RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Unknown
Pets Unknown
Drinking Water
About South Kawishiwi River

South Kawishiwi River Campground is located in Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, about 10 miles from Ely, Minnesota. It offers fishing, boating and other recreational activities in a relaxing outdoor setting. The campground has sites with and without electric hookups, as well as one group day use area great for family picnics, birthday parties and other gatherings of up to 35 people.


Canoeing is a main attraction. The Kawishiwi River provides access to Birch Lake to the south and the Boundary Waters to the north. When traveling in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wildnerness, a permit is required.

Canoe rentals are available by contacting the host.

Closer to shore, visitors can enjoy an afternoon of swimming at the campground's grassy beach, hiking the 1-mile Kawishiwi River Forest Trail or trying their luck at fishing for northern pike, perch and walleye. A boat ramp is located on-site.

View recreation guides and maps of hiking trails and canoe routes in the national forest.


The campground offers individual campsites and one group picnic area that can be reserved for day use. Sites are spacious, private, well-maintained and shaded. Visitors will find vault toilets, drinking water and trash bins within the facility. Firewood is available for purchase.

Natural Features

The scenic Kawishiwi River boasts clear, cold and calm waters lined with boreal forest and wetland ecosystems. Wildlife abounds in Superior National Forest, from moose and bear to bald eagles and loons. The campground lies in a mixed aspen, birch and conifer forest.

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.

Nearby Attractions

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.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Additional sites of interest

ADA Access: N

$15.00 - $150.00
National Forest
Drive In
Boat In
Drinking Water
Picnic Table
Trash Available
South Kawishiwi River is located in Minnesota
47.8156 N
-91.7314 W
Get Directions
From Ely, Minnesota, travel about 10.3 miles south on State Highway 1 toward Lake Superior. Turn left onto the campground road.
3 Reviews of South Kawishiwi River
On the Open Road to Kawishiwi

Dyrt Ranger Review of Banner and Oak Products at the South Kawishiwi Campground

Campground Review: My husband and his motorcycle buddies love riding on backroads and scenic byways in our state and National Forests in northern Minnesota. The MN State Highway 1 winds through the tall pines of the Chippewa National Forest, to the Bear Island state forest, and the Superior National Forest all the way east to Lake Superior. A nice weekend ride on this route includes a nice campout at the National Forest Service’s South Kawishiwi campground just off Highway 1 between Ely and Isabella. The campground is a typical rustic Forest Service campground, no hookups or plug-ins for RVs though many of the campsites would have room for a camper. All of the sites are great for tent camping, with large sheltered campsites in the pines, picnic tables and great fire rings with grill. There are water pumps for drinking water, and but the bathroom facilities are outhouses. One of the best features of this campground is the waterfront, with a nice beach and picnic area and a good boatlaunch for canoes and fishing boats. The campground is quiet and peaceful and well maintained. You can hike or boat in the area, and its an easy trip into Ely if you need supplies or want to visit the nature centers in town. Well recommended for families and small groups, accessible for motorcycles, cars, trailers and campers who want a quiet and simple camping experience.

Product review: As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I sometimes have the chance to review camping gear and related outdoor products. This review is for Banner and Oak gear, specifically their outdoor tshirts their camping mugs . My husband tried out these products on his recent camping trip with his motorcycle buddies, and he lived both of them. Our mess kit includes the standard flat sierra cups, which are fine for your instant oatmeal in the morning, but not great for coffee. The Banner and Oak mugs are enameled stainless steel, sturdy enough to be crammed into a tight pack and large enough to hold a good stiff morning coffee—and the “Freedom to Explore” motto on it is great! But most of all, he LOVED the shirts, and said they were the softest he has ever worn, whether hanging around the campsite or, more importantly, under his motorcycle jacket when he is on the road. He felt it was soft and comfy—yes, by comparison, softer even than our little pug dog, which is saying a lot— and its lightweight, and breathes well in addition to preventing chafing under his jacket. He’s a fan! He doesnt usually pay much attention to his tshirts, but Banner and Oaks are remarkable and he will surely be buying more. Its a plus that they are made in the US too!

Small quiet campground

I have only stayed here for a night but The sites are spacious and secluded so privacy was never an issue. And the bathrooms seemed to be well kept. I enjoyed the campground though because of how secluded it was from traffic and all the tourism. Also it was close to Ely wich if you haven't been you must. It's a cutie little town with lots of attractions, shops, and restraunts to check out.

First to Review
Beautiful Little Gem

I camped at the South Kawishiwi River campground last weekend. The sites were clean and private. The campground had the feel of a being out in the wilderness with the convenience of being close to Ely. I loved camping at South Kawishiwi and will recommend it to my friends.