North Wilder Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage Northeast, 45 rods, to Wilder Creek
  • Portage South, 190 rods, to South Wilder
  • Portage Southwest,105 rods, to Harbor


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


  • DNR Lake No. 380452
  • Lake Map No. C0428
  • Lake Table No. 6B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
North Wilder Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


North Wilder a rather small, multi-armed lake on Wilder Creek in the Kawishiwi River watershed, 20 miles east of Ely, and 6½ miles northwest of Forest Center. Just under 100, mostly shallow acres in area, North Wilder stretches nearly a mile along both its north/south and east/west axes. It reaches a maximum depth of 25' up in the northern arm.

Three quarters of a mile up Wilder Creek to the south lies South Wilder while 1½ miles downstream, to the north and east, Wilder Creek enters the Kawishiwi. The route up from the Kawishiwi is occasionally narrow and shallow but generally quite navigable, passing through a fine, boggy lowland. At the end of the paddle, a 45 rod portage leads into North Wilder. A 105 rod portage to the southwest connects with Harbor while a 190 rod portage heads south from the Harbor portage landing to South Wilder, following the Pow Wow Hiking Trail. The Pow Wow runs the length of North Wilder's western shore.

North Wilder is surrounded by relatively young forest, dating back only so far as the big fire year of 1910. Just off the extreme northwest end, however, is much older forest, dating back to 1824 with remnant stands over 200 years old. With any luck, the old trees survived the big 4th of July blowdowns of 1999, which took down trees all around North Wilder. Damages for the area surrounding the lake have been estimated at between 10% to 33% loss of standing timber, excepting only the forest off the east end along Wilder Creek, where loss estimates were pegged at between 34% and 66%.


North Wilder supports two established campsites, both on the western bay. Recent Fisher and McKenzie maps show a third site, along the Pow Wow Trail on the western shore opposite the other two sites.

Planning Considerations

North Wilder is a link in the North Wilder Loop which runs from the Number Lakes Three and Four on the Kawishiwi, east and north, through Horseshoe, Brewis, Harbor, and North Wilder, to return to the Kawishiwi just above Lake Four. It is one of four small and lovely lakes which provide a welcome relief from the traffic of the nearby Number Lakes. Unfortunately, one cannot, without serious bushwhacking, visit these lakes without running the gauntlet of those very busy lakes on the Kawishiwi.

If you do expect to be on the Number Lakes to Insula route, though, a paddle up Wilder Creek is worthy of your consideration. Do check on the passability of the creek, however, if you plan on going this way anytime soon. Storm damage could still be a problem.


North Wilder supports populations of Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

North Wilder and its near neighbors Brewis, Harbor, and South Wilder, prove again that fundamental truth of canoe country, that there is nothing like a portage for escaping from the crowds. The portages and creek paddle along this route are not particularly long or challenging, but the portage trails have the look of being little used. Fine country this.

Line of Spruce Trees

Valley Internet Company
Return to Home Page
Send Feedback to Webmaster

Return to Region 6 home page
Return to Region 6 Lake Tables
Return to Region 6 Portage Table
Return to Canoe Country home page
Last updated on 11 April, 2004