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Superior National Forest - Backcountry Dispersed Camping

Dispersed Camping includes backcountry campsites and dispersed camping.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry campsites are single isolated campsites that usually require boating or hiking to reach. They have a cleared area for a tent, a campfire ring or grate, and often a picnic table. They also have a wilderness latrine, which is an open pit toilet (no outhouse building). 

Camping within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is only allowed at designated campsites.  All active designated campsites will have a fire grate and a latrine.

  • You may camp up to fourteen (14) consecutive days on a specific site.

  • All members of a permit group must camp together at one site.

  • Multiple permit groups may not camp together.

  • A maximum of nine people and four watercraft are allowed.

  • After you break camp check to make sure everything is packed up and your campsite is clear of litter.

  • Reservations are not required for campsites within the BWCA.  You are required to have an overnight Entry Permit.


Dispersed Camping

If your idea of camping is literally off the beaten trail, most of the Superior National Forest outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is open for dispersed tent camping. This is camping outside of designated sites - just you and the woods without latrines, fire rings, or any additions. Unlike National Parks, you do not need a backcountry permit for camping outside of designated sites in the National Forest. You do, however, need a large dose of common sense and Leave No Trace ethics.  Dispersed camping is not allowed within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

  • You may not create a dispersed campsite within a developed recreation area.
  • Be aware of fire restrictions that apply to campfires outside of developed campsites. In dry conditions, campfires may be banned in the general forest, but still allowed in campgrounds.
  • Parking motor vehicles or trailers is not allowed except at areas developed for that purpose.
  • You may not construct any “improvements” at your camp or cut live trees. Disperse all signs of a campfire if you use one, or use a camp stove.
  • You may not leave your camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours.
  • You may not occupy a site for more than 14 days.
  • You may not set up a dispersed campsite on a road, or on a trail.




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