Beartrap River
» Display Beartrap River Map
» Display scrollable USGS Topo Map of Beartrap River
» Show Simple Beartrap River Map
Nearest Entry Point: Stuart River or Mudro Lake Fishing: Unknown
Maps: Fisher F-16, F-17; McKenzie #11, #12 River Depth: Unknown
Bushwhack Rating: River Length: About 7 miles from Beartrap Lake to Iron Lake
Campsites: Unknown Wildlife Seen on Visit: Never visited
Last Visited: Never River Elevation: At its headwaters at Beartrap Lake, the elevation is 1354 feet. At the mouth of the Beartrap River at Iron Lake in Peterson Bay, the elevation is 1217 feet
Water Clarity: N/A Fire History: 1996, 1894, 1875, 1864 and 1822

Beartrap River

Sundial Lake PMA

A fairly long river that bisects the Sundial Lake Primitive Management Area. This river is sort of the highway of this PMA, connecting Sunday Lake, Beartrap Lake and Iron Lake on a generally north-south route. For a river in a PMA, the Beartrap sees a fair amount of traffic. The Beartrap River has little current. Several obvious portages/bushwhacks are required along its route to negotiate a few rapids. Almost due west of Sunday Lake, just as the Beartrap River turns north, it is joined by Sterling Creek. Traveling up Sterling Creek leads to Sterling Lake and eventually big, beautiful Stuart Lake. From Stuart Lake, paddlers can continue up the Stuart River to the south where several more Sundial PMA lakes are located.

Where the Beartrap River makes a sharp turn east towards Beartrap Lake, another good sized creek enters from the south. This is Spring Creek. Spring Creek may be worth a paddle as it is floatable for several miles to the south into area that is seldom visited; generally in the direction of Angleworm Lake.

The area south and southwest of Sunday Lake was most recently burned by the White Feather Lake fire in 1996. This fire scorched about 4,750 acres and started along the east side of White Feather Lake and traveled east/northeast through the area where Sundial Lake is located; then continued to just west of Sunday Lake. Prior to 1996, a number of fires affected the area in the 1800's.

The known fires in this region were the 1894 fires (possibly two of them) that are known as the Oriniack/Sioux River/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake complex and the Chad/Cummings/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake complex. In 1875 the Mule Creek/Sterling Lake/Sunday Lake/Crooked Lake complex burned much of the area. Eleven years prior to that, in 1864, the Little Indian Sioux River/Lac La Croix/Crooked Lake complex burned here. The oldest fire known to affect the area occurred in 1822 and is referred to as the Hook Lake/Hegman Lake/Crooked Lake complex.

There used to be a road that ran through the marshland along the Beartrap River that ran up to Sunday Lake. This road was used in the winter to haul supplies. The supplies were for the construction of a resort on Crooked Lake. Once this stuff reached Sunday Lake, they were transported by a trail from Sunday Lake to Crooked Lake (Rom, 1987). The former portage between Sunday Lake and Crooked Lake was this old trail used by the resort.

The route of the old General Logging Company railway known as the Cloquet Line ended near the start of the bushwhack portage that connects the Beartrap River and Beartrap Lake. This rail extends all the way back to Winton, Minnesota. A telephone line also paralled this rail and reach this point.

Rom, William N., M.D., Canoe Country Wilderness (Stillwater: Voyageur Press, 1987), 94.

Paddling the Beartrap River

This is a slow moving river. For a PMA, it is relatively easy to navigate and can be used to travel between Beartrap Lake and Iron Lake without a PMA permit as long as you don't intend to camp. Several maintained portages used to exist along the Beartrap River to facilitate getting around several rapids. This now unmaintained portages are still easy to find and receive enough traffic that they are in no danger of disappearing. The Beartrap River can be traveled throughout the season, but it will be easier if it is explored when water levels are high (spring, early summer).

PMA #1: Weeny PMA #4: Tick PMA #7: Pitfall PMA #10: Hairy
PMA #2: Canthook PMA #5: Spider PMA #8: Mugwump PMA #11: Weasel
PMA #3: Sundial PMA #6: Drag PMA #9: Humpback PMA #12: Fungus
Beartrap River Contest Lake Sinneeg Creek Sterling Lake
Bibon Lake Nibin Lake Sinneeg Lake Sunday Lake
Bunggee Creek Parley Lake Spring Creek Sundial Lake
Bunggee Lake Ritual Lake Sterling Creek White Feather Lake
- - All Rights Reserved.
All images, videos and text property of - No reuse without permission.