We offer guided day trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest by foot or canoe.
We provide all necessary equipment as well as a local, catered lunch. There is no cell phone service in this remote area so we carry satellite communication equipment just in case of an emergency, Additionally, your friends and family can also follow along via a GPS link to the web.
Our trips are designed to meet your comfort level. They can range from easy to challenging based on the type of experience you are seeking. Your guide will discuss this with you and find the perfect hike or canoe route to meet your needs.
Take a look at this short You Tube video created by guests George and Pussanee on their July 13, 2018 trip with me:
It was an amazing trip! We will definitely be back! Jayce & Chad , June 2018
We had a great day paddling with Mike!! It was my first time in a canoe so I was a bit nervous. Mike was very patient and reassuring. We paddled and hiked, it was a great way to spend the day....with great company and great views! Can't wait to do it again! Angela , June 2018
We had such a fantastic day hiking with Mike! The weather was perfect and so was our route. We saw spectacular views and got up close and personal with some swans and a beautiful loon! Mike was very knowledgeable of the area and was a great conversationalist! We loved having someone else plan a route, navigate portages, and complete all necessary paperwork! We highly recommended letting Mike plan a trip for you! Nick & Marci June 2018
We spent our first day in the BWCA on a hike with Mike and it was the ideal way to start our vacation. We aspire to be more outdoors-y than we really are, and spending the day with Mike let us do that. He took us to a trail with an unbelievable vista--a destination we never would have found on our own. We brought our dog along and he enjoyed it as much as the humans did. From the very first contact I had with Mike, he listened to what we wanted and offered perfect suggestions. Already looking forward to our next outing with him--next time, in a canoe! Anne & Ted, June 2018
I’ve been on a couple trips with Mike and highly recommend him. Beside knowing the BWCA he knows a ton about the areas flora and history. I’ll definitely book another trip. - Robb 2018
Planning a wilderness adventure can be a daunting task...especially if you’re interested in heading into unfamiliar territory. You need the right gear, a canoe, paddles and PFDs, you need to map your course, you need to know how to properly portage and pack, you need food/water and you need to know how to put such a trip together in order to feel safe & confident on the water and in the woods. Mike Bartz of Border Lakes Tours put together the perfect outdoor experience for my family and I. We only had to show up with great attitudes and adventurous spirits and he took care of the rest!! Stunning waterfalls, wildlife, solitude, quality time together. Fantastic. - Linda 2018
I cannot day enough positive about our day trip with Mike. Talk about a great way to spend a day, our first paddle in the Boundary Waters and everything provided. Mike is great company and we left with a new friend:) can’t wait to do it again! - Nicole 2018 &2017
"The therapeutic nature of the woods and water are well known to all but this trip puts a beautiful new twist on it. We are all 'so busy' that it becomes tough to plan the time to step into nature (as we all need to do) and Mike made it perfectly possible. The food, all of the gear, the route, the incredible scenery and sounds, the vista views, the refreshing cool air... so many deep breath and sighs all because it was a completely contended and relaxing experience. Thank you for being available to take us on a fantastic tour of the water."
- Trip Advisor
"We had a blast yesterday!! Great guiding and lunch spot was fantastic with both the view and the food Mike provided.
- Michael, Atlanta 2017
"Had a perfect day canoeing the BWCA with Mike's guidance. He is kind and supportive, and clearly has a great deal of knowledge about the region. Though I kayak, I have only been in a canoe a couple times as an adult. Mike's coaching and assistance helped me feel comfortable so that I could enjoy this amazing wilderness area.
- Nicole, Minneapolis 2017
"HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! My 1st time in the area and I haven't canoed in years. Mike put together a great day trip, provided instruction, and knew so much about the area. I would recommend for both experienced paddlers and newbies!"
- Emily, Philadelphia
"It was a wonderful experience! Highly recommend it. Great paddling, beautiful scenery, very tasty lunch and a wonderful guide!"
"Mike – Susan and I want to express our sincere thanks for the wonderful day – trip into the Boundary Waters. It was a true highlight of our stay at Rockwood Lodge. Your patience, knowledge and enthusiasm for the Boundary Waters and your pleasure in sharing it with us is gratefully appreciated. We hope to get back for another week at Rockwood Lodge in October ’18 and we will certainly hook up with you for another great day of canoeing and hiking. Best wishes and many thanks."
- Preston and Susan G
"I've spent a few days paddling with Mike Bartz, and enjoyed every minute of it. Now he has launched a new business based out of Grand Marais to guide Boundary Waters day trips and northwoods hiking adventures. If you know someone that might enjoy such a thing, Mike is your guy!"
"Our good friend Mike Bartz just started guided tour company specializing in the BWCA and Superior National Forest, based in beautiful Grand Marais. I highly recommend Mike, he is such a great guide and one heck of a paddler. I think Mike and I have paddled about 500 miles together over the years."
"We paddled with Mike a few years ago on a trip he arranged for us in the Quetico. It wasn't until we were actually on the water that we found out Mike is retired from Wisconsin DNR. His many years as a game warden provided us with lots of interesting stories which went well with his intimate knowledge of plants, fish and other wildlife. The one feeling that stuck with my wife and me is that we felt very safe having Mike as our guide. It was a trip we never would have done alone."
"Mike and Beth thank you again for the memories. We couldn't have done that without you two!!! We had an absolute blast and can not wait to do it again!!!! Here are some pics we took, feel free to do whatever you wish with them. We will be telling everyone we know about your adventure!!! And sharing many of your posts to get you some advertisements.
- Candice, June 2017
"Tour started, as if on cue, with a loon’s cry on Bearskin Lake. The sky and water interchangeable blue.. Paddle and portage until Rose Lake. Hike through a boreal forest on a path atop a waterfall. Lunch on a palisade followed by a swim in fresh, clear as gin water. No rush. Time to learn about The Voyageurs and Ojibwe legends. Edible plants and native flowers. Glide by tundra swans with cygnets. Hover over a smallmouth bass guarding eggs. Time to feel that civilization is an option. Mike took care of all details including: Pick up and drop off, Packing and portaging, a pre-paddle check of ability and objectives, a post-paddle follow-up to evaluate service.
Take care of yourself and your family - tell Mike the details of the trip you have in mind and he will make it happen".
- June, 2017