Arrive at MSP airport by 1pm in time to travel to Ely for the evening… and let the adventure begin! Once in Ely (our launch point), we’ll grab some dinner (included), get some trip information from our guides, and enjoy the hospitality of our outfitter’s rustic bunkhouses to rest up for the journey ahead!
It’s time to hit the water! We’ll grab an early breakfast in Ely, and head to the outfitter to receive our gear and final routing information. So that we can see as much as possible, we’ll receive a motor boat tow to the Minnesota / Canada border where we’ll canoe up the Knife River, have lunch on the water, and set up camp in time to explore, light a fire, and enjoy the evening together.
We’ll have a casual wake-up and make breakfast at camp, then it’s time to round up the gear and set out for the next campsite. We’ll have lunch on the water, and even take a short hike to a waterfall on day three. After we make our way to the campsite for the evening, we’ll set up camp, feast on dinner, and relax and recount our adventure by the fire!
On day 5, we’ll wake up for an early breakfast, pack things up, and take the short journey back to the motor boat tow. Then it’s off to grab a bite in Ely, and head to the airport in the Twin Cities to say our goodbyes around 5:30p.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) spans over a million acres of glaciated bedrock, lush pine forests, and thousands of island-dotted pristine lakes just south of the Canadian border in Northeastern Minnesota. Extending nearly 150 miles along the International Boundary adjacent to Quetico Provincial Park, wilderness travelers find solitude, adventure, exceptional fishing, and a special connection with nature.
The hallmark of this region is a network of primarily small and medium size lakes and rivers connected by portage paths. Great glaciers left behind these lakes, and a rugged topography of exposed bedrock, granite cliffs, rocky shorelines and sand beaches.
The 1,200 miles of BWCAW canoe routes are historic travel ways of native peoples. You will step back in time traveling the historic routes of the native Sioux and Chippewa people, as well as early explorers, French Voyageurs, trappers, and prospectors. The BWCAW appears mostly untouched by human hands – there are no roads, signs, docks, cabins, or lodges. And motors are prohibited in the interior of the BWCAW.
The US Forest Service manages the BWCAW, and visitors must obtain an entry permit and follow certain rules and regulations.
"Mendel and his crew have created something special with this. It manages to be thrilling, adventurous, inclusive and safe all at the same time. I had a blast and I can't wait for my next geek adventure." - Cameron Cutler
We’ll spend the night at bunkhouses in Ely on day 1.
Then, look forward to some awesome campsites. We’ll be camping with high quality gear (all provided by our outfitter), and our campsites will be next to the water with beautiful scenery. The supplies provided will make for a luxurious camping experience. Complete with camping stoves, coffee presses, and sleeping pads… we’ll have everything we need to completely enjoy the camping experience. We’ll also have three awesome meals each day. To see what meals will be provided, check out the food section!
Not an experienced camper? Not a problem at all. As long as you’re willing to participate and learn, this is the perfect opportunity for your maiden camping voyage.
"I never wanted this event to end because it felt like the beginnings of some really excellent friendships. Hiking, sitting around a bonfire, laughing and eating with everyone was amazing and inclusive." - Jackie M.
Solo travelers are welcome and will be roomed in shared accommodations based on gender preferences (if you'd like to be roomed with a companion, select a shared ticket and let us know your friend's name after registration). If there are no shared accommodations available, no additional fee will be charged as a single supplement. If you are a solo traveler and prefer to guarantee accommodations without a roommate, please select 'single occupancy'.
"I loved the atmosphere of professionals getting together to decompress. Even though we were from different backgrounds, we all share a love of nature and nerdom!" - Alicia from Phoenix, AZ
What are the fishing rules in the Boundary Waters?
Live bait, barbed hooks, and lead tackle in Boundary Waters are allowed. You must dispose of fish remains away from shorelines, campsites, trails, and portages. Be sure to pack out live bait and other food leftovers at the end of your trip.
Do I need a permit to fish in the Boundary Waters?
Yep! Anglers who are 16 years or older and are a resident of Minnesota need to have a fishing license unless otherwise noted. If you are not a resident of Minnesota, you will need to apply for a non-resident fishing license.
How should I pack for a trip to the Boundary Waters?
When considering equipment, remember to pack a small flashlight or headlamp, a first aid kit, a pocket knife, binoculars, matches and lighter, fishing rods, tackle, fillet knife, and license (If you’re planning to fish). A hat is must-have for sun protection. A waterproof rain jacket and rain pants, waterproof boots and dry shoes are also recommended. Sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent, and toiletries are advised.
How far is the Boundary Waters Nature Area from Minneapolis?
Boundary Waters Nature Area is 225 miles from Minneapolis.
How big is the Boundary Waters canoe area?
The Boundary Waters canoe area is over 1 million acres in size and has over 1200 miles of canoe routes. It also has 12 hiking trails with over 2000 designated campsites.
How many lakes are there in the Boundary Waters?
The Boundary Waters has over 1,000 pristine lakes and streams.
What are the Boundary Waters?
The Boundary Waters, also known as the Quetico-Superior country, is a region of wilderness along the Canada–United States border between Ontario and Minnesota, that equals over 1 million acres in size. It’s one of the most prominent areas of Minnesota.
What is there to do in the Boundary Waters?
Fishing is popular in the Boundary Waters. Fish such as, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and lake trout are commonly caught in this region of wilderness. Canoeing is the method of transportation, and hiking areas exist in some places along portaging routes.
Are there toilets in the Boundary Waters?
There are two Standard SST (sweet smelling) toilets, one is located in region 9, district: White Sulphur, forest: Monongahela National Forest and the other is located in region 1, district: Moose Creek, forest: Nez Perce. There is a third toilet with a accessible height of 17 to 19
inches above the ground, a backrest lid, and no walls, which can be found in region 9, district: Ely, forest: Superior National Forest. Pit toilets have been installed at 2,200 primitive campsites which are simply risers placed over a pit, with no walls. (Bring your own toilet paper)
What’s the nearest airport to the Boundary Waters entrance?
Ely, MN is 115 miles from Duluth, Minnesota, which is serviced by the Duluth International Airport.
Are dogs allowed in the Boundary Waters?
Yes, dogs are allowed in the BWCA and Quetico Park. In Quetico Park you must carry certification of a rabies vaccination within the last year. Dogs must always be kept on a leash when portaging. You must clean up after your dog around campsites and portages.
What are the Boundary Waters canoe routes?
Some of the suggested routes are Winchell Lake – Base camp or loop, Brule Lake Loop,
Rose Lake Border Route, Long Island Loop , Rose Lake- Base camp or loop, Banadad Lake- Base camp, Alder and Crystal Lakes, Ham Lake to Poplar, and Johnson Falls Loop.
What is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act?
Jimmy Carter signed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act on October 21, 1978. The Act specifically prohibits logging and provides direction to the Forest Service regarding: level of motorized watercraft use, size of motors, quotas for use, motorized/mechanized portages, snowmobile use, location of resorts, and maintenance of dams.
No way! While there are many people in tech related industries that attend, people from academia, sciences, property management, and other industries also attend. Everyone has one thing in common, though -- they want to disconnect from the daily grind (and technology).
Geek Adventures trips are normally about 50/50 people identifying as female/male. No matter how you identify, you are always welcome.
We've had participants from all over North America and Europe and expect to see more geographical diversity from attendees in the future. International trips tend to see a larger international turnout than United States domestic trips.
Geek Adventures started operations in 2016 and has been creating experiences for geeks ever since.
While all participants are encouraged to room with others during the trip, sometimes people prefer to room by themselves for a variety of reasons. If you're one of those people, please get in touch and we can work out an accommodation.
If you're a couple traveling together, we'll make sure you're bunking together. If you're a solo traveler, we make rooming assignments based on your preference, and then based on complementary interests from the intake survey. You will never be placed in a mixed gender sleeping arrangement unless you've indicated you're ok with it.
Here's a sample from previous attendee registration forms -- human connection, decompression, new friendships, inspiring conversations, networking, great conversations, awesome people disconnected from the world, explore new places.
Unless specifically noted, trips are designed for attendees 21+. Hiking with Geeks, the free local hiking groups around North America are designed for attendees 18+ or younger children when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Not exactly... we realize mobile phones are needed for safety and picture taking, we just ask that during an event, you try to disconnect as much as possible from the other stuff. Example: If you normally read on your phone, bring a book instead. If you normally play games on your phone, pick up a game at the event and play in person! You'll be happy you did.
All events are BYOB. Alcohol is allowed, and sharing is encouraged. We've found that cans are far easier to take on adventures than bottles, so please plan accordingly.
Have another question? Get in touch.