Clearwater Lake is a beautiful lake 33 miles north of Grand Marais, MN up the Gunflint Trail. It is one of the clearest lakes in the area and is also partially in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. You can also access three other BWCA lakes from Clearwater. Caribou Lake, West Pike Lake, Mountain Lake can be portaged off of Clearwater and all three offer different ways of completing the Clearwater Main Route. This lake is also where Clearwater Castle is located.
This lake is 1,344 acres in size and approximately 130 feet deep at its deepest point. When fishing, anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Brown Trout, Green Sunfish, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Yellow Perch. This lake has one public access boat launch located at the end of County Road 66, on the northwest shore of Clearwater Lake. It is a dirt trailer launch with limited parking spaces.
From downtown Grand Marais turn right onto 5th street and continue until you hit the Gunflint Trail and turn left. Continue on the Gunflint Trail for 23 miles then turn left on Clearwater Rd where you continue for about 6 miles until you hit the end of the road where the boat launch is located. When parking here make sure you are not blocking the driveways of residents who live there.
A Day Trip into the BWCA
Clearwater Lake is Entry Point (EP) #62 into the BWCA. This entry point is the perfect start point for a day trip to Johnson Falls, an untouched, two-tiered waterfall. From Clearwater you portage to Caribou lake where you will do the most paddling of the 4 lakes. From Caribou you will then do a short portage to Little Caribou Lake. Paddle Little Caribou Lake and then portage to Pine Lake where you can either choose to paddle across the small section or bushwack your way around the shoreline.
Once across you begin your hike to Johnson Falls. The trail is not maintained but is heavily traveled enough that it is easy to travel. You will first stumble upon the lower falls but you can also choose to climb up to the upper falls. Both are an excellent spot for swimming if the water is not too high.