Brule Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Brule Lake #41 Fishing: MN DNR; Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye
Maps: Fisher F-6; McKenzie #21 or #3 Lake Depth: MN DNR; 78 feet
Fire History: Logging around 1929. Fire 1929.
Lake Size: 4272 acres
Campsites: Around 32 Wildlife Seen on Visit: None
Last Visited: August 22, 2015 Lake Elevation: 1834 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

ROUTES/PORTAGES FROM BRULE LAKE:
To Cam Lake: Walk the 100 rod portage
Echo Lake: Paddle in
Juno Lake: Walk the 60 rod portage
Lily Lake: Walk the 37 rod portage
South Cone Lake: Walk the 30 rod portage
Temperance River: Walk the 10 rod portage
Vernon Lake: Walk the 65 rod portage

Brule Lake

Tofte Ranger District

This is the second largest lake that is entirely within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). Only Trout Lake in the western part of the BWCA is larger. This is not a good lake on a day with strong winds.

The name of the lake is derived from the French word mean "burnt wood".

Brule Lake offers many route opportunities with a total of six portages leading to routes that extend further into the BWCA. There are also over 30 campsites located right on Brule Lake so even if you get here late in the day, you'll easily be able to find a place to hang out. The shoreline of the lake is nearly 38 miles long.

There are two entry points for Brule Lake (#41 and #42). Entry point 41 has no restrictions. If you use BWCA Entry Point 42, you must camp on Brule Lake for the duration of your visit. You may visit other lakes though.

Logging impacted the area here in the 1920's and early 1930's. A large logging camp was located along the south shore of Brule Lake. The current day entry point area was the location of a log hoist. Several smaller logging camps existed along the north shoreline. This was the Brule Lake General Logging Company. Fires around Brule Lake in 1929 brought an early end to the logging operations. This fire, which started near Star Lake, was probably caused by sparks from railroad cars used to haul the logs. This was a slash fire (a fire that burns forest that was recently logged). The clearing of trees allows the forest floor to dry out quicker making fires more likely. A spur of the the railroad ended at Brule Lake (Heinselman).

Another logging operation took place north of Brule Lake beginning in the mid-1940's and ended in 1950. The final logging sale on Brule Lake was called the East Tofte Sale and it occurred in 1961 (Heinselman). This operation was short-lived however as on September 3, 1964, President Johnson signed the Wilderness Act. This Act included the BWCA. Logging operations ceased.


Exploring Brule Lake

Routes to locations on Brule Lake are shown below:
Paddling from the Cam Lake portage to the South Temperance Lake portage
View of Brule Lake from BWCA Entry Point 41

PADDLING FROM THE CAM LAKE PORTAGE TO THE SOUTH TEMPERANCE LAKE PORTAGE
This paddle across Brule Lake takes you south from the Cam Lake portage and then west over to the South Temperance Lake portage and the beginning of the Temperance River. As you paddle, to your right are two very prominent hills that are visible for much of the route through Brule Lake. These hills rise to over 2,000 feet above sea level. For reference and comparison, the highest point in Minnesota is 2,301 feet (Eagle Mountain).

Brule Lake 1
Brule Lake from the Cam Lake portage. The lower slopes of the large hill just south of Wench Lake is visible in the center distance. This hill is 2,060+ feet in elevation. The surface of Brule Lake is 1,834 feet.



From the Cam Lake portage, begin by paddling south down the northwest bay of Brule Lake. After coming out of the bay, you round a point with a large talus debris field below of high cliff on the west shoreline. This is similar to another talus field on nearby Gasket Lake. Another short stretch of paddling toward the south takes you to the mouth of this bay, which is located in the northwest part of Brule Lake. Once through the mouth of the bay, you continue paddling due south to another channel. After passing through this channel you are greeted by many islands in front of you. From the channel you steer to the west, now heading directly for the Temperance River portage. The Temperance River portage is located behind a small island. You can pull up on a smooth rock slab on your right just as you enter the Temperance River. Some rapids are just beyond, so don't continue.


Brule Lake 2
The point on the west side of the bay that leads to the Cam Lake portage. This is just southeast of the east end of Wench Lake. A large talus slope has been created over geological time at the base of the cliff.


Brule Lake 3
Another view of the cliff from a bit further out on the lake. The channel leading to the bay where the Cam Lake portage is found is just to the right out of the view.


Brule Lake 4
A more distant hill as seen from about a quarter-mile east of the South Temperance Lake portage. This more distance hill lies just northwest of Wench Lake. It has a measured elevation of 2,151 feet and is about three-quarters of a mile away from where you float in your canoe.


Brule Lake 5
The island due east of the portage into the Temperance River and just offshore of the start of the Temperance River. The Temperance River's headwaters are here at Brule Lake. The Temperance River begins just out of view over your right shoulder.
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VIEW OF BRULE LAKE FROM BWCA ENTRY POINT 41

Brule Lake in the BWCA
Brule Lake from the BWCA Entry Point 41 landing. (Image not expandable)



Looking around from the canoe landing on Brule Lake (BWCA Entry Point 41 and 42).
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Route Connections for Brule Lake

From Brule Lake, you can portage to Cam Lake, Echo Lake, Juno Lake, Lily Lake, South Cone Lake, South Temperance Lake or Vernon Lake. You can also bushwhack to Bull Lake, Cow Lake, Headlight Lake and Wench Lake. Also, Brule Lake is the location of BWCA Entry Point 41 - Brule Lake.

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