Cross Bay Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Cross Bay Lake #50 Fishing: Northern Pike, Walleye
Maps: Fisher F-12; McKenzie #7 Lake Depth: MN DNR; <15 feet
Fire History: Dawkins Creek Fire ??
Lake Size: 52 acres
Campsites: 2 (1 visited)
Campsite 1
Wildlife Seen on Visit: Waterfowl, Loons
Last Visited: May 12, 2016 Lake Elevation: About 1708 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

Routes from Cross Bay Lake:
To Dawkins Creek: Paddle In
To Extortion Creek: Paddle In
To Ham Lake: Walk the 24 rod portage
To Rib Lake: Walk the 58 rod portage
To Snipe Lake: Walk the 80 rod portage
Unnamed Lake (just north of Lucky Pay Lake): Bushwhack about 25 rods

Cross Bay Lake

Gunflint Ranger District

Cross Bay Lake is more like a wide section of the Cross River. At least five waterways empty into Cross Bay Lake. These are Dawkins Creek and Extortion Creek from the east, the river from Rib Lake flowing in from the south, a small creek pouring down from Snipe Lake to the west, and another small creek draining the area to the south of Cross Bay Lake which lies in the Hairy Lake PMA. Cross Bay Lake drains itself into Ham Lake to the north through a series of strong rapids (thus the reason for the 24 rod portage to Ham Lake).

Fishing is known to be good in this lake for northern pike and walleye, even though the Minnesota DNR does not have a fishing report for this lake.

There are two campsites on the lake. The northern campsite has nice views, but a terrible landing spot. The campsite on the south end of the lake near the waterfall has spectacular views and is the best on this lake.

Exploring Cross Bay Lake

Cross Bay Lake in the BWCA
The view from the Ham Lake portage. You would paddle to the right after embarking from this point. Just to the left out of view is the start of a series of rapids leading down to Ham Lake.

Paddling south down Cross Bay Lake after embarking from the Ham Lake portage.

Continuation of the above paddle.

Cross Bay Lake BWCA
The narrow northern end of Cross Bay Lake. This section is more like a river and there is a slight but noticeable current. Watch out for underwater boulders paddling through here!

Paddling further south on Cross Bay Lake. Paddle out in the wider part of the lake. This stretch of paddling ends at the northmost campsite on Cross Bay Lake.

Cross Bay Lake in Boundary Waters
This is the small rocky island just south of the mouth of Dawkins Creek out in the middle of the lake.

Paddling from the campsite furthest north on Cross Bay Lake south to the area around the mouth of Dawkins Creek.

From just west of the mouth of Dawkins Creek, paddle south along the west shore of Cross Bay Lake until pulling up onto shore just north of the small unnamed lake south of Cross Bay Lake. You should hear (and possibly see) a small waterfall here. This is the location of the start of the bushwhack up the cliff/hill to that unnamed lake. There is a faint trail here. A short ways up the trail is a ledge next to the waterfall that you have to climb up. This is one of the ways in to the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area (PMA). See the PMA page on this website if you don't know about these special areas of the BWCA.

Cross Bay Lake in the Boundary Waters
Hard to see, but in the spring (as shown in this view) a small waterfall is seen back in the woods (center of view). There is a faint but obvious path through the woods that leads right up to it. You can easily hear this waterfall before you can see it. If you go to the top of this waterfall, there is a small unnamed lake. This is the lake south of Cross Bay Lake but north of Lucky Pay Lake. This lake is an entry point into the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area (PMA).

From the small waterfall, you paddle down Cross Bay Lake continues. Still staying with the west shoreline, you eventually reach the Rib Lake portage. This portage is there to circumvent a waterfall and some rapids coming down from Rib Lake.

Cross Bay Lake BWCA
A look at the waterfall flowing in from Rib Lake. The Rib Lake portage starts on the far left of your view.

Route Connections for Cross Bay Lake

From Cross Bay Lake, you can portage to Ham Lake (exit the BWCA), portage to Rib Lake and portage to Snipe Lake. You can also paddle some ways up Dawkins Creek and Extortion Creek. From the south end of Cross Bay Lake, you can also bushwhack into the Hairy Lake PMA up to a small unnamed lake and to Lucky Pay Lake further south.

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PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
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