South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77 – Complete Guide

Pictographs accessed via South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77

South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77 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 an 80 rod portage from a parking lot located on the Echo Trail, outside of Ely, MN.

Entry Point #77 Map – South Hegman Lake BWCA

Below is a map of South Hegman Lake, which is a 118 acre lake with a maximum depth of 55 feet.

General Information

South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #7 is a great option for viewing the Native American pictographs on North Hegman Lake. It begins with 80 rod portage from the parking lot to canoe launch in the BWCA.

Entry Point #77 offers two options, one via a long portage from Trease Lake into Angleworm (see Angleworm Lake information here), or a shorter portage into Little Bass Lake. Both provide plenty of canoe tripping options.

South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77 - Forest Service Signage
Sign at South Hegman Lake Entry Point #77
Permits1.5 (varies per day) entry permits granted per calendar day (May 1st – September 30th).
Access80 rod portage from parking lot. Access from Echo Trail
GPS CoordinatesLatitude: 48.03364 Longitude: -91.92500
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; vault toilet; 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 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 South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77. 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 South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77

South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77 - Portage in the winter
Portage from parking lot to South Hegman Lake

Directions from Ely, MN to South Hegman 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 10.5 miles. The parking lot for South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77 will be on your right.

Road Conditions and Google Maps

All roads leading from Ely to the South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77 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 South Hegman Lake Entry Point #77. It can get quite busy during peak season when there is a high volume of visitors.

South Hegman BWCA Entry Point #77 - Parking Lot in winter

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.

South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77 Trip/Route Options:

Stairs on the portage trail at South Hegman Lake in the Boundary Waters
Stairs on the portage trail at South Hegman Lake BWCA Entry Point #77

Option 1: Hegman or Little Bass Lake Base Camp

Because the longer route options from South Hegman Lake Entry Point are limited, many folks camp out on South Hegman, North Hegman, or Little Bass Lake. It would be a great option for a shorter weekend trip.

Option 2: Angleworm Lake

For folks that really want to visit Angleworm Lake, but do not want the 640 rod portage from Entry Point #20, there is an option to go from South Hegman Lake to North Hegman Lake (home of the pictographs), through Trease Lake, and then across a 357 rod portage to Angleworm Lake.

Option 3: Beyond Angleworm Lake

For longer trips, you will need to go past Angleworm Lake and do that portage twice (or exit out of Nels Lake or Mudrow Lake). You can get picked up at either lake OR canoe back to South Hegman to your car.

Angleworm opens up a large expanse of lakes that can lead all the way up to Crooked Lake. A write-up of some of those trip options can be found here.

Fishing Information

The fishing is decent on North and South Hegman Lakes, unless you are looking solely for walleye.

Lake NameKnown Sport Fish Species
South Hegman LakeNorthern Pike, Perch, Smallmouth Bass
North Hegman LakeWalleye, Northern Pike, Perch, Smallmouth Bass
Trease LakeUnknown
Angleworm LakeWalleye, Northern Pike, Perch
Little Bass LakeUnknown

Small mouth bass are found in some lakes, and there are no largemouth bass reported in this area of the BWCA. Trease and Little Bass do not have good fishing reports, so if you catch anything, let us know!

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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