2024 High Adventure Canoe Trips for Boy Scouts

Into The Boundary Waters & Quetico Park from Ely, Minnesota

Boy Scout High Adventure Groups
North Country Canoe Outfitters has arranged High Adventure canoe trips for literally thousands of Boy Scouts.High Adventure staff wood badge
North Country’s owner has an extensive background in both Boy Scouting and High Adventure. Read more about owner John’s Scouting experience. However, North Country is not a part of the Boy Scouts of America, Trail Life USA, or other youth clubs, or churches.

Boy Scout Canoe Trips: A quick description

Boy Scouts going on BWCA canoe trip

Boy Scout Troop 358 of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, start their eight-day trip on Burntside Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness west of Ely.

Boy Scout High Adventure trips may start directly from our dock or by riding out to a drop point by towboat. Others start by riding to another entry point via van and paddling from there. Routes may return back to the starting point or to another pick-up location. Many Scouts work their way back to our lakeside base. This mean not having to set a pick-up time.

Most routes involve several portages each day. Portages may be a few feet or a quarter mile. A “long portage” may be up to a half mile. They may take some effort for younger Scouts to do, as they are usually up or down hill to the next lake. But … isn’t that what High Adventure trips are all about … Scouts accepting a do-able challenge?

A travel day involves from four to six hours of paddling to the next campsite. We suggest having a layover day or two for Scouts on our trips. This allows for fishing and exploring without having to take-down and set-up camp. Greater distances can be covered by Scouts as there is no gear to carry on portages. After a full day on the water, a Scout group can then return to their camp, have dinner, watch the campfire and the stars, and turn in, in true Boy Scout High Adventure fashion.

High Adventure

What is a High Adventure Canoe Trip ?

Many High Adventure program opportunities exist for experienced, older Scouts and Explorers. This is the culmination of all of the things that Scouting should have taught to a boy: character development, citizenship, and personal fitness.

It is the ultimate in outdoor experiences; beyond summer camp programs. Most High adventure canoe trips are expeditions involving a week or more in remote outdoor settings. Participants of a High Adventure canoe trip should have mastered all of the basic outdoor skills and be ready for an outing that will offer new challenges. Adequate personal preparation and conditioning is recommended for all Boy Scout High Adventure trips.

“Why should our unit take a Boundary Waters High Adventure Canoe Trip?”

Boy Scout High Adventure canoe trip

If this question must be asked, the boys in your unit may not be getting everything they can out of the Scouting program. The question really should be, “Why aren’t we taking a High Adventure trip every year?”

Every program, whether Scouting or elsewhere, has a goal. It is the thing to strive for, the prize for a job well done. In the outdoor portion of Scouting, that goal is the privilege of taking a Boundary Waters High Adventure Canoe Trip.

It gives a boy the opportunity to put into real-life practice all of the camping and cooking skills, first aid preparedness sessions, and all of those knots that he spent literally years learning. It is the reason for “the patrol method: function as a team, or flounder separately.”

High Adventure trip Boundary Waters

Somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15, nearly all boys undergo fairly rapid transition from child to adolescent. Physical growth is the most obvious and dramatic. Shoulders broaden, chests expand, voices change, clothes are outgrown.

If your unit is losing older boys because of “a lack of interest” or they “have other things to do,” it may be that your program is only addressing the 11-13 year old age bracket. The “monthly Saturday night campout” gets stale after three years. Older boys need more from their Scouting program than newer boys do. A Boundary Waters High Adventure canoe trip can help fill that need.

The councils (and units) that have become the national leaders for keeping boys in the Scouting program focus on three main areas:

  1. An emphasis on honor camping programs such as The Order of the Arrow, or local programs like Kansas City’s Tribe of Mic-O-Say
  2. An emphasis on advancement to Eagle.
  3. An emphasis on annual High Adventure Trips.

2024 Leader’s Guide to High Adventure Canoe Trips:
a complete resource available FREE

ATTENTION: Adult Committee Members

The information on this web site dedicated to youth group canoe trips just scratches the surface of the many programs and services we have available to assist you and your group. Our Leader’s Guide To High Adventure Canoe Trips was designed exclusively for our youth group customers covering topics in greater detail than we can include here. We sell this 80-page booklet for $20 plus postage.

  • Currently planning a canoe trip for this coming summer?
  • Currently evaluating possible outfitters?

If requested by an adult leader, we will be happy to send one copy to your organization or troup FREE of charge. (Additional copies = $25 including USPS Priority shipping) (If you have already selected an outfitter, please contact them for their publications. Their policies and practices may differ from what we recommend.)

The best way to request a copy for your youth group is to have a committee member phone our office at

The phone call is free, and one copy of the booklet is free. If you would rather, click here to send an online request for the Leader’s Guide. (Parties may photocopy any or all parts of this booklet for their own trip planning use. It may not be used for any commercial purpose without the written consent of the copyright holder: North Country Canoe Outfitters, Ely, Minnesota.)-