Path Lake

Making Connections

  • Portage North, 110 rods, on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail, to Rock of Ages
  • Portage South, 245 rods, on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail, to Mirror


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


  • DNR Lake No. 380588
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 6A
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Path Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Path is one of three small, remote lakes at the head of Path Creek in the Kawishiwi River watershed, 7¼ miles northwest of Forest Center, and 18½ miles ESE of Ely. Path is the lowest of the three, draining Mirror to the south, and above it Rock of Ages, into the creek winding east and then north, through boggy country to Brewis, Horseshoe, and eventually Lake Three on the Kawishiwi.

To the north of Path, a third of a mile of Pow Wow Trail connects with the north end of nearby Rock of Ages, before descending some 90' in little more than a mile, down to the shores of Lake Three near the Horseshoe Lake portage. From the north end of Path, the trail leads south along the western shore and connecting stream, to Mirror. If a good put in is found along the stream or southern end of the Path, northbound groups could paddle the length of the lake to pick up the trail again at the north end. Or, a short bit of relatively level bushwhacking from the center of the western shore will bring one to the south end of Rock of Ages and present an opportunity to paddle the length of that lake as well.

The forest surrounding Path, and extending south and west as far as Diana and Wager, is some of the oldest in the area, dating back some 175 years with significant remnant stands surviving from the fires of 1796. The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 did no significant damage in the immediate vicinity of Path, though the area off the north end of Rock of Ages sustained standing tree losses estimated at between 10% and 33%.


Path supports one established campsite, on its northern shore, intended for use by backpackers on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail.

Planning Considerations

Path is on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail, well off established canoe routes and maintained portages. Getting there with a boat requires a committment to using the hiking trail as a long portage and one which, even when maintained, is not necessarily suitable for canoe traffic. However, for any party trying to chart a closed loop route through this part of the BWCA, Path, along with Rock of Ages, Mirror, Superstition, Campfire, and Quadga, forms one of the only north/south alternatives to the Clearwater routes farther west, for travel between the Number Lakes on the Kawishiwi and the Perent and Isabella River country to the south. Recent editions of the McKenzie maps provide tremendous detail on the Pow Wow Trail, including landmarks and GPS coordinates. This is the map you want at hand if portaging the Pow Wow.


This back country is also known to be wolf country, with a pack associated with nearby Rock of Ages.

Notes and Comments

We see Path and the Pow Wow Trail as a very tempting north/south route through some wild country with little in the way of established canoe routes. But then, we think fondly of traveling from Insula to the Perent River by way of Arrow and Ferne, or Insula to Perent Lake by way of Maniwaki. For others, it may not hold similar appeal.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004