Little Vermilion Lake

Making Connections

  • Paddle Northwest, down the Loon River, to Sandpoint
  • Portage Northeast, to Lilac
  • Paddle South, up the Loon River, to Loon
  • Portage West, 35 rods, to Dovre


  • Fisher F-15, Crane, Echo Lakes, Loon River, West Echo Trail
  • McKenzie 14, Loon, Wilkins Bay


Little Vermilion Lake
Scale 1:42840
Full image approximately 4 miles square


Little Vermilion is a large lake in the Loon River drainage (being "little" only in relation to Vermilion itself) 3½ miles ENE of Crane Lake and 36 miles northwest of Ely. Located near the western edge of the BWCAW, it straddles the international boundary, stretching some 4½ miles from Sandpoint Lake in Voyageurs National Park to the Loon River. Its 1331 acres have a maximum depth of 52' with most of the lake being deeper than 15'.

At its northwestern end, the Little Vermilion Narrows provide entré to Sandpoint and Voyageurs while the Loon River enters at the lake's southeastern end, down from Loon Lake and Lac La Croix. A 35 rod portage off the western shore provides access to Dovre while another on the opposite (Canadian) shore connects with Lilac Lake in the Quetico.


Little Vermilion supports five established campsites, all along its western (US) shore.

Planning Considerations

Little Vermilion is part of one of the surviving motor routes in the BWCAW, that from Entry Point #12 at the Little Vermilion Narrows up the Loon River to Snow Bay on Lac La Croix. Most of the motor route to Lac La Croix can be avoided by taking a more direct course by way of Lilac Lake in the Quetico (with proper documentation, of course).


Little Vermilion supports populations of Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Burbot (Lota lota), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Sauger (Stizostedion canadense), Shorthead Redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum), Silver Redhorse (Moxostoma anisurum), Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieui), Tullibee (Cisco) (Coregonus artedi), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

Little Vermilion makes up most of the readily accessible surface waters in this far corner of the BWCAW and, so long as motors are permitted, this area has to be of limited interest to the wilderness canoeist.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004