the Quetico

Sunset on Beaverhouse Lake in Quetico Provincial Park (via Wikipedia)

A million acres of wilderness on the American side of the border is just one part of the amazing Quetico-Superior ecosystem. Quetico Provincial Park comprises nearly 1.2 million acres on the other side of the Canadian border from the BWCAW. There are many similarities between the two areas, as both are managed for their wilderness character first and foremost, but there are also some significant differences.

Canoeists require permit reservations and may only enter the Quetico via six Ranger Stations which serve 21 entry points. It is possible to drive to three of these Ranger Stations: Dawson Trail, Atikokan, or Lac La Croix. One must portage and paddle to Beaverhouse, and paddle or take a tow from an outfitter to Cache Bay or Prairie Portage. Drive-in camping is available only at the Dawson Trail campground; yurt camping is available in this campground.

One may also cross into Quetico Provincial Park from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This requires a BWCAW entry permit, a Quetico entry permit, and a Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permit. Acquiring all of these permits takes some time, especially the RABC permit, so plan ahead if you want a combined BWCAW and Quetico trip.

Visitor numbers

Quetico sees far fewer visitors every year than the BWCAW does. While the BWCAW regularly sees visitor numbers above 200,000, Quetico only allows one tenth of the number of groups to enter per day as the BWCAW does.


Group size is limited to 9 members. Containers of fuel, insect repellent, medicines, personal toilet articles, and other items that are not food or beverage are the only cans or bottles that may be brought into Quetico. It is an offense to possess non-burnable and non-reusable food or beverage containers. Mechanized devices such as power saws, generators, ice augers, or portage wheels are prohibited. It is also illegal to damage live trees and other plants.

New fishing regulations came into effect on 1 January 2008. These regulations state that only barbless hooks and artificial bait are permitted in the Park. This means that no live or dead organic bait can be used in the park, including but not limited to leeches, worms, and salted minnows. Read more about Ontario’s fishing regulations at this page.

Campsites and portages

The park includes more than 2,000 unofficial, unimproved wilderness campsites spread throughout more than 600 lakes.