Boy Scout trips into BWCA Quetico from Ely, Minnesota

Youth Group Trips

NCCO arranges High Adventure canoe trips for hundreds of  Scout troops, church youth groups, high school classes, and sport teams each summer into the BWCA and Quetico Park of Ontario Canada. Our files contain many thank you's from satisfied groups.

The big advantage of using a private outfitter is the flexibility we can offer. We will start and end trips every day. We work with you to plan a trip experience that fits the ages and expertise of your youth, you lead your own trip -- the way you want it to be, a trip can be any length of time, we can help you arrange service projects, and you may bring some of your own gear if you wish.

How We Create Your Trip

The Boundary Waters and Quetico Park are known as "friendly" wilderness areas. Yet, they sometimes pose big obstacles to the uninformed and novice visitor. We are here to guide you with the highest degree of professionalism, and good old fashion honesty and integrity. We will provide invaluable assistance to secure the required governmental permits (US or Canadian), transportation to & from outlying landings, route suggestions, and general background information on the area (no one is better informed of canoe country than we are -- we live here and have traveled the many lakes and streams).

We will professionally provide your group with canoes and equipment designed expressly for this area. Much of today's "high tech" backpacking equipment is not suited to canoe country travel. On the flip side, canoe camping equipment tends to be single purpose gear: ideal for canoeing, but not well suited for other types of camping.

We teach all youth groups how to use our lightweight canoe trip equipment before the canoe tripMaking sure everyone knows how to use the equipment is an important part of our pre-trip service.  Here, a Scout learns how to pick up a canoe for portage.

We are one of the very few outfitters in the Superior National Forest to be granted full outfitting operations under federal permit by the US Forest Service. We are one of only two outfitters in Ely that have also been granted an outfitting/guiding license in Canada. These permits mean quality outfitting and full insurance coverage, under an annual review process. As the industry leader, dealing with the newest equipment we are the only outfitter to offer all of the following advantages:

  1. We offer ONLY ultra-Lightweight Outfitting.
  2. Our main base is located on a strategic lake (versus "in town on the main street"). We have water access to 3 entry points from our docks.
  3. We offer land transportation to all BWCA Entry Points in the greater Ely area.
  4. We offer private dorm style bunk rooms for lakeside accommodations before and after your trip.
  5. We offer fly-in canoe trips directly from our docks.

And when you return from your canoe trip you can leave behind a pile of dirty gear that needs cleaning and requires storage space. All you would need to bring to Ely is your personal clothing and your fishing tackle, along with your spirit of adventure. Even the most well equipped Scout troops usually leave much of their own gear at home and avail themselves of the quality and convenience of North Country Canoe Outfitters.

THE ONE SINGLE REASON, however, that most of our customers say they chose us to outfit their trip, is individual service. We always make every effort to match your trip expectations to the areas and lakes that will produce the best vacation for you. We select your entry point and design your trip route around you; we will not fit you into an "off the shelf" trip that is convenient for us.

Pricing Overview

North Country Canoe Outfitters offers substantial discounts (45% to 55% off) from our regular canoe trip pricing to non-profit youth groups.


  • The party must be traveling under the official auspices of a church, a public or private school, or a national not-for-profit youth organization such as the Boy Scouts of America or Youth for Christ.
  • The party must be have at least eight people. We have no maximum party size limitation. (NOTE: The US Forest Service and Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources have restrictions on the number of people that may travel and camp together, but these rules have nothing to do with our non-profit youth group pricing practices.)
  • The party may have no more than 50% of its members be 18 years of age or older.

Our minimum Youth Group party size is eight persons. Sample costs for complete outfitting, including all food & equipment, range from $380 down to $297 per person (depending on total group size, and starting day of the week) for a six-day on-the-water trip. Of course, we offer trips of shorter and longer durations.


Commercial outfitters like North Country use "calendar days on the water" when figuring the length of a canoe trip. Be sure to take this into consideration when looking at rates. The Northern Tier Scout Base counts the arrival day and departure day as one day (there's nothing wrong with this, it is just different from all of the commercial outfitters). In-other-words, what North Country calls a 6-day trip is the same number of days on the water as what Northern Tier calls a 7-Day trip.