Ham Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Cross Bay Lake #50 Fishing: MN DNR; Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye
Maps: Fisher F-12; McKenzie #7 Lake Depth: MN DNR; 40 feet
Fire History: 2007 Ham Lake Fire
Lake Size: 119 acres
Campsites: 4 (2 visited)
Campsite 1, Campsite 2
Wildlife Seen on Visit: Waterfowl
Last Visited: May 12, 2016 Lake Elevation: About 1699 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

Routes from Ham Lake:
To Cross River: Walk the 20 rod portage
To Cross Bay Lake: Walk the 24 rod portage

Ham Lake

Gunflint Ranger District

Ham Lake is a modestly sized lake just outside of the BWCA. You must cross the portage between Ham Lake and Cross Bay Lake to officially enter the Boundary Waters.

This lake was the unfortunate ignition point of the 2007 Ham Lake Fire. The fire started at the western most campsite, jumped the channel where the Cross River flows out of Ham Lake, and from there it was off to the races.

Ham Lake is mostly a flowage as the Cross River flows into the southeast part of the lake over some fairly impressive rapids. The river leaves the lake in a more leisurely fashion.

The campsite on the point is the most popular and probably the best one on the lake. The eastern most campsite is also quite nice. The campsite between these was not as nice and had a more difficult landing spot. The most western of the lakes four campsite is where the fire began. Bad karma. That campsite has a lot of traffic going right by it as everybody coming from Entry Point 50 goes right by it.

Exploring Ham Lake

View of the north bay of Ham Lake. The Cross River flows out to the far left of your view. This is the view from the start of the 30 rod portage.

Leaving the landing for the 30 rod Cross River portage and paddling south across the small northern bay of Ham Lake until reaching the main part of the lake. Near the end of this paddle, the campsite from which the 2007 Ham Lake Fire began is just to your left. It jumped the channel here and spread off to the north.

Paddling to the east along the north shore of Ham Lake. You begin this stretch coming out of the narrow channel from the small bay on the north side of the lake.

Main part of Ham Lake looking toward the east. Your view is from about a quarter mile away from the campsite on the prominent north point of the lake. This is an awesome campsite with a good breeze and expansive views of most of the lake.

Continuing to paddle east on Ham Lake. You land your canoe at a nice smooth spot when you arrive at the campsite that is on the prominent point that extends out from the north side of the lake.

Ham Lake in the BWCA
You are looking west from the campsite on the prominent north point which is in the eastern half of the lake. Some fire damage caused by the 2007 Ham Lake Fire is visible in the center of your view.

Ham Lake in the Boundary Waters
Gazing south from the campsite on the north point. A small island sits in the middle of the lake in line with the cliff on the south shore.

You reluctantly leave the nice campsite on Ham Lake's north point. From here you strike out across the lake making for the south shore. Once on the south side of the lake, continue east over to the portage leading to Cross Bay Lake/Cross River. This is the 24 rod portage on your map.

Route Connections for Ham Lake

From Ham Lake, you can portage to Cross Bay Lake or paddling into the Cross River toward the BWCA Entry Point 50 parking lot.

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