Ham Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northwest, 30 rods, to pond, to 68 rod portage to landing
  • Portage Southeast, 249 rods, to Cross Bay


  • Fisher F-12, Little Sag, Tuscarora, Temperance Lakes
  • McKenzie 7, Tuscarora


Ham Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Ham is a modest size lake on the Cross River, just south of the Gunflint Trail and just to the north of the BWCAW boundary. Its 100 acres of water surface stretch just about a mile in length; its maximum depth 40'. The Cross River enters Ham from the southeast, close by to the mouth of Ham Creek, which is situated at the extreme east end of the lake. The Cross exits Ham through a series of ponds to the north and west, eventually emptying into Superior on the North Shore.

A 24 rod portage on the southeastern shore connects with Cross Bay Lake just upstream. A 30 rod portage out of an inlet on the northern shore links to an unnamed pond downstream, followed by a 68 rod portage to another pond at the Ham Lake landing.


Ham supports four established campsites, all along the northern shore. One is sited near the outlet of the Cross River, the other three opposite the portage to Cross Bay.

Planning Considerations

Ham, just to the north of the BWCAW boundary, serves as entry point for the Cross River route, which runs up from the Ham Lake entry through Cross Bay, Rib, Lower George, and Karl to Long Island. Ham, or more precisely Cross Bay Lake entry point 50, is one of the most popular of entry points, in part because of the relatively short and easy portages on the Cross River up to Long Island. Reserve your entry permit early and expect to see other parties along the way during much of the season.


Ham supports populations of Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieui), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

While Ham has no direct road access, it is outside the BWCAW and so motor use is allowed on Ham and the Cross River downstream, but prohibited upstream.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004