Long Island Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 35 rods, to Karl
  • Portage North, 105 rods, to Cave
  • Portage East, 24 rods, to Muskeg
  • Paddle South, down the Long Island River


  • Fisher F-12, Little Sag, Tuscarora, Temperance Lakes; F-13, No. Gunflint Trail, Gunflint, Bearskin Lakes
  • McKenzie 4, Gunflint Lake; 7, Tuscarora


Long Island Lake
Scale 1:42840
Full image approximately 4 miles square


Long Island is a great sprawling lake, forced into an S shape by large peninsulas reaching in from the north and south. Stretching some four miles from end to end, its 864 acres reach a maximum depth of 85'. Tucked into the western arc is Karl, which can be reached by water at its south end, or over a 35 rod portage into its north end. Off Long Island's northeastern shore, a 105 rod carry into Cave connects with the Banadad/Rush route running to the north and east. In the southeast corner of the lake, an easy 24 rod portage connects with Muskeg and the Kiskadinna/Horseshoe route heading east. In the lake's southwest corner is the mouth of the Long Island River, running down from Cherokee in the south, through Gordon.


Long Island supports over a dozen established campsites, five of them on islands. Because of the lake's popularity, they fill early during the peak summer travel times.

Planning Considerations

Long Island is both a destination in itself and a hub linking several routes through this region of the BWCAW. The Long Island River route to the south provides access to Cherokee and that lake's connections out to Brule and the Temperance River. To the east, the Kiskadinna/Horseshoe route runs east from Long Island through Muskeg, Kiskadinna, Omega, Henson, Pillsbery, and Allen to Horseshoe. To the northeast, the Banadad/Rush route runs up from Long Island through Cave, Ross, Sebeka, Banadad, Rush, Little Rush, and Skipper with terminal connections to the entry points at One Island and Skipper off the Gunflint Trail. Through its companion lake Karl, Long Island is connected with the Cross Bay Route, running north from Long Island through Karl, Lower George, Rib, and Cross Bay Lake to the Ham Lake entry. Long Island provides many route options but if you prefer solitude to crowds, plan on paddling through Long Island and camping elsewhere.

With all of its established routes, Long Island also provides several bushwhacking opportunities, including the Juniper Lake loop to the west, Finn and Banadad Creeks to the east, and Ferret, Fun, and Ash Lakes to the South. We are especially interested in the creek up to Ash and the short stream which connects it to Jay because from Jay there are established portages south through Cleft, Gunstock, and Cash to Town. Is this an alternate route from Long Island to Cherokee? And while we're at it, does anyone know if Finn Creek is passable all the way up to Finn Lake? Does anyone else even care?


Long Island supports populations of Burbot (Lota lota), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), and White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni).

Notes and Comments

Why the name Long Island? None of the islands in the lake are particularly long, though perhaps an early traveler could have mistaken one of the large peninsulas for an island. Not a clue.....

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004