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canoe trips


log cabins




We at Packsack absolutely adore the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), as well as Ely and the surrounding area. This area is so rich in adventure, spectacular scenery, incredible fishing, geologic history, wildlife, and pristine wilderness. We make every attempt to impart our enthusiasm and passion for the Boundary Waters Minnesota to every guest, treating this place and each guest as a wonderful gift to be cherished – every day!

Cow Moose in the Boundary Waters Minnesota wilderness.
The Boundary Waters of Minnesota, complete wilderness beauty.


In 1978, the United States Congress set aside approximately one million acres of the Superior National Forest, calling it the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Specifically intended to be left pristine, undeveloped and a destination for Americans to experience a true, untouched wilderness – the way it has been for thousands of years. In the last ice age, the departing glaciers randomly carved this landscape with thousands of lake and exposed rock formations that are like few places anywhere on the planet. Over the centuries, plants and trees began to grow and the region became abundant with wildlife – which are still commonly seen today by our guests. Boundary Waters Minnesota campers regularly report sightings of whitetail deer, fisher, pine martin, bald eagles, moose, black bear, otters, loons, waterfowl, walleyes, northern pike and lake trout – to name a few. There are few places quite like this in the world, that are so very accessible to the wilderness enthusiast.

Packsack Canoe Trips and Log Cabins historic Lodge.
About Packsack Canoe Trips & Log Cabins

Let’s start with a proper introduction. We’re the Ott family – Nick, Danielle and Adilee, and our parents Gene and Jane. Our family acquired the property in 2000. Originally from Northeast Iowa, we had been scout leaders and Boundary Waters Minnesota camping enthusiasts for several years when the opportunity arose to make a lifestyle change that simply delighted us. Since that time, we have built an outfitting service that, we believe, is one of the best in the area. In addition to outfitting services, we have authentic log cabins, right on Fall Lake for non-campers to experience great fishing and conveniently explore the Ely area.


Our cabins and lodge (with bunkhouse) have an amazing history. The cabins were originally built and located up on Pipestone Bay on Basswood Lake. When Congress declared “The Wilderness Act of 1964, all buildings needed to be either moved or burnt to the ground, restoring the natural wilderness. Shortly after, each log was labeled, deconstructed, floated up through Newton Lake to Fall Lake and put back together, like a complex jigsaw puzzle. Can you imagine the planning and the work to accomplish this?


We’re honored by every guest that chooses Packsack and promise to make every effort to build a wilderness experience that best matches your wishes.


At the end of each season, we hold a photo contest on our Facebook page. We were hoping to provide a platform for our guests, and others to post their memories of the Ely area, Packsack, or the Boundary Waters Minnesota from this last summers adventure. This year, we had over 65 amazing photo submissions to choose from, and it was not easy. The 2023 winner is Dave Ranger with his photo of a beautiful sunset over our Bay on Fall Lake. Dave was able to make the property seem so peaceful even though he brought 28 Boy Scouts to our resort this night! We thank everyone who submitted and voted!

Dave ranger.jpg
PackSack's Ice out Contest

Each spring as the Ice begins to melt off the lakes, we at Packsack have Gene drill down to measure the Ice. We then hold a Facebook competition where contestants try to guess the date and time the Ice will melt from our Bay.  Head over to our Facebook page and enter your guess today!

PackSack's Photo Contest 2nd & 3rd place

We would like to give mention to our second and third place winners of our 2023 photo contest. Matt Opheen takes second place with this stunning morning view of Pipestone Bay, and Clayton Nichols photo of the boys in Packsack gear holding a nice stringer of Basswood walleyes receives third place.

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Click on the link below and press play, to check out Packsack's live streaming, Fall Lake webcam and the Boundary Waters Minnesota. Keep an eye on the action year round, and enjoy the beauty of our area! 

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