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Border Route Trail 2021 Year-end Conditions Summary

Border Route Trail East End

The East End is a 15 mile section of the BRT outside of the BWCAW. It starts from Otter Lake Road and goes westward to the BWCAW eastern border. The section was thoroughly cleared during two mechanized maintenance trips in May 2021. It is in Excellent condition.

Border Route Trail West End

The West End is a 13 mile section that starts at the Gunflint Trail trailhead and goes eastward to the BWCAW western border. Partial maintenance was completed in May 2021. In October 2021, mechanized crews completed clearing the rest of the section including the rough segment between North loon Lake Road and Bridal Falls. Clearing of the Brice-Breon access trail was also completed and. The entire section is in Excellent condition.

Border Route Trail in the BWCAW

The Border Route Trail is Closed in the Clearwater Lake Section

In October a tornado moved north across Clearwater Lake and crossed the BRT resulting in extensive tree and tread damage in the 1.3 miles of the trail going west from the Mountain Lake portage. There is also some damage in the 0.5 miles going east of the portage. The Forest Service has taken the lead in the recovery effort due to the expected technical experience needed. The NCTA and BRTA will assist in the effort.

The recovery is scheduled to begin on May 14 dependent on Clearwater’s ice-out for access to the damaged area.

Storm report from Radio Station WTIP Grand Marais

Map of damage location


Trail condition changes are subject to forces of nature resulting in tree falls that can occur at any time. Please be cautious if you must go off trail to get around tree fall as the terrain can be very uneven. Brush regrowth normally takes 3 or 4 years before it obstructs the trail

Please review the PDF linked here Wilderness Trail Conditions Summary for the specific conditions of the BRT, the Access Trails, and the Camp trails in the BWCAW. Note the flooding that can occur in items: 11, 14, and 23. Item 5: Yes, the beaver dam of the pond just south of Gogebic Lake is and always has been part of the trail.