Lake Four

Making Connections

  • Portage Northwest, 15 rods, to Bridge
  • Portage Northeast, 30 rods then 20 rods, to Fire
  • Portage Southeast, 25 rods, to Kawishiwi River
  • Paddle West, to Lake Three


  • Fisher F-4, One, Two, Three, Four, Bald Eagle, Insula Lakes
  • McKenzie 18, Lake One; 19, Isabella Lake


  • DNR Lake No. 380528
  • Lake Map No. C0261
  • Lake Table No. 6B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Lake Four
Scale 1:42840
Full image approximately 4 miles square


Lake Four is a relatively large and popular lake on the Kawishiwi River, 19 miles east of Ely and 8¼ miles NNW of Forest Center. The smallest of the Number Lakes, Four still covers 655 acres, with a maximum depth of 25'. Most of the lake bottom is in the shallow, productive littoral zone, less than 15' below the surface. Its deeply carved shape with its many points and bays results in an impressive 23 miles of shoreline. A narrow, 1¼ mile long arm reaches northwest from the east end of the lake, ending in a shallow channel connecting with Bridge. A simple, 15 rod portage trail runs along the south bank of the channel, climbing 10' to the east end of Bridge. A somewhat shorter arm extends ¾ mile northeast of the east end of Four, ending in the rapids on the outlet stream from Fire Lake. A pair of short portages, 30 rods and 20 rods respectively, bypass two sets of rapids, climbing 7' to the southwest end of Fire. The Kawishiwi River enters Lake Four over a rapid at the east end of the lake, exiting imperceptively through a narrow channel into Lake Three to the west. A series of three short portages (25, 25, and 10 rods, west to east) separated by two ponds bypasses the rapids above the lake, connecting up with the west end of Hudson upstream.

The forest surrounding Lake Four consists largely of second growth stands which came in after the big pines were cut by the St. Croix Lumber Company of Winton, between 1896 and 1920. Older, remnant stands of species less desirable to the lumber company do survive. The big Independence Day windstorms of 1999 missed Lake Four, the broad swath of greatest destruction lying well to the north.


Lake Four supports a baker's dozen established campsites.

Planning Considerations

Lake Four is one of the four Number Lakes, a series of large lakes on the Kawishiwi River, southeast of the Fernberg Road, extending from the Lake One entry point upriver through Hudson to Insula. Four is also the eastern terminus, at the end of its long northwestern arm, of the Rifle/Bridge Loop, which runs north of the Kawishiwi, from Four, through Bridge and Rifle Lakes, rejoining the river at Lake Two. It is the western terminus, out of the end of its northeastern arm, for the Fire Lake Loop, a short detour north of the Kawishiwi River, from Four to Fire, rejoining the river by way of the north arm of Hudson.


Lake Four supports populations of Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Burbot (Lota lota), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Tullibee (Cisco) (Coregonus artedi), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

The Number Lakes are a very popular area of the BWCA. If you would prefer not to share your wilderness experience with so many others, plan on going elsewhere or visit during the off-offseason (just before the snow flies in the fall, or just after the ice goes out in the spring).

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004