Cherokee Lake
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Nearest Entry Point: Sawbill Lake #38 Fishing: MN DNR; Lake Trout, Northern Pike
Maps: Fisher F-12; McKenzie #21 Lake Depth: MN DNR; 142 feet
Fire History:
Lake Size: 837 acres
Campsites: 18 (1 visited)
Campsite 1
Wildlife Seen on Visit: Loons, Waterfowl
Last Visited: May 26, 2016 Lake Elevation: 1788 feet
Water Clarity: MN DNR

Routes from Cherokee Lake:
To Cherokee Creek: Paddle In
To Gordon Lake: Walk the 13 rod portage
To Ranger Lake: Bushwhack for about 80 rods (used to be a maintained portage)
To Sniff Lake: Bushwhack for about 5 rods
To Town Lake: Walk the 5 rod portage, paddle across small pond, walk the 10 rod portage

Cherokee Lake

Tofte Ranger District

Cherokee Lake is the primary destination lake in this area. There are many campsites on this lake, but not all campsites are created equally. Therefore if you want one of the better campsites on the lake, you may want to setup camp early in the day. The lake serves as a hub for several other routes. From the north end of Cherokee you can head into Gordon Lake. This is the way up to Long Island Lake and the Frost River area. The eastern side of the lake has two routes. The northern route eventually leads to Brule Lake. This is a rugged route with only one campsite all the way to Brule Lake. The southern route going east from Cherokee Lake takes you over to the Temperance River. Cherokee Lake provides a route to the south leading eventually to Sawbill Lake.

The fishing for lake trout in Cherokee Lake is considered spotty; odd given the depth and size of this lake. Northern pike are also in here.

There are a number of smaller lakes, particularly along the west shoreline of Cherokee Lake that do not have portages yet are still relatively accessible. Ranger Lake used to have a maintained portage and remnants of that portage are probably still intact. It used to show as 80 rods on maps. Sniff Lake near the southwest corner of Cherokee Lake can also be visited with relatively little effort. Snip Lake beyond that too. There are other possibilities as well for the more adventurous.

Cherokee Lake is fed from the south by Cherokee Creek. Sniff Lake drains its small watershed into the lake through a little creek too near the southwest corner of the lake. Further north up the west shore a creek from Ranger Lake drains into Cherokee Lake. From the northeast comes the water of Town Lake through a narrow creek by the portage. Finally, little Snub Lake's water passes into Cherokee Lake through a creek. Cherokee Lake itself drains to the north into Gordon Lake.

Exploring Cherokee Lake

Cherokee Lake in the BWCA
Looking into Cherokee Lake from the mouth of Cherokee Creek at dusk.

Cherokee Lake Sunset in BWCA
Sunset over Cherokee Lake from the campsite on the large island in the north end of the lake.

You morning paddle is across a lake that is flat as a mirror. This paddle initiates at the northern most island campsite on the lake. Your paddling takes you to the east with your ultimate destination being the Town Lake portage.

The morning paddle continues. You now enter the eastern bay in the north end of Cherokee Lake generally staying along its south shoreline. It doesn't take long to reach the Town Lake portage.

Cherokee Lake Reflection in BWCA
Reflections seen along the southeast shore of Cherokee Lake in the northeastern part of the lake.

Cherokee Lake in the Boundary Waters
Cliffs along Cherokee Lake. Around that point just to the left of the center of your view, is the entrance to the small bay where the portage to Town Lake is located.

Cherokee Lake BWCA
You are looking at the south shore of the little bay where you can find the portage to Town Lake.

Cherokee Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Another view of the small eastern most bay on Cherokee Lake just after you round the south point. The portage to Town Lake is on the east shore of this bay.

Route Connections for Cherokee Lake

From Cherokee Lake, you can portage to Gordon Lake or Town Lake. You can also paddle into Cherokee Creek. Sniff Lake is also accessible via a short bushwhack.

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