Dogs Are Welcome

We understand the difference between family dogs and dogs that are family. More and more people are traveling with their dog family and want to share the wilderness adventure with them. 

Dogs are welcome in the BWCAW if you follow a simple set of rules by the USFS. Specifically, you need to assume the following responsibilities:

“Dogs must be under human control at all times on a 6-foot or shorter leash. Dogs endanger wildlife and barking intrudes on the experience. Dispose of dog waste 200 feet from water, campsites, portages, or put it in a latrine.”

Remember that everything in the wilderness is new for your dog. The smells, sounds, and even the water represent distractions that could lead to trouble. Plenty of wild animals are also in the woods, some of which could seriously harm your dog. 

No matter how well your dog can be recalled, even the best get lost up here. Sadly, it has happened before. Sometimes, a lost dog finds its way out, but often they don’t. It’s a loss that is devastating. Thus, the leash requirement.

Ensure your dog is conditioned to ride in a canoe for long periods. Conditioning should be done well before you begin your adventure. Plan to spend a few days at Rockwood Lodge before you go into the BWCAW and use one of our canoes. 

Invest in and use a canine floatation device for your dog to wear when you are paddling. It’s not enough just to have it in the canoe. And wear a PFD yourself.

Rockwood Lodge is a pet-friendly accommodation. Our dogs love it here, and they’ll be delighted to meet your canine family members.

  • $30 per pet per night
  • $175 per pet per week
  • $20 per pet in the bunkhouse

At Rockwood, a leash rule isn’t enforced if your dog is well-behaved, but please start them on a leash. 

Carl Madsen, one of the owners here, reminds us, “We are in the middle of a vast forest, so be very careful with your pet. There are many wild animals out there that are smarter and faster.”

If you intend to leave your pet in the cabin for any length of time, tell one of the Rockwood staff before you go. They will arrange to have someone watch over your dog(s). Someone can even take them for a walk and some fresh air.

A few trips for traveling with your dog:

  • Restrain it while in your car
  • Do not feed the dog before you hit the road
  • Do not leave the dog unattended in a parked vehicle
  • Stop for potty and exercise breaks every couple of hours
  • Bring a water bowl and a supply of fresh water
  • Provide proper ventilation

To help you and your dog have the best time on your Boundary Waters adventure:

  • Bring the dog’s immunization and veterinary records
  • Microchip for the best ID, but have ID tags for sure
  • Bring food that the dog is used to eating
  • Have disposal bags to pick up and dispose of the dog’s movements
  • Bring a leash that is six feet long or less

The BWCA experience is magnificent for you and your dog. Try it once; your dog will never let you return without them.