Snowbank Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Snowbank Lake #27, 28 Fishing: MN DNR Fish Survey; Northern Pike, Lake Trout, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass
Maps: Fisher F-10, F-11, F-31 Special; McKenzie #9 Lake Depth: MN DNR Lake Map; 150 feet
Fire History:
Lake Size: 4,655 acres
Campsites: 6 Wildlife Seen on Visit: Loons
Last Visited: July 25, 2015 Lake Elevation: 1425 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR Routes from Snowbank Lake:
To Parent Lake: Walk the 80 rod portage
To Disappointment Lake: Walk the 141 rod portage
To Boot Lake: Walk the 80 rod portage, paddle across pond, and the 55 rod portage
To Grub Lake: Bushwhack for about 25 rods

Snowbank Lake

Kawishiwi Ranger District

This is a large lake and can thus be rough to paddle in a canoe if the wind is up. The lake allows motors up to 25 horsepower. Much of the lake is also outside of the BWCA. Snowbank Lake hosts entry points 27 and 28.

Snowbank Lake is 150 feet deep and well over 4,000 acres. Several large named islands dot the lakes surface. The 1999 Independence Day windstorm did quite a bit of damage to the forest along the north shore of the lake. At least two commercial lodges are active on the lake: Wilderness Bay Lodge and Smitty's on Snowbank.

There are a number of cabins scattered along the lakes shoreline. You can tell the parts of the lake that are outside of the BWCA by noticing where the cabins are visible.

Snowbank Lake gets is name from a translation of it's Ojibway name. This translation roughly means "snow blown into heaps, lying about here and there". Boot Island on Snowbank Lake is named for its shape.

Most folks entering on Snowbank Lake make a bee line for one of the three major portages providing access to the BWCA beyond Snowbank Lake. These portages are the Boot Lake portage on the very northeast tip of the lake. This portage consists of an 80 rod portage, then a paddle across a small pond, and finally another 55 rod portage into Boot Lake. Disappointment Lake is accessible by a 141 rod up and over portage. Parent Lake is an 80 rod portage. If the wind is blowing hard and Snowbank Lake is rolling, head to the Parent Lake portage since it is relatively close to the entry point.

Exploring Snowbank Lake

Paddling from BWCA Entry Point 27 or 28 toward either Parent Lake or Disappointment Lake portage.

Snowbank Lake in the BWCA
The small island that lies straight out from the entry point landing. The north end of Burnt Island is right behind the small island. If heading to Parent Lake portage, head just right of the little island and then paddle just north of the north end of Burnt Island. Once past Burnt Island, you are almost to the Parent Lake portage.

From several hundred yards out into Snowbank Lake from Entry Point 27 and Entry Point 28, paddle across Snowbank Lake to the Parent Lake portage. The route passes by the small island visible from the dock at the entry point and then goes along the north end of Burnt Island. Finally the route continues into Wilderness Bay where Wilderness Bay Lodge and the Parent Lake portage are located.

Snowbank Lake BWCA
A view of the Wilderness Bay Lodge from the Parent Lake portage landing.

Paddling from Boot Lake toward Halli Island (in general direction of BWCA Entry Point 27 or 28)

Snowbank Lake Boundary Waters
Evening looking out from the Boot Lake portage landing at Snowbank Lake. Note that it looks like a calm evening for paddling, however, just to the left and out of view where you enter the main lake, the waves were about two feet high at times.

You set off from the Boot Lake portage on Snowbank Lake for an evening paddle across Snowbank Lake. For this part of the journey, you stay along the east shore of the lake. The lake has a fair chop with up to two foot swells.

Continue paddling staying fairly close to the eastern shore of Snowbank Lake. During this stretch you are heading toward East Island.

You reach the northwest corner of East Island and then head in a westerly direction out toward Harri Island toward the setting sun.

Harri Island, a large island in the middle of Snowbank Lake lies dead ahead.

Route Connections for Snowbank Lake

From Snowbank Lake, you can portage to Boot Lake, Disappointment Lake or Parent Lake.You can also bushwhack to Grub Lake and Wooden Lake. Snowbank Lake also provides access to the BWCA for Entry Point 27 - Snowbank Lake and Entry Point 28 - Snowbank Lake (restricted).

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