Home FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Both, within reason. We don’t want to be driving all day, so within the Gunflint Trail we’ll haul you, your gear, and even your canoes from point A to point B. Let’s say you want to put your car at your exit point and want us to drop you off at the start. No problem.

Prices range on both distance and how busy we are. Late July and early August are our busiest times, and we simply don’t have the time to break away for a transport, unless it’s really worth our while. Off peak, prices are $30-$70 for up to 5 people. 5-9 people is $40-80 for the entire group. Peak times, add $40.

Outside of the Gunflint trail, we’ll do transports to the Arrowhead trail and to Brule Lake entry points, again, for additional fees. Prices start at $100. Sorry, it’s a lot of windshield time that we could be doing things around the resort, getting cabins repaired, cleaning canoes…

Our restaurant closed in 1999. It was a full service, high end restaurant serving nice meals that people would drive a long way to enjoy.

We have no current plans to open the restaurant for the general public. We do have plans on making breakfast available for both our outfitting and cabin guests, but first we have to upgrade the kitchen to meet codes.

There are a lot of restaurants in this area of the Gunflint Trail to enjoy, and each of our Cabins has a full kitchen for you to prepare your own meals. The bunkhouse guests can use our grill and picnic shelter by the lodge to prepare meals, but no cooking is allowed in the bunkhouse rooms themselves.

Yes and no…we have a fishing guide that we refer people to, and he’s quick to answer questions via email or phone calls. He is for hire and you can plan trips with him, his name is Adam Treeful and in the winter he has a dogsled team that competes in area competitions.

Both Mike and Carl (two of the four owners) can be convinced into being a guide for the BWCAW. Again, we are busy running the resort, but if the situation is right (read: $$) we’d love to go camping with you.

There’s an awesome guide service available through Rockwood called “Border Lakes Tour Company” – their trips are designed to meet your comfort level. They can range from easy to challenging based on the type of experience you are seeking. Your guide will discuss this with you and find the right hike or canoe route to meet your needs.

If you just need help getting started, finding the portages / campsites, learning how to canoe or set up a tent, that’s all free and included in the cost of renting a canoe!

We have 8 lakeside cabins and are located next to the Boundary Waters. The Boundary Waters, with Canada’s Quetico National Park, is over 1.1 million acres where no motor or airplane can go; a true wilderness. The lakes are connected by portages, and only canoes (and kayaks) can be used in this terrain. We set up trips for our guests by providing what equipment they don’t have (canoes, packs, tents, food, etc) or, alternatively, we can provide everything (complete package). We operate between May and October because our cabins are built as summer buildings only. We are slowly converting them to be fall / winter cabins, but it’s slow work in such rocky terrain. We would LOVE to see you up here, and we know you would like it. My recommendation for new visitors is to rent a cabin and take “day trips” into the BWCA until you are more familiar with the surroundings, and return to take overnight trips. Read this excellent guide provided by the Forest Service: BWCAW Trip Planning Guide or visit this website: The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Click here for a list of things to do in the area besides the BWCAW…

Before you write it off completely, try “day trips” and see if you indeed have the chops necessary to enjoy the wilderness. Rent one of our cabins for a couple of nights, and spend the day in the Boundary Waters! Bring a lunch, paddle a couple of lakes in, and return to spend the night in a real bed.

I think you’ll be amazed at your own abilities and will be itching to try a longer, overnight trip in the Boundary Waters. My recommendation is to find a couple of friends / family that have a similar interest and put the power of a group into this experience. Also, learn how to portage a canoe (hint: Kevlar canoes weigh 2/3rds the weight of an aluminum canoe) because canoes are often lighter than some packs!

If you are unable to convince others to join, consider a solo trip into the BWCAW. We have an “inReach SE” device available for rent that allows worried families back home to watch your progress on a web page, and gives you two-way texting over Satellite communication. It also makes your smartphone into a great GPS for navigation, and easier texting to loved ones. Send more than “I’m okay”, and get real feedback to know your message is received.

We have four solo canoes and all the smaller, lighter gear you need to make it as easy as possible. Let us provide and pack the gear (and food) and you don’t even have to do planning!

We rent all the gear you need to fill in the pieces. We offer routing service and planning, and have three different brands of waterproof canoe maps for our areas. We can show you how to use all the gear, even those crazy tents and propane stoves, safely. We love this area and think you will, too.

All of our sleeping bags are freshly laundered between uses.

This is what our Bunkhouse is made for! We have four rooms that each have their own shower, toilet and sink. Each comes with 4 bunkbeds and an optional roll-away cot, for a maximum of 9 people in each room. They all have heaters and are furnished with towels, but you have to provide the sleeping bags and pillows.

Sorry, two nights is our minimum for any of the cabins. Some places on the trail require three nights.

We do allow pets. There’s a $25 fee per pet for your stay in the cabins, and $10 fee for a pet in the bunkhouse. If you’ll be away and plan on leaving your pet in your cabin, please let us know so we can watch over them. We’ll even offer to walk your pet and let them get fresh air if needed.

Poplar Lake is outside of the Boundary Waters (well, one small tip shows that it is in the BWCAW on some maps). There is no horsepower limit on Poplar Lake, so bring it up! We have a boat launch in front of our outfitters, but it’s gravel and has bumps. If you want a nice, smooth concrete boat ramp, there’s a public one a mile to the West.

If you are staying in a cabin you can bring your own boat. Several of the docks at the cabins are shallow, so you may need to park your boat at the ones in deeper water, next to the lodge. All boats are subject to Aquatic Invasive Species, so we’ll ask some questions and check your boat and trailer.

We can help you practice. Orientation with the maps we sell are based on finding campsites and portages on the map and then in front of you in the real world. It’s pretty simple once you get the connection; the red dot on the map for the campsite is a clearing with a fire grill in it. The red dashed lines that indicate portages is the only break in the trees on the side of the lake, and it’s really dark where the portage goes into the woods. The sun comes up in the East and sets in the West. 🙂 And there are other canoers out there who want to help you find that next portage!

You can have internet in the Boundary Waters, but you’ll pay a premium to have a satellite connection. There is no cell service in our section of the BWCAW, at all. We do rent the inReach SE, so you can text with your family and they can see a GPS map of your location. You can rent satellite phones and have them delivered here the day before your entry date.

Most people, however, just simply tell us their route, and we know when to expect you. While you are mostly isolated from other groups in the wilderness, there will be canoes that pass by your campsite several times a day. If you overstay your exit date, we’ll check with other canoers in the area and begin a search! In the event of a dire emergency, (usually unforeseen medical) there are several volunteer and government agencies that rescue people in the BWCAW. Usually this is very disruptive to everyone in the area because they often have to use motors to conduct the rescue, so only actual emergencies should be declared .

I like having a small emergency radio to listen to forecasts in the BWCAW. You often have to bring a length of wire to get a clear signal, but it’s helpful when you see a wall of clouds approaching and need information.

Drones are NOT allowed in the BWCAW. Period.

No mechanical means of propulsion is allowed either; no creating a large sail and having the wind do all of the work!

9 people is the max group size, no matter the number of permits or outfitters you use. 9. No more.

Yes! We know it’s a long haul from lots of places to here. And there’s a lot of distractions (waterfalls) on the way up to spend time.

Just let us know beforehand and we’ll give you instructions on how to check in after hours. No worries!

Each cabin has a full kitchen (Refrigerator, stove, sink, microwave, coffee pot) and most of the utensils / pans / bakeware you may need. Each has a 3/4 bathroom (shower, toilet, sink) and some have fireplaces. Each has a canoe (free use of paddles and life vests available at Outfitting), outdoor charcoal grill, picnic table, parking, a deck and a dock. We are adding fire rings this year to two of the cabins (cabin 2 and 6). Some additional kitchen items are available in the lodge, please inquire if you don’t have something you need.

You’ll need to bring food and condiments, salt, pepper, coffee, coffee filters, ice, bottled water, charcoal, firestarter and firewood.

There’s no cell service on the Gunflint Trail. None. Within 5 miles driving north from Grand Marais your phone will not work.

We have high speed wifi (100mbps) and you can turn on the wifi-calling feature of your smart phone, or use skype or facebook messenger to call.
We also have wifi at the Outfitter’s building, which reaches to the bunkhouse.

We can sell fishing licenses through MN DNR’s website. We can print those licenses on 8.5×11 waterproof paper, but they don’t look like the small thermal waterproof licenses sold at Holiday, so if you want a small one visit a Holiday station-store on the way up. If you’ve never had a fishing license before we’ll probably need your social security number.

BWCAW overnight permits (both canoe and hiking) can be printed here. You’ll need to designate “Cooperator-Rockwood Lodge & Outfitters” when booking your permit, or you can log back in to recreation.gov and change the pickup location. You’ll need to watch the same video and go through the same quiz that you would at the Forest Service. Here’s a link to the video if you want to review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgzLn4R4fn4 Prices are $10 for the permit, $16 for each adult, $8 for kids 17 and under, and there are discounts for senior citizens. Group size is limited to 9 people and 4 watercraft, NO MATTER how many permits you may have.

We can issue motor permits as well, because in certain parts of the BWCAW it’s legal to have a motorized boat.

Day permits are no cost and available at the front desk and at the Outfitters. Again, we ask guests to follow all the rules of ‘leave no trace’.

Parking at Rockwood is $5 / day / vehicle. If you have a rental with us, one of our packages or just a canoe rental, or are staying in the bunkhouse we allow you to park your vehicle(s) during your trip into the BWCAW for no charge. Either way we do request that you check your keys at Outfitting.

A nice supply of kitchen and bath towels, based on your group size, is provided when you check into the cabin. We ask that our cabin guests stretch the days between laundering the towels, but if your towel is dirty or you just want a fresh one, please contact us and we’ll switch them out for you. We do not provide fresh towels daily.

The sheets and bed covers are washed between each cabin use, and can be changed out for our guests that are staying for longer times.

Please let us know if you need items changed.

Our bunkhouse guests and shower house guests each get one towel for their use. The shower house also has shampoo and conditioner for your use.

We have 6 kayaks (all solo) for use on Poplar Lake, you can rent them by the half day or full day, each comes with a life vest and a kayak paddle. Three of them are 14.5′ Tsunami 145s by Wilderness Systems, we have a Kestrel 140 and a Kestrel 120, and 9.5′ Old Town Heron XT.
New this year – Stand Up Paddleboards (C4 Waterman Classic X 10.5′) – We are having 2 delivered in May, and are looking forward to enjoying Poplar Lake while getting a core workout.

Yes! We have leeches and crawlers from mid May through September. Leeches are $4/dozen and $40/pound, Nightcrawlers are $2.50/dozen. There’s an awesome bait shop in town called “Beaver House” and another one on the trail 2 miles from Rockwood called “The Ugly Baby”.