Van Vac Lake

Making Connections

  • Bushwhack Northwest, 80 rods, to Triumph


  • Fisher F-8, Vermilion, Trout Lake, Vermilion River, Bootleg Lake
  • McKenzie No. 15, Trout Lake


  • DNR Lake No. 690xxx
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 1
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Van Vac Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Van Vac is a very small, probably quite shallow lake at the head of Van Vac Creek in the Little Indian Sioux drainage, 22¼ miles southeast of Crane Lake and 18¼ miles WNW of Ely. Perched on a hill 35' above Triumph and just 350 yards to the southeast the lake is under 300 yards across at its greatest width. Out of the northwestern corner, Van Vac Creek begins its short, steep descent into Triumph.

The forests which ring Van Vac date from the Civil War era, stand replacing fires of 1863-64. The 4th of July windstorms of 1999 did not affect Van Vac, or the area between it and Triumph. However, significant blowdown occured farther to the south and west.


Van Vac is not on any maintained route and supports no established campsites. Its close proximity to Canthook, however, suggests that it may be located in the Canthook Lake Primitive Management Area, and so would be available for primitive camping by permit.

Planning Considerations

Van Vac requires more than a casual commitment from those who wish to visit. With all the downed timber to the southwest, from whence come the prevailing summer winds, a visit in a dry season might be a risky venture, at least until the fuel load declines.


Notes and Comments

If you do get in to Van Vac send us a photo. We'll publish it here. (It's the only way most BWCA paddlers will get to see this lake.)


Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004