Entry Point 28 - Snowbank Lake (restricted)
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Entry Point: Snowbank Lake #28 (restricted) Last Visited: July 25, 2015
Maps: Fisher F-10, F-11, F-31 Special; McKenzie #9 Daily Quota: 1
Fire History:
Nearest Ranger Station: Kawishiwi Ranger Station, Ely, MN on MN Hwy. 1
Portage Length from Parking Lot: 5 rods Restroom at Entry Point: Yes, over by the motorboat landing which is a couple hundred yards away

Entry Point 28 (restricted) - Snowbank Lake

Kawishiwi Ranger District

The restriction of this permit is that you MUST camp on Snowbank Lake all nights. However, you may travel to other lakes in the BWCA during the day.

Snowbank Lake is just up the road from Lake One. To get to Snowbank Lake Road, take Minnesota Highway 169 heading east out of Ely. Soon the highway becomes the Fernberg Road. A nice thing about the Fernberg is that it is paved the whole way to Lake One. For about 15 miles, stay on this road until you see a sign for Snowbank Lake. The Wilderness Bay Lodge and Smitty's on Snowbank are also accessed from this turn off. If you miss the turn, you will only be able to go about another quarter mile before you come to Lake One. The Lake One entry point is at the end of the road.

The Snowbank Lake Road out to the entry point is not paved, but it is usually in pretty good condition. It has lots of twists and turns and is not very long. It passes through forest that sometimes sees some logging or other form of tree removal activity.

There is a restroom at the Snowbank Lake Entry Point, but it is over by the motorboat landing. There is a sign showing the way at the entrance to the parking lot. You can park your car in a loading/unloading area very close to the lake. The launch location for your canoe is by the dock.

Snowbank Lake is a big, open lake so it is not a great place to put a canoe in the water when the wind is howling. The lake is also clear and deep. The very north shore of the lake still shows evidence of the 1999 Independence Day windstorm. The July 21, 2016 windstorm brought down some additional trees in the area.

Most paddlers entering on Snowbank Lake start early in the day to avoid the wind and big rollers. Likewise, returning in the evening if often a good plan as the wind and the waves often calm down around dusk. It can be nasty anytime of day though, so plan for this.

There are three portages that most groups head for when setting out across Snowbank Lake. If you are heading to Disappointment Lake, there is a 130 rod portage connection. This portage is well worn and not that difficult. Another way to Disappointment Lake is by paddling over to the Parent Lake portage (near Wilderness Bay Lodge). This minimizes the time on Snowbank Lake so is a good option if the wind is up. It is 80 rods to Parent Lake. However, you then have to paddle across Parent Lake to another portage. The second portage, which gets you to Disappointment Lake, is 85 rods. Parent Lake is a pretty lake and has clear water. It's a much better place to be when the wind is up too. The last portage exit along a route from Snowbank Lake is into Boot Lake way up in the northeast end of the lake. It will take most groups well over an hour to cover this distance. It is two portages into Boot Lake. These two portages are separated by a small pond.

Exploring the Entry Point

Snowbank Lake BWCA Entry Point
Near the entrance to the entry point parking lot. That sign in the distance shows the direction to the restrooms (to the left) which are by the motorboat landing.


Snowbank Lake Entry Point 3
A view of the parking area. You are looking toward the entrance to the main road while standing next to the bulletin board in the unloading area.


Snowbank Lake Entry Point 2
The Snowbank Lake bulletin board. As the arrow shows, the restrooms are to the right. You head out to the main road and hook a left. The restrooms are at the motorboat landing and about 200 yards from here, so don't wait until the last second.


Entry Point 27 - Snowbank Lake in the BWCA
This is the unloading area.


Snowbank Lake Entry Point 2
Early evening on Snowbank Lake. The water at the end of the dock is fairly deep (5 feet maybe). Close to the shore the water is perhaps just over a foot deep. Large boulders cover the lake bottom. If you are not at all good getting into a canoe off a dock, you could zip over to the motorboat landing and slide your canoe in there. The way to the Parent Lake portage is straight out to that point on the left side of your view. You aren't far from the portage when you reach that point.



Taking a tour of the Snowbank Lake Entry Point. This is both Entry Point 27 and Entry Point 28.

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