Greenstone Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 195 rods to Madden
  • Portage South, 120 rods, into the North Kawishiwi River



  • DNR Lake No. 380718
  • Lake Map No. C1485
  • Lake Table No. 6B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Greenstone Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Greenstone is a deep, clear, mid-sized lake just outside the boundary of the BWCAW, 16¾ miles WNW of Forest Center, and 9 miles ENE of Ely. Covering 345 acres, it is 1¾ miles long NE/SW and drops to a maximum depth of 72' with most of the lake deeper than 15'. A small stream out of the northeast end of the lake drops into Conchu, a bit more than ½ mile to the south. Greenstone Creek flows out of the west end, 1½ miles to its confluence with Pickerel Creek just below Pickerel Lake. A 120 rod portage out of the southwest end of Greenstone climbs 62' before dropping 128' into the North Kawishiwi. A 195 rod portage out of the north end of the lake connects with Madden.

The forest surrounding Greenstone was rather thoroughly logged by the St. Croix Lumber Company of Winton during the 1898 to 1912 early logging period and is all second growth forest. The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 did no significant damage in the Greenstone area.


Greenstone supports one established campsite, at the east end near the Kawishiwi River portage.

Planning Considerations

Greenstone is outside of the BWCAW proper, but is connected by portage and, perhaps most importantly, has no direct vehicular access for motorboats. The nearest road access is an unimproved forest road which runs up to Madden Lake from the Fernberg Road. From there it is a hilly, 195 rod carry into Greenstone. Greenstone is not a BWCAW Entry Point but a side trip up to the lake from the North Kawishiwi would be appealing, whether by the established portage, or by bushwhacking up Pickerel and Greenstone Creeks. Much of the latter appears to be relatively broad and navigable.


Gabbro supports populations of Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens). Walleye were stocked in 1993. Tullibee (Cisco) (Coregonus artedi) may also be present.

Notes and Comments

Greenstone is likely named for, well, greenstone, a basaltic lava with a grey-green to yellow-green coloring derived from the presence of the mineral Chlorite. A metamorphic rock, it indicates volcanic origin followed by periods of intense heat and pressure. This rock was probably buried deep and later exposed by erosion. It occurs in belts running more or less NE/SW and includes the Ely Greenstone formation, which crops up in the town of Ely. Pillow structure in Ely Greenstone suggests lava which hardened underwater. Greenstone is noted for being some of the oldest rock to be found on the surface of the earth, anywhere on the planet.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004