Dark Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 72 rods, to Iron
  • Portage South, 67 rods, to Rush


  • Fisher F-16, Loon, Lac La Croix, Nina Moose Lakes
  • McKenzie 12, Moose River


  • DNR Lake No. 690202
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 2A
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Dark Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Dark is a small, shallow lake in the Iron Lake drainage basin, 24¼ miles ESE of Crane lake and 22½ miles north of Ely. Just over a quarter mile across, Dark's 38 acres have a maximum depth of only 10'. The lake has no apparent outflow stream, only a broad boggy seepage south, towards Rush Lake and Rush Creek. A 67 rod portage bypasses the wetland to the east, climbing 32' before dropping back 42' into Rush. Out of its north end, Dark is connected to Iron by a 72 rod portage which loses some 60' of elevation in a relatively steady descent to the bigger lake.

The forests around Dark are of fairly recent vintage, dating back to the major, stand replacing fires of 1894. Only those off the southeastern shore are older, dating back to the Rush Lake fire of 1854. This region of the BWCA escaped damage in the 4th of July windstorms of 1999, which caused such extensive tree loss to the south and east.


Dark supports one established campsite, along the northwestern shore near the Iron Lake portage.

Planning Considerations

Dark sits at the northern end of the Dark/Stuart route, which drops south out of Iron Lake, through Dark, Rush, and Fox, into Stuart Lake, from which further connections can be made on the Dahlgren and Stuart rivers as well as to the Sterling route east to the Beartrap.

Dark is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 7 and 18.


Dark supports a very simple population mix of White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni) and minnows.

Notes and Comments

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004