Boundary Waters Canoe Trip Entry Permits & Permit Fees

The US Forest Service manages the BWCAW and requires all users be properly permitted  for entry into the Wilderness.

Quota Entry Permits

A quota entry permit is required for overnight BWCAW camping trips that launch from May 1 through September 30. The quota system limits how many groups can begin a trip at each of about 70 entry points each day. The number of permits available for each entry point varies from only one permit per day to several dozen permits per day. Most entry points have around five to seven entry permits available per day. One permit is good for a group size of up to nine people.

Advance entry permit reservations are strongly recommended because of the limited number of quota entry permits. Permits for summer 2021 will become available on a first-come, first-served basis starting on January 27, 2021 at 9am CST. The longer you wait to have us reserve your permit the more flexibility you may need to have for your preferred entry point or entry date.

Groups may only enter the BWCAW on the entry date and through the entry point specified on their entry permit. Permits may only be picked up the day before, or the day of, entry, by the trip leader or alternate trip leader designated on the reservation when it was originally made. Permits are not transferable.

Call us at 218-343-7951 for information on permit availability, and we will reserve your quota entry permit. You can also check permit availability and reserve entry permits at

Quota Entry Permit Fees

BWCAW quota entry permit user fees per person per trip:

  • Adult: $16
  • Youth (0-17): $8
  • Interagency Senior/Access Card Holders: $8
  • Youth Access Card Holders: $4

In addition, a nonrefundable USFS permit reservation fee of $6 per permit is required, and we charge a nonrefundable $10 permit acquisition fee for each permit we reserve.

Non-quota Self-issued Permits

Non-quota self-issued permits are free and required year-round for day use BWCAW visitors not camping in the Wilderness, and for all overnight visitors entering the BWCAW from October 1 through April 30. Non-quota self-issue permits are available at USFS Ranger Stations such as the Kawishiwi Ranger District office in Ely. They are also sometimes available in small cabinets at the actual entry points. It is best to obtain your non-quota self-issued permit before leaving town in case the supply at the entry point is out.