Features: Very large lake, Johnson Falls, base camp, kayak, Rob Roy
Due to the nature of this route it is well suited for either canoe or kayak travel. From the parking lot at McFarland you’ll head southeast before crossing McFarland and into to Pine Lake. These lakes are connected by a narrows and very short 2 rod portage. In high water it is possible to paddle right through this narrows or possible get out of your boat and walk it through. At 7.5 miles long Pine is one of the larger lakes in the Boundary Waters and wind can be an issue. You’ll have plenty of options for a great campsite on Pine.
If you can’t decide whether to bring a canoe or kayak consider renting a Rob Roy made by Northstar. These boats are a cross over that combines the top cover of a kayak, but offers a larger cockpit to load larger packs into like a canoe. It is less affected by wind than a canoe and offers a low seat like a kayak for extra stability.
Spend a day or as many days as you choose exploring Pine Lake. Be sure to venture down to the far west side of Pine Lake. There is a small creek that enters at this far end of the lake. Along this creek, you’ll find a hiking trail leading to Johnson Falls. This iconic Boundary Waters spot should not be missed. Another great option while base camping on Pine Lake is to spend a day on the Border Route Hiking Trail, which is along the ridgeline to the north. As for fishing look for Walleye, Smallmouth Bass and Lake Trout in this deep clear Canadian Shield Lake.
At the end of your trip regardless of how long you enjoyed this beautiful lake you will exit the Boundary Waters the same way you entered through the short portage into McFarland.