Wilderness Guide Service

Your Guide Melissa and alumacraft. Ensign Lake, BWCA

Are you a group of adventurous spirits ready to take a journey together in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and in need of a BWCA Wilderness Guide?

Melissa has openings this summer to take your group on a guided adventure. Open to all genders. Are you part of a book club, corporate team, organization, family or friend group looking for a guide to take you on the adventure of a lifetime? Hiring a Guide is a great way to experience the wilderness safely in your own time and at your own pace.


Experience the benefits of days immersed in northern solitude, as your paddle dips quietly in and out of the water.  Hear the bird calls, search the shoreline for animals, and surround yourself with the elemental beauty of our natural world.  No cars, no cell phones, no computer. We focus on the simple basics: food, clothing, water, fire, shelter. Work with Melissa to plan the route based on the number of days and what you wish to experience.


Every day is a new adventure. Learn basic Boundary Waters Wilderness skills like navigation, map and compass reading, knot tying, plant identification, fire building, outdoor cooking or fishing. Options for mindfulness practices including yoga, guided meditation, journaling, and forest bathing are also easily incorporated throughout the journey. Bring your camera for those coveted naturescapes, elusive animal, and macrophotography opportunities.


Accommodations are Backcountry Tent Camping

Fully Outfitted and Guided Cost is $225 per person per day. 3 person minimum with a 4 day minimum. Kids 15 years and under are half price with two paying adults. Please inquire about grants available for girls and those who identify as girls under 18yo. A deposit of $150 per person is due to reserve the dates.

This is a fully outfitted and professionally guided trip. Cost includes guide, all meals, group equipment, permits and instruction on trail. You will be provided with a packing list and additional information upon confirmation.

Got all the gear? Guide only option available. Please contact Melissa for pricing and details.

Details: Following is a tentative itinerary of a loop route.  The woods are unpredictable so find ease in flexibility.  Subject to change with weather, group energy, location, etc.

Day 1: Meet in Ely, MN at 2pm Kawishiwi Ranger Station.  Travel to forest campground and set up camp.  Practice portaging, paddling, and gear packing along with a safety briefing and review of wilderness travel ethics using best practices.  Dinner and Rest.

Day 2: Early wake, pack up, breakfast, short stretch and travel to BWCA entry point.  Portage and paddle in to the BWCA.  Floating lunch and campsite exploration.  We’ll find a suitable spot for our first night camp and set up.  Dinner.

Day 3: Wake, breakfast, break camp. Paddle, raft lunch, paddle and portage to next site, set up camp. Dinner, Explore, Campfire

Day 4: Layover Day. Brunch, Explore, Hammock, Hike, Hunt for Berries, Fish, Journal.

Day 5: Wake, breakfast and break camp. Paddle and portage to new site. Set up and explore.

Day 6: Wake, pack camp.  Exit the BWCA. Paddle and portage back to entry point parking lot. Exchange emails, hugs and farewells 2-3pm.

Participants are responsible for travel to and from Ely, MN and subsequent campground and entry point near Ely.  Carpooling may be an option.  The trip ends the afternoon we exit the BWCA. An extra night in Ely after your trip to have dinner, visit the quaint shops, find your souvenirs, or support the International Wolf Center or Bear Center can enhance your experience.

A moderate level of physical conditioning is recommended in order to feel strong and confident on your journey.   Portages (carrying canoe and gear over land) may be 1/8 to 1/2 mile in length depending on the route. You will be traveling over rock, roots, and rough terrain at some points while carrying gear or canoes which can weight up to 58 pounds. With this in mind, sturdy footwear such as hiking boots while portaging is a safety must and will be explained in packing list. Some days we paddle 2-6 hours, some days we may stay at camp to layover, rest or because of weather. In July -August in the BWCA, we usually see sunny weather, temps of 40-85 degrees. Sometimes there are bugs, and sometimes there are no bugs. 

Deposit is non-refundable with balance due 8 weeks before the trip unless other arrangements have been made. Please see FAQ‘s for cancellation policy.

Call Melissa (320) 491-0502 for questions, additional information, arrangements and dates. Email option: guidingspiritjourneys@gmail.com