Entry #18 to Stuart River
This portage is difficult only because of the length. The trail is fairly wide and well maintained with only a small number of muddy spots. Mostly flat with a slight uphill climb going from the entry to Stuart River. Because of the distance it is best to use the "leapfrog" technique if you can not do the portage as a single carry. Use the BWCAW entry point sign on the tree about 3/5's of the way down the trail as a good indicator of where you are.
You can put in from the wooden bridge over the first stretch of real water that you come to. This is "Swamp Creek" and it is navigable unless the water is very low. The river was low in '02 and we still could use this creek. Putting in from the bridge will save you about 50 rods of portage.
Once on the Stuart River you have 5 (not 2) portages into Stuart Lake. None are overly difficult but the third one is very easy to miss putting you into a nasty boulder filled section of the river which is difficult to get out of. Keep your eyes open and scout all possible landing sites.
At the end of the last portage where the river enters Stuart Lake is a lovely falls with a natural "shower" and several nice "tubs" to sit in and cool off as you celebrate making your destination.
Lake after portage: Stuart River
Known campsites: 4
Stuart Lake is one of the best kept secrets in the western BWCAW. It is quiet, isolated, and really pretty. It has good fishing to boot. Nice walleyes and smallies. There is a fantastic campsite straight north on the point across the lake from the last portage from Stuart River into the lake. Big rocks sloping down to the lake shore, nice view to the south and west for good sun, and lots of room for tents.
The Fox/Rush/Dark route into Iron is a wise choice if water levels are low as the Dahlgren River is relatively shallow at the southern end and full of very tight turns.
Portage from Stuart River into: