Upper Pauness Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northeast, 40 rods, to Lower Pauness
  • Portage East, 8 rods, to Lower Pauness
  • Paddle Southeast, 3½ miles, up the Little Indian Sioux, to Entry Point #14 on the Echo Trail


  • Fisher F-15, Crane, Echo Lakes, Loon River, West Echo Trail; F-16, Loon, Lac La Croix, Nina Moose Lakes
  • McKenzie 12, Moose River; 14, Loon, Wilkins Bay


  • DNR Lake No. 690464
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 2B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Upper Pauness Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Upper Pauness is a moderate-sized lake on the lower Little Indian Sioux River, 11½ miles ESE of Crane Lake and 27¾ miles northwest of Ely. A mile and a quarter long and only a quarter mile wide, Upper Pauness is fed by several small streams draining the country to the north, south, and west, as well as by the river itself. The river enters at the southernmost end of the lake, exiting to the east. The channel to Lower Pauness is bypassed by a short 8 rod portage while a longer, 40 rod, overland portage connects the two lakes a bit farther north. 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.


Upper Pauness supports five established campsites, ranged along its northeastern shore. The middle site on the point is excellent - open and well elevated. The site on the point to the south is less good while the southern site at the portage, though appearing to be a fine site in itself, does sit right at what can be a fairly busy portage. The more northerly sites, beyond the portages to Lower Pauness, offer the greater solitude.

Planning Considerations

Upper Pauness is a link in the east/west Pauness/Boulder Bay route, which heads north and east out of Upper and Lower Pauness through Shell, Little Shell, Lynx, Ruby, Hustler, Oyster, and Lake Agnes, to Boulder Bay on Lac La Croix. It is also the first lake, with the first campsites, for visitors traveling down the Little Indian Sioux from BWCAW Entry Point #14 on the Echo Trail. Along with its twin, it makes a suitable location for a first night or last night of a trip where an afternoon put in or morning departure are called for.

Upper Pauness is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 3, 5, 11, 13, 16, 17, 19, and 27.


The Little Indian Sioux above Upper Pauness is excellent moose country. We encountered a cow moose and calf in the river here on a recent trip.

Notes and Comments

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004