Guided Group Canoe Trips

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Guided Group Canoe Trips

Our Guided Group Canoe Trips are filled each year with people who join for three main reasons. First, their love of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and canoeing. Second, they want to meet and adventure with new people and a Guided Group Canoe Trip is a fantastic way to do both. Third, they want to experience our expansive canoe country with a guide in a group setting.

We offer many different themes of Guided Group Trips and as the Boundary Waters (BWCAW) has a maximum group size of nine people and four canoes, each trip has booking space for eight canoe campers and one guide. Our guides have extensive experience in the BWCAW and are familiar with not only the trip’s theme but the area that participants will be traveling to and through. Indeed, the trip’s assigned guide will have hand picked the area to match the skill level of clients, the theme, the number of portages and travel days, etc.

Some things common to all of our group trips are always the highest quality of gear you’ll be using. Our Canoe Camping Gear is featured in our Boundary Waters Catalog and not only do we rent it out to Outfitting Clients all summer, but we use it ourselves. It is durable, efficient, easy to use and lightweight. It has to be light, because everything on a canoe trip must be packed in portage packs and carried on your back over each and every portage you find that connect the 2000 protected lakes in the BWCAW. Portaging around rapids, waterfalls, and other obstacles is a necessary part of Boundary Waters lake travel and it provides nice, scenic breaks from sitting and paddling. Also common to each of our Guided Group Canoe Trips is the excellent food that you’ll be provided with during the trip. All of our guides are top-notch wilderness cooks and enjoying meals together as a group is definitely one of the unexpected highlights.

Here is the line ups of Guided Group Canoe Trips as they currently stand. Please note that any dates referenced are for the current summer season. If you are reading this during the Fall and Winter months and these trips are over, the dates will be slightly different for the next calendar year. There may be slight price changes as well. The original art you see on these trip posters was created by Lucy and Juliet Stouffer who work during the summer here at Piragis Northwoods Company and the Boundary Waters Catalog.

If you have questions about our trips or want to join please call us at 1-800-223-6565 and ask to speak to our Outfitting Department. The Trip Titles link to each page online with more reservation information.

Fall Colors and Wilderness Wildlife

Trip Features
    • Trip Dates: September 30 – October 6, 2023Trip Cost: $1495 (+ tax)6 days paddling, 5 nights campingFirst and last night hotel room in ElyFull Outfitting PackageGuided
    Please Note: Final payment for our guided group trips is due 30 days before the trip begins. Autumn in the Boundary Waters means no bugs, fewer people, warm days, cool nights, and great vistas of saturated yellows, reds, and green. Travel the BWCAW during the quiet season and see the boreal forest in all its vibrant splendor. The colors start early in September with the maples and peak with the great forests of aspen and birch in late September and early October. These reds and yellows are all offset by the beautiful dark green of the balsam, spruce, and pine with a backdrop of incredibly blue sky. With wildlife on the move in fall, chances of seeing moose, bear, otter and beaver are optimal. With some luck the howl of the wolf will sing you to sleep.

Waterfalls and Pictographs

Trip Features
    • Trip Dates: June 24 – 30, 2023Trip Cost: $1,495 (+ tax)6 days paddling, 5 nights campingFirst and last night hotel room in ElyFull Outfitting PackageGuidedNOTE:  This is a moving trip with many miles and portages.
    Please Note: Final payment for our guided group trips is due 30 days before the trip begins.

    The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness offers stunning scenery and spectacular waterfalls.  Along the Voyageur Highway you’ll see Basswood Falls, Crooked Lake, Curtain Falls, Table Rock, and incredible pictographs (Native American rock paintings).  Your imagination will be stirred as you float by cliffs and imagine them being painted centuries ago.  Who knew that the work done by them would generate such curiosity and amazement.  Come with us and paddle the same lakes as well as walk the portages and paths as the Voyageur and Indian shaman of many years ago.

Sigurd Olson Canoe Trip

Trip Features
  • Trip Dates: August 19 – 25, 2023 (ONE SPOT LEFT!!)
  • Trip Cost: $1,495 (+ tax)
  • One afternoon with the Listening Point Foundation, 5 days paddling, 4 nights camping
  • First, second and last night hotel room in Ely
  • Full Outfitting Package
  • Guided

Please Note: Final payment for our guided group trips is due 30 days before the trip begins.

Sig Olson was one of the people who helped make the Boundary Waters what it is.  His books are very popular with anyone who knows about the BWCAW as well as people who just enjoy wilderness writing.

Join us as we help keep Sig’s words alive.  On the day before the canoe trip (Sunday), you will see the famous Writing Shack where he typed away.  Also, take a little stroll into the woods and check out Listening Point and the cabin.  How exciting to see the places where he got inspiration.  It’s going to be a fun week with the sights and sounds of nature (and maybe a few readings) as only he could write so eloquently.

Sigurd Ferdinand Olson (April 04, 1899 – January 13, 1982) was a writer and conservationist out of Ely, Minnesota. His lyrical, poetic style of writing drew readers into the wilderness, and inspired them to find inspiration and connection in the outdoors. As he wrote, he also taught at the Ely High School and then Junior College, and dedicated himself to the fight to preserve wild spaces. He advocated to keep roads, dams, planes, and motor vehicles out of the Quetico-Superior, and helped draft the Wilderness Act in 1964. Through the efforts of Sigurd and others, wild spaces all throughout the United States and Canada were preserved.

Described by many as the “personification of a wilderness defender”, Sigurd worked tirelessly to preserve the natural spaces that served as the muse for his writing. His emotional and unpretentious philosophies were honed during countless trips into the wilderness, and spanned nine books, countless articles, and speeches that he delivered all across the country. His words continue to inspire today, encouraging all people to get outside and find a deep connection to history, the universe, and that sense of peace that only comes with being far into the wild.

“As long as they remain, as long as there are any places left at all where man can still glimpse the unknown, he will be drawn irresistibly as he has been for ages past, and, seeing them, will wonder and dream and think long thoughts.” — Listening Point, 239

We are happy to be doing this trip with the help of The Listening Point Foundation.  Please check their site out to see more about Sig and his incredible legacy.

Women Exploring Wilderness

Trip Features
  • Trip Dates: July 8 – 14, 2023  (ONE SPOT LEFT!!)
  • Trip Cost: $1495 (+ tax)
  • 6 days paddling, 5 nights camping
  • First and Last Night hotel room in Ely
  • Full Outfitting Package
  • Guided

Please Note: Final payment for our guided group trips is due 30 days before the trip begins.

Join new friends on a wilderness experience this summer. Paddle, portage and camp in America’s canoe country with other women who share your spirit of adventure. This is our most highly rated trip by past participants, and judging by the laugh meter it must be the most fun, too. Take a break from the humdrum and discover a pristine wilderness and maybe a little about yourself at the same time.

Wilderness can present some challenges for women that are different from those encountered by men. Our goal on this adventure is to provide women with the knowledge and experience needed to feel comfortable in the wilderness. What women may lack in strength, they make up for in finesse and there are many secrets that can make portaging, paddling and setting up camp not only easier, but more fun!

Our trained staff at Piragis Northwoods Company includes some of the most knowledgeable and trail savvy women in the outfitting business. The wilderness skills that our guides have acquired over the years are vital to making any adventure in the woods a success and before this trip is over you’ll be able to feel at home in the wild! Working together, our group will encounter every activity in the Boundary Waters with a cohesiveness that can only happen when everyone participates.

After our first night in Ely, we’ll rise early and shuttle our canoes and gear to a nearby wilderness entry point. Giving ourselves the opportunity to get a true taste of the wilderness may include sitings of waterfalls, pictographs and perhaps even floating bogs. Our route will take us up close to the flora and fauna that make the Boundary Waters Canoe Area such an interesting place to travel. Keeping with our theme, we’ll be adapting new wilderness skills every step of the way, while still having time for fun and relaxation along the way.

Our days will present opportunities for hiking, fishing if you like, and relaxation. The trip will be split with some travel days and base-camping. With each bend in the river and each new lake we encounter, the natural habitat varies and so will our experiences.

Whether you want to brush up on your wilderness skills, experience the beauty of the woods and make new friends, or discover the outdoors with a group of women who enjoy canoe camping, this trip is a must!

Your trip begins and ends with nights spent in Ely where we encourage you to experience Ely.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Trip

Trip Features
  • Trip Dates: Jume 10 – 16, 2023
  • Trip Cost: $1750 (+ tax)
  • 6 days paddling, 5 nights camping
  • First and Last Night hotel room in Ely (if you come with a friend, we pair you together in a room)
  • Full Outfitting Package
  • Guided

Please Note: Final payment for our guided group trips is due 30 days before the trip begins.

At the peak of the smallmouth spawn our seasoned fishing guides will lead you to lakes where the action is fast and furious. Join us in canoe country for 6 days of nothing but fabulous fishing on wilderness lakes where the fish are hungry and never see a boat with a motor on it.

We’ll fish Basswood Lake (one of the best lakes in MN) from our remote destination. It’s bass fishing at its best but we’ll save some time to catch a walleye or two just for the fry pan. Let our wilderness fishing guide do the work while you relax and enjoy everything wonderful about spring in the Boundary Waters.

A rare opportunity for action like no other for those who love the excitement of having a fish on the line. Smallmouth Bass fight pound for pound as fiercely as any fish around and in early June in the Northwoods, the smallies are hungry and defiant. It’s spawning season, and we’ll find them lurking in the shallows.

Our guide will share their knowledge of different rods, flies, topwater and diving baits, water, and of course, the smallmouth during our week of exploring wilderness waters. You are encouraged to bring your favorite fly, spinning and baitcasting rods. 

Your first and last nights lodging is included in the trip and you’ll need to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for our early departure.

Our destination will find us on wilderness lakes where fishing pressure is lighter throughout the year and just wetting a line can get you thinking about the possibilities. With the first rise of a great northwoods smallmouth, you’ll be hooked on a trip like none other.

We’ll spend our time in the wild following the fish and the guide and group will decide the nature of our travel. We want to meet the challenge of the smallmouth and still leave time for making the best of camp life. We’ll supply all the food, canoes and canoe camping gear, along with an experienced fishing guide. You just bring your clothing, rods, lures and tackle.

You’ll spend your last night in Ely where we encourage to enjoy a nice meal in town.

Items you should bring (DON’T FORGET your PERSONAL FISHING Rods and Tackle — ask your guide for suggestions and secret weapons!)

A note by Harry from the 2017 Smallmouth Trip:

    Of five trips, this was the easiest and most fun Boundary Waters trip that I have had and the all-time most successful fishing trip ever!  A part of this was due to Piragis handling the planning and outfitting; this was my first trip that did not require extensive communication between the participants for planning and that did not still leave lingering concerns over things we may not have known to consider; Piragis took care of all of that.  Complete outfitting saved me at least half the baggage that I normally have to lug around airport shuttle parking lots, airport terminals, rent-a-car facilities, and hotels, just getting to and from the real trip, and Piragis accepting client gear shipped by package delivery avoided those awkward, tense moments when checking bags containing fishing or outdoor gear and with airport security personnel, who at the last minute may or may not allow items listed as acceptable to carry in checked baggage.

    On previous trips, Piragis had provided partial outfitting and outfitted my parties with canoes, paddles, PFDs, canoe seats, portage packs, stove, fuel, cooking pots, cooking utensils, backpacking food, and food packs, which was always first-rate, but I had concerns over the complete outfitting because I know my tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag are compatibly sized, fit me, and work; sleeping bags are especially important to get a good night’s rest.  You were correct, though, about the Nemo tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags being great gear and the Nemo sleeping pad is clearly an improvement over my trusty Therma-Rest mattress, both in sleeping comfort and in packing size.  I, especially, appreciated the light-weight, hammock-like, folding chairs that packed into an unbelievably small volume; they contributed immensely to the comfort of the camp.

    This was my first Boundary Waters trip where it was possible to stay up at night outside of a tent because on previous trips the mosquitoes owned the night and, at sunset every night, the mosquitoes would chase everyone into their tents.  Tim and Aaron choosing that particular campsite on Hanson’s Island with its almost constant breeze was very important in keeping the mosquitoes and biting flies at bay, but I also appreciated the mosquito-proof bug house that you set up.  I did not know mosquito-proof bug houses even existed and I was glad it was there, although I think it was only used one evening; under other conditions, I could see it being used every night and maybe during the day.

    This was my first guided trip and the luxury and comfort of this trip was due entirely to the efforts of Tim and Aaron, in doing literally everything; all I had to do was fish!  That level of support was totally unexpected because my only other experience with guides was from stories by a friend that used to guide backpacking trips and, as a guide, he said he set himself up as foreman to coordinate and direct the efforts of his clients for cooking, cleaning, and all other camp chores.  When I told him about this trip, he was surprised.  I am thankful that Tim and Aaron were the guides on this trip and not this friend; I can just imagine him barking out orders like a drill sergeant, all the while never moving from the most comfortable place he could find to sit.  The hard work and patience of Tim and Aaron were the major reason this trip was so easy and fun; thank you for making this the best Boundary Waters trip ever!

Quetico Park Canoe Trips

Trip Features
  • Trip Dates: July 15 – 21, 2023 (Waiting List)
  • Trip Cost: $1895 (+ tax)
  • 6 days paddling, 5 nights camping
  • First and last night hotel room in Ely
  • Full Outfitting Package
  • Guided
  • NOTE:  This is a moving trip with many miles and portages.

This is considered a challenging trip, but offers many rewards for your effort.

Please Note: Final payment for our guided group trips is due 30 days before the trip begins.

Travel into the Canadian Wilderness and see its amazing landscape and natural history, fish its pristine waters, and learn from one of the most experience Quetico paddlers around.

The trip will start at the Prairie Portage Ranger Station on Basswood Lake. From there you will start north into the Quetico wilderness. You will paddle and portage your way through the park, stopping at primitive campsites, without the “luxury” of a latrine or fire grate like each Boundary Waters site has. There will be time to wet a line for some Canadian Walleyes or big Northern Pike. If photography is your thing, there is no better place to get some great wilderness shots. Finally, and maybe most importantly, there will be ample time to relax and escape the everyday routine. Keep in mind though that this trip will put on a few more miles than some of our other guided group trips.

You will meet the guide in Ely the night before the trip to go through the gear, talk about the route, and meet your fellow trippers. This trip comes with our Full Outfitting Package so you know you are getting the best gear, ultra-light canoes, and delicious food. All you will need to bring are your personal items and fishing gear. We will also have a motel room for you before and after your time in the wilderness.

See the magnificent Quetico Park that you have been dreaming of through your own eyes.


An RABC permit is required for each person (needs to be done well in advance of the arrival date), a passport is needed, and if you want to fish, you will need to purchase the fishing license online before arrival.

For those of you who have paddled the lakes of the BWCAW and have longed to expand your experience to include paddling in the Quetico, here is your chance to take a trip with somebody who knows the park intimately and is anxious to share that knowledge with you. Like the BWCAW, the Quetico is over a million acres of wilderness waiting to be explored and enjoyed.

The permitting system for Quetico is different from that of the Boundary Waters and it allows far fewer permits for the same area. The most immediate result is that solitude is much more achievable in a shorter amount of time. Fishing is great and the scenery is unbeatable. You are allowed to camp anywhere you like in Quetico Park, so there are some wonderful spots waiting for you to enjoy. 

We are so excited to offer a guided trip in Quetico and hope you will take advantage of this opportunity. Space is limited so sign up soon. Call Drew or Adam for more details and to sign up.

Stargazing in the BWCAW Canoe Trips

Trip Features
  • Trip Dates: September 16 – 22, 2023 (Waiting List!)
  • Trip Cost: $1495 + tax
  • 6 days paddling, 5 nights camping
  • First and last night hotel room in Ely
  • Full Outfitting Package
  • Guided

Please Note: Final payment for our guided group trips is due 30 days before the trip begins.

Nowhere else can you see the stars and Northern Lights so clear at night than the wide-open wild spaces of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Our backyard is void of man-made lights and it is far from the plumes of industry that cloud and obscure the natural beauty of night’s canvas. There is something ethereal, surreal about the constellations when you view them in solitude. Join us for a magical time as we track the power of the great bear and map the path of Orion’s belt accompanied by the haunting backdrops of the calls of the common loon and howls of the elusive timber wolf. Imagine lying on your back on a comfortable therm-a-rest gazing at the limitless vaulted inky black ceilings brimming with stars. 

Discover Cassiopeia, the Twins, Andromeda, Orion, Taurus and more. Learn how to mark Alpha Stars such as Betelgeuse and Polaris to find their different mythological shapes in the sky. 

In 2020, The Boundary Waters was named one of the world’s Dark Sky Sanctuaries.

Would you like to…

  • View the night sky uninhibited by light pollution?
  • Learn about constellations, both where they are located in the sky and the stories behind them?
  • View the Milky Way in all of its splendor?
  • Have a chance to see the Northern Lights?
  • Explore and fish the BWCA?
  • Learn canoe camping techniques from our expert guide?
  • Relax and unwind in a beautiful wilderness setting?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, our Stargazing in the BWCA trip is right for you.

Since the beginning of time, humans have been drawn to the night sky. The vastness of the universe holds instinctive intrigue. Join our 6 day 5 night Boundary Waters canoe trip to gaze upon the heavens like never before.

Our trip will take you far away from the sights and sounds of the city, into the heart of the wilderness, where our stargazing will be undisturbed by light pollution. The constellations and Milky Way will pop out of the night sky like many have never seen.

Enjoy the night sky like you never have before in the quiet solitude of the BWCA. Bring the kids. This trip is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime and inspire wonder. 

We also specialize in Winter Trips, both guided and self-guided and we encourage you to keep your love for the Boundary Waters engaged all year round. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you around the next bend!

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