Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6 – The Complete Guide

Kids standing on the ice at the boat launch for Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6

Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6 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 part of the small, closed off section of the BWCA west of Burntside Lake and south of the Echo Trail.

Entry Point #6 Map – Slim Lake BWCA

Below is a map of Slim Lake, which is a 312 acre lake with a maximum depth of 49 feet.

General Information

Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6 offers access to the Western portion of the BWCAW via a lesser-known entry point. The area around Slim Lake is made up of mostly small lakes with easy access from the entry point, which makes it great for beginners and families with young children.

This portion of the Boundary Waters is not separated from the main section by the Echo Trail, which is an old forest road turned county road running from Ely to Cook. As a result, route options are limited.

Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6 - Kids looking at Forest Service Sign
Sign at Slim Lake Entry Point #6
PermitsTwo entry permits granted per calendar day (May 1st – September 30th).
AccessLakeside canoe landing with small portage. Access from North Arm Road.
GPS CoordinatesLatitude: 47.99582 Longitude: -91.95993
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)
FacilitiesParking Lot with overflow parking across the street; bathroom at Public Landing across N Arm Rd; maps and signage; No campsites
MapsFisher F-p; McKenzie #16
Slim Lake Entry Point #6 - Primary Parking Lot
Main Parking Lot at Slim Lake Entry Point

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 pickup locations 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 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 Entry point #6 (Slim Lake). 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 evenign 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 Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6

Directions from Ely, MN to Slim Lake

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 interesction with the Echo Trail/Ely-Buycks Rd. Take a right.

Continue on the Echo Trail for 8.6 miles until you come to N Arm Road. Rake a Left. You will see a small brown sign with a canoe painted on it after 1.8 miles. Turn right. You will drive up a narrow forest road and arrive at two parking lots for Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6.

Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6 signage for turn on forest road
Turn right onto Forest Road leading to the Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point parking lots

Road Conditions and Google Maps

All roads leading from Ely to the Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6 are paved, apart from the short stretch from N Arm Road to the parking lot. You will not need 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 ton of options 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 are two parking lots for Slim Lake Entry Point #6. You can also park across the street at the public boat landing if needed.

Overflow Parking Lot at Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6

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.

Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6 Trip/Route Options:

Hiking the portage trail at Slim Lake BWCA Entry Point #6

Slim Lake Entry Point is in a part of the BWCA that is cut off from the larger acreage, so route options are limited. That being said, we think you’ll find plenty to do!

Option 1: Slim Lake Base Camp

A popular option is to find one of the campsites on Slim Lake and stay there. This avoids a long portage (501 rods) from Hook to Big Rice Lake. You can still day trip to Rice Lake, Hook Lake and Keneu Lake.

Option 2: Big Rice Lake and beyond

Another option is to head into Big Rice Lake. The challenge is that this lake only has one campsite, so if you survive the 501 rod portage, you may have to continue to Lapond Lake and beyond.

From Big Rice Lake you can go as far as your heart desires. One downside is once you get to Lapond Lake, you’ll run into canoists from Entry Point #7. Then you’re fighting to get over to Big Moose Lake where there are more campsites (and another 470 rod portage).

Keep in mind, if you do brave those portages, you have to take the back as there isn’t a great loop option to get back to Slim Lake!

Fishing Information

We’ll be honest, this is probably not the best entry point if you are looking to fish, especially for anything but Northern Pike. Slim Lake itself has most of the BWCA game fish, but the rest of the easily accessible lakes offer pretty poor fishing opportunities.

Lake NameKnown Sport Fish Species
Slim LakeWalleye, Northern Pike, Perch, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish
Rice LakeNorthern Pike
Hook LakeNorthern Pike, Perch
Keneu LakeNorthern Pike
Big Rice LakeNorthern Pike, Perch
Lapond LakeNorthern Pike

Many lakes now have smallmouth bass populations and perch are also found in most lakes, but rarely targeted. 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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