The Little Indian Sioux River is mainly located in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The most popular route on the river is traveling North off the Echo Trail. For this trip we headed South, upstream (entry point #9). This was also a special trip because it was our first ever Father – Daughter trip.
The river is lazy and winding and there is minimal flow, so allow enough time in the day if you are going into Bootleg Lake. A few spots on the river were shallow, I would recommend doing the trip earlier in the Spring or after ample rains. The trip is
doable anytime of year, it just may take a little more effort. There are two rapids to portage around in the first section, the first being a short 8 rod portage but an impressive “falls”. The second portage is longer, around a rocky stretch of rapids. You will probably encounter a beaver dam or two on this section. After several miles we veered off onto the Little Pony River, a smaller, narrower river that leads into Bootleg Lake.
Bootleg is a quiet lake with 2/3 campsites. After one night on Bootleg, it was a portage back to the Little Indian Sioux River. We had heard stories about this portage being tough to find. We hugged the shoreline until we made out a path, I jumped out to scout it out, we were in luck, it was recently cleared by the US Forest Service (thank you)! Double portaging allowed my Dad and I some bonding time (on the non-pack carrying leg). The MVP from this trip was my Rambler Pack, which we used as our food pack. We hung it from a tree where it was rained on for 10 hours, the next morning it was dry!
Once back on the Little Indian Sioux we wound back and forth so many times I started to get dizzy! On this section, I spotted my first muskrat, that followed us (or dodged us) several times. After several miles, we exited off the river, onto a long portage that brought us into windy Little Trout Lake. After a brief respite on Little Trout Lake, we headed into Trout Lake and soon there after exited onto the small, serpentine Pine Creek that leads into Pine Lake. There are a few long portages off this creek that lead to other less explored lakes but this creek is frequently used by fisherman from Trout Lake. Off of Trout Lake you have a small portage around some picturesque rapids. Pine Lake was the first time we didn’t have a lake or river completely to ourselves. We did enjoy our last night out with a late afternoon paddle around the lake. At the far end of Pine Lake you can still see evidence of the timber industry, with abandoned railroad posts, from a former bridge, jutting out from the lake in an eerie pattern.
The last morning after another portage, we arrived at Trout Lake and our ride home. The trip was peaceful, with such unique landscape, I will definitely add this to my list to do again. Also, this river trip meant a great deal more to be able to share it with my Father. Thank you Dad for the company, and Happy Father’s Day!
Signed, the Cribbage Champ