The Border Route Trail is a 65-mile hiking trail that runs through the Boundary Waters. And specifically, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, or BWCAW, which lies between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. Many people canoe the BWCAW, but very few people hike the Border Route Trail, or BRT. And that’s a shame.
The BRT takes you up and down the cliffs that tower over the BWCAW, giving you an overview of the numerous lakes below. You can see beautiful sights from the seat of a kayak or canoe, it’s true. But if you love the scenery, why don’t you give the trail a try?
Hiking the Boundary Waters
If you’re willing to try hiking the Boundary Waters via the BRT, you need to be prepared. Since it’s so lightly traveled, the path can be very overgrown and difficult to navigate. In addition, it doesn’t help that the BWCAW is a wilderness area, where power tools aren’t allowed. This means maintainers have to trim back the fast-growing vegetation with hand saws and clippers, which is incredibly time-consuming.
Still, hiking the BRT is worth it because the scenery is unparalleled. If you don’t believe me, look at some photos!
If you’re into snowshoeing, it’s possible to snowshoe through this scenic area as well. I haven’t done so yet, so I’d ask locals for advice before heading out. One final option to consider is dog-sledding through the Boundary Waters. That may be cold, but it’ll be a lot easier!
My top clothing recommendation for hiking the BRT is a set of these calf sleeves. They are indispensable on trails like the BRT because they keep overgrown vegetation from scratching your legs to bits. Plus, they are warm when it’s cool or cold out. In warm weather, pairing these with shorts is much cooler than hiking in pants.
It’s also helpful to purchase a guidebook like this one.
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