the permit holder or alternate permit holder specified at the time of reservation can pick up the permit, and a photo ID is required.

Show up at least a half hour before your permit issuance location closes. You do not want to arrive to find it closed or unable to help!

Our Preferred Permit Issuing Station

We do not have a preferred issuing station for Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20. Almost every outfitter and resort in the area is also a BWCA Permit Issuing Station. As a result, we pick up our permits either a)from the outfitting service that we are using or b) from wherever we are camping/sleeping the night before we enter.

We often arrive late on Friday evenings and like to be on the water by dawn the following morning, so need issuing stations with late evening hours.

Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters, Voyageur North Outfitters, and Big Lake Wilderness Lodge have historically maintained hours until 9 or 10PM, which we love!

How To Get to Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20

Angleworm Lake canoe launch after long portage from entry point #20
Frozen canoe launch after the epic Angleworm Lake portage

Directions from Ely, MN to Angleworm Lake Entry Point

From downtown Ely, MN, take MN-169N/E Sheridan Street east for about 2.2 miles to Grant McMahan Blvd. You will see signs for the Echo Trail and Shagawa Lake. Go left.

Continue on Grant McMahan Blvd for 2.3 miles until you get to the intersection with the Echo Trail/Ely-Buycks Rd. Take a right.

Continue on the Echo Trail for 12.8 miles. The parking lot for Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20 will be on your right.

Road Conditions and Google Maps

All roads leading from Ely to the Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20 are paved, so you will not need a 4×4.

We recommend downloading the section of map on Google Maps directly to your phone. This way, you can continue to use Google Maps once you leave the cellphone coverage area, which shouldn’t happen, but could!

Last Stops for Food, Drinks, & Supplies

Ely, MN is a small town with a ton of options for food, drink, and lodging. It is by and large one of our favorite towns to visit.

Gas  – There are BP, Holiday, Cenex, Lucky 7 gas stations, among others.

Bait – There are more bait shops than you can shake a finger at. We love Arrowhead Outdoors.

Boathouse Brewpub – Excellent option for real food and locally brewed beer.

Insula Restaurant – Higher-end grub that is always worth the stop. Probably better after a long, warm shower though…

Parking Options

There is one parking lot for Angleworm Lake Entry Point #20. It can get quite busy during peak season when there is a high volume of visitors, both canoeists and folks hiking the Angleworm Trail.

Parkign Lot at Angleworm Lake Entry Point in the Boundary Waters
Main Parking Lot at Angleworm Lake Entry Point

Camping Options

We are dirtbags and tend to camp in the Entry Point parking lot to ensure an early start on our trips.

That being said, there are a ton of Superior Forest Campgrounds in the area, as well as resorts and formal campgrounds. Fenske Lake Resort and Big Lake Wilderness Lodge are close.

Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20 Trip/Route Options:

Hiking the portage trail at Angleworm Lake BWCA Entry Point #20

Option 1: Angleworm Lake Base Camp

A popular option is to find one of the campsites on Angleworm Lake and stay there. This allows you to save your legs for the portage home! You can still day-trip to Thunder Lake, Beartrap Lake, Gun Lake, Boot Lake, and Fourtown Lake.

Option 2: Crooked Lake Loop

A longer options is to go north to Crooked Lake, paddle west through the lake, and come back down to Angleworm. This is a big trip!. A third option would be to follow the same steps, but stop at Gun Lake and explore that area.

To get to Crooked Lake, Paddle north out of Angleworm to Home Lake. Then over to Gull Lake. Then up to Mudhole Lake, Thunder Lake, and Beartrap Lake. Finally, paddle the Beartrap River up to Sunday Lake and finally portage into Crooked Lake!

To get home, paddle Papoose Creek to Papoose Lake. Then down to Chippewa Lake, Niki Lake, and Wagosh Lake. Take the 327 rod portage down to Gun Lake. Then you can follow your path back through Gull Lake and Home Lake back to Angleworm.

Fishing Information

Fishing is pretty good in this part of the BWCA. Many lakes have nice walleye populations, and a couple have sunfish and bluegill. This is not a great area for smallmouth bass, as they have not yet taken up residence.

Lake NameKnown Sport Fish Species
Angleworm LakeWalleye, Northern Pike, Perch
Home LakeWalleye, Northern Pike, Perch
Gull LakeNorthern Pike, Perch, Sunfish
Gun LakeWalleye, Northern Pike, Sunfish, Bluegill
Thunder LakeWalleye, Northern Pike
Beartrap LakeWalleye, Northern Pike, Sunfish

Small mouth bass are scarce, and there are no largemouth bass reported in this area of the BWCA.

If you are looking for a more detailed guide to fishing in Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, purchase a copy of Michael Furtman’s The New Boundary Waters and Quetico Fishing Guide. It is a must-have for anyone fishing or attempting to fish in the BWCA.

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