Fenske Lake Campground offers visitors an escape to a small, remote campground with large, majestic pine trees and easy access to water. It is a popular base camp for exploring, fishing, hiking, sightseeing and backcountry canoeing in Superior National Forest and the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The campground lies approximately 10 miles outside of Ely, Minnesota.
Because of its proximity to access points into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its status as a Superior National Forest canoe circle route, Fenske Lake is very popular for canoeing and kayaking.
Families and children enjoy exploring the short, 1-mile nature trail in the campground, as well as swimming at the grassy beach or waiting for a catch on the accessible fishing pier. Anglers can make use of the boat ramp and try their luck for bass, northern pike, crappie and sunfish.
View recreation guides and maps of hiking trails and canoe routes in the national forest.
The campground is tent-friendly; most sites do not accommodate large RVs. Sites are spaced widely apart along a large loop. All sites have partial to full shade, and some overlook the lake.
A group campsite for 10 to 25 people is situated on a separate parking spur away from the main campground. The site is perched high on a rock ledge overlooking the lake, offering a spectacular view.
Families and groups of friends will enjoy the facility's small picnic area. An open log shelter is available for use during inclement weather.
The facility overlooks 130-acre Fenske Lake, a small and scenic body of water surrounded by dense hardwood and pine forests in the northwoods of Minnesota. Birds and wildlife are abundant in the area.
Superior National Forest, located in northeastern Minnesota's Arrowhead Region, is comprised of 3-million acres. The forest spans 150 miles along the United States-Canada border.
Numerous outdoor recreation opportunities lie within Superior National Forest's 77 lake accesses, 13 fishing piers, 10 swimming beaches and 22 picnic areas. The forest is also home to three scenic byways.
Campers can also explore the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Over 1-million acres in size, the Boundary Waters extends nearly 150 miles along the United States-Canada border and contains over 1,200 miles of canoe routes, 12 hiking trails and over 2,000 designated campsites.
Additional sites of interest
ADA Access: N
This is a small campground with a few pull in and walk up sites. We had a walk up site that was on the side with the lake which was really nice. It's a short walk back and forth with your tent and other gear to the tent area and picnic/fire pit. Everything you need is really close. Pit toilets on both "sides" of the oval. Plus a very nice little shelter, picnic area and pier for fishing or if you want to go swim too. 15 minutes from Ely and 15 from Lake Mudro entry point for BWACW. Great location!
I have camped here many times over the years, and always liked it as a small quiet Forest Service campground great for camping with younger kids. It is not far out of Ely, close to hiking trails like the BassLake or Angleworm Trail, and is a good place for a weekend camping trip, or for a stopover on the Echo Trail before launching a canoe trip into the BWCA. So, I was looking forward to my return.
Unfortunately, the campground sustained a lot of damage from a windstorm not long ago, and the recovery has been slow. Many of the tall old pines are gone now, so most of the campsites are no longer secluded from each other. There are piles of woody debris everywhere, or piles recently burned by Forest Service crews, which gives a barren sad feeling to much of the campground. There are still a number of lakeside campsites that are in pretty good shape, but overall the campground has lost a lot of the appeal it used to have and it may be a while til it recovers from the storm damage.
There is a group campsite for the campground, though it is located on the west shore of Fenske Lake overlooking the main campground. This group campsite seems untouched by the storm and is still in pristine woodsy condition, and on a nice bluff overlooking the lake near the boat access. If you are going to camp at Fenske, it would be worth it to get a group together and reserve the group site! It is really the preferred ption here, and I would give the group site a 5 star rating.
Went back to fenske this time with canoe to hop on lake and portage to other sites. This campground is perfect for just that!!! There was even littles coves down by lake to leave your canoe like your own personal water garage!!! Nice and quiet and very peaceful!!!
This place was a gem!!! A storm came through week before and knocked down trees so they had firewood chopped everywhere free of charge!!! We got last spot and loved how secluded and quiet it was! Def will be coming back more and more! Ely is beautiful!!!!
We have come back to this campground several times! Pretty secluded, about 30 mins from Ely, MN. This first time we just happened upon it and we were lucky to get the last available spot! Even having a site with no Lakeview was very nice. Next time we made sure to snag a site along the lake! It was absolutely gorgeous, can't remember which site but we had to walk down a few stairs to our site which was positioned among some trees with a giant rock you could climb out on with a PERFECT view of the lake! I would recommend seeing the sunrise out on one of the many boulders they have along the lake, and star gazing from their dock!! We brought a canoe and portaged from the lake we were on to a few others!
We did not camp here but we explored the area as we heard from multiple people that it was a wonderful place. Our first impression was how private and secluded it was. Wich didn't surprise me to much since we were in northern mn
The sites looked very spacious and yet still close to the bathrooms and the trails. Bathrooms were well kept and tidy.
Overall this campground seemed like a wonderfull place to set up camp for a week and I plan on heading back soon to do so.