If you are planning a group canoeing trip in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, look no further than the excellent River Point Outfitting Co., who are 8 miles south of Ely. Form the initial contact through the planning of routes, meals and equipment options, River Point was always extremely well organized, very responsive to phone calls or emails, and upon arrival you felt that you were dealing with family. A perfect choice of outfitters in a perfect place for the est family or group canoeing experience anywhere. Thank you.
- Steve B., Colorado
“I think that my husband Daniel and I may hold the record for annual outings in the Boundary Waters courtesy of Jane and Steve of River Point
and/or for distance traveled to reach our vacation destination. We made our first trip to Ely in 1991, after dropping off our youngest daughter for a week of sleep-away camp in northern Wisconsin. We loved it so much that we have come back every year since. This year, 2010, we are celebrating our 10th annual paddle in the Boundary Waters!
Given that we are anything but local – in order to get to the Boundary Waters, we first fly from Miami to Minneapolis and then do the 5-hour drive up to Ely – we have really appreciated River Point’s wonderful support for all aspects of our outing, from the provision of the most reliable and up-to-date equipment to their expert routing to their making a bunkhouse room available to us as our staging area/sleeping accommodation for the night before we put in.
Given that I had very limited canoeing experience prior to our first visit to the Boundary Waters, paddling on the open water, orienteering, and portaging were new experiences for me. The fact that River Point provided us with excellent maps and routing suggestions, as well as very good equipment (i.e., via the deluxe package, a really manageable and lightweight Kevlar canoe, great packs with hip belts, a clean, commodious, and easy-to-use tent, super-comfortable Therm-a-rest pads, etc.), really made my first wilderness canoeing experience very easy and anxiety-free. Of course, we still had to deal with the challenges of finding our way, portaging, and combating the insects (they were worse that year than any year since – our trial by fire, so to speak!), but those were the ones we looked forward to and dealt with quite well. What we DIDN’T want were problems with our equipment – and we had none of those whatsoever.
Every year when we are at River Point, we exchange updates with Jane and Steve on our respective kids – and now, grandkids! – and share tales of our and other River Point clients’ adventures in the wilderness. Each return to River Point is like a little family reunion.
Thanks so much to River Point for 10 years of wonderful paddling.”
- Batya El. and Daniel M., Miami, FL
“Thank you for your help with our BWCA canoe trip. We enjoyed meeting you, James, and Krista. You have a wonderful little corner of the world and run a very impressive operation! We will certainly recommend you to any of our friends who may be thinking of traveling to the Ely area. All the best to you and yours!”
- Chuck H., Chanhassen, MN
Feels like we’ve known you forever..BIG thank you for another magnificent stay & journey
“Greetings, Jane, Steve, James & the Crew at River Point!!! Wow…I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for another magnificent stay & journey at River Point. Thank you so much for your hospitality and smiles all the time—feels like we’ve known you forever. We certainly let our minds start the journey, left all thoughts of the world behind, let our soul take us where we wanted to be, closed our eyes and let our spirit start to soar—-woohoo what a journey it was. As I stated before and will always state this, where you live is called ‘God’s Country,’ the beauty says it all.”
- Paddlin’ Buddies: Karen M., Amy C., Laura, Suz R., Eden Prairie, Red Wing, MN
“Thanks again for a tremendous experience. Here are the photos of the two big small mouths. Mine was 5lbs 2 oz, caught in the rapids between Gabbro and Bald Eagle, Tommy’s was 4lbs 6oz caught on the rocks just south of Trappers Point. Both were weighed on our portable digital scale and released.”
- Thomas & Tommy E., Columbia, MD
“We had a wonderful time on our trip. Your staff was amazing and the equipment and meals were perfect!”
- Matt D., Avon, MN
Much thanks to all who support our scouts and to those who helped in making this memorable experience possible for the scouts of Troop 12!
Here is a group selfie of our high adventurers as we gather at one of our portage sites in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area in northern Minnesota for a week of wilderness adventure in early July. We enjoyed the beauty of this wooded northern country with many rivers and lakes to explore, spotting wildlife such as the otter and bald eagle as we canoed our way along the Isabella River, across Bald Eagle Lake, across Gabbro Lake, and then down the Kawishiwi River, stopping to camp and fish along the way each day. In the evening, we heard the gentle call of the loon, and on a clear night we were able to see a stunning view of the stars as well as a portion of the Milky Way. We learned how to navigate using a map and, occasionally, a compass, but mostly using our eyes as we observed the changing landscape, feeling very much like explorers of the past. We could always hear the rapids before we saw them and we learned what it means to portage from one river point to another. On our final day’s journey along the Kawishiwi River we heard an amazing group howl of wolves coming from the forest, causing all of us to stop paddling and to just listen to the wolves’ chorus of howls grow and grow, finally peaking, and then the forest was silent again. What an incredible world God has made and we are so fortunate to be able to explore it! Much thanks to all who support our scouts and to those who helped in making this memorable experience possible for the scouts of Troop 12!
- Jenny H., Auburn, IN
Thanks again for a memorable time, your wonderful hospitality, and your knowledge of it with us
“Greetings…Enclosed are photos from our family trip over Labor Day and also of the “girlfriends” trip in July. Thanks again for a memorable time, your wonderful hospitality, and your knowledge of it with us. Our family truly enjoyed your beautiful area and plan on making it an annual event. Gentle blessings!”
Just to let you know…we had an outstanding time…Thanks for answering all my questions during the process
- Don, Karen, Jessica, Ryan, & Sam M., Eden Prairie, MN
“We had a great canoe trip as always! Just needed a little more sun. You made it better with your quality service and friendly atmosphere and demeanor! It was interesting for me to get back to the Ely side of the BWA since I hadn’t been there since the 70’s. The Kawishiwi is a beautiful area as is your resort. The photos were as great as the treat we got from James at the pick-up point!”
- Michael M., Minnetonka, MN
He led 6 greenhorns into the wilderness and provided outstanding guidance and leadership
“You have a great crew [at River Point]. But, Chris [Wolf Howling Guide] is a gem!. His maturity and capability in providing everything everyone needed was quite obvious. He is wise beyond his years. The trip was awesome!”
- Cathy B., Cuyahoga Falls, OH
A huge thank you for the incredible hospitality and your thoroughness. It made our trip phenomenal! Everything was so nice and your staff did, indeed, live up to the “expert” tag you gave them. Please pay this forward with your huge smile to the next lucky River Point outfitted group. Feel free to tell our quirky embarrassing water bottle filling mishap in the process! With huge thanks.
Please give this tip to Ryan. He was great to us with his trip planning and packing resourcefulness. We adored him and wanted to tell him how our trip went. We tried our hardest to see a moose, went to the edge of Bald Eagle Lake. Day 1, we camped on the North Kawishiwi River and saw lots of birds and turtle visitors. Day 2-3 Bald Eage (16 mile paddle with portages….my hubby was a rock star! We loved all the trip planning and the expertise of River Point staff and owners.
- Brent and Julie S., Colorado Springs, CO
Great Resort and Outfitter 5 of 5 Stars High End Equipment, Great Food Choices, and Personal Knowledge about the best lakes and best fishing for an amazing five days
“We recently used River Point Resort as our outfitter for 5 days in the Boundary Waters. We spent the night prior to and immediately after our trip at the resort as well, so this covers both the resort facilities and outfitting service.
As an outfitter, River Point supplied us with high end equipment, great food choices, and their personal knowledge about the best lakes for us to go to given our desires for our Boundary Waters vacation. We appreciated their input and tips on what lakes were best for fishing as well as some of the history and characteristics of different lakes. Thanks to River Point, we enjoyed an amazing five days in the Boundary Waters.
After the 5 days in the woods, it was really nice to come back sto the very clean and comfortable Villa we rented for welcome showers, air conditioning, and lots of clean towels. The resort itself is beautiufl, with nice landscaping, two great swimming beaches with floating docks and nice sand which we enjoyed.
In our many interactions with the staff both before our trip and during our time at the resort, we found everyone to be incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating. Every interaction we had was positive and genuine, from the friendly welcome and beer with check in (despite the fact that it was just 5 minutes before they closed for the day), to the outfitters who explained our gear and helped us choose a route. Both of our drivers to/from our entrance point were fantaastic – when we were picked up from our time on the lakes – we were hot, sweaty, and desperate for a stop at Dairy Queen for something cold. Not only did the driver happily oblige, he also stopped for us to get a few cold beers to enjoy back at the resort. Awesome service was VERY much appreciated. A big thanks fo Jane, who welcomed us back to civilization by ensuring our Villa was nice and cold with lots of towels upon our return.
I would happily choose River Point again, for outfitting services or for a stay at the beautiful resort, and can’t thank then enough for their knowledge and hospitality while traveling with my family.”
- Lou G., D., ID
You did a fantastic job in outfitting all of us.
“I wanted to take a moment to tell you Thanks. Boy Scout Troop 51 had a wonderful time. We have several families that are talking about coming up as families and doing the canoe trip. My personal family is one of them. They want to bring me and the grandparents back to your beautiful facility. I look forward to working with you in the future and will recommend you to all Scouts in our area. Thanks again.”
- Rebecca S., Troop 51, Gellette, WY
River Point’s experience and support was outstanding
“Thank you and your staff for making our trip so enjoyable. As you know, this was the second year we chose to use River Point Outfitting Co. as our outfitter.
As a trip leader it is a great comfort to know I can focus all my energy on my students and not have to worry about equipment, transportation, or food. We had plenty of food even for our “boys” group, and the equipment provided was everything we needed.
The overnight accommodations followed by the excellent breakfast really helps our budget and makes the start of the trip easy and enjoyable. In addition, I really appreciate your staff training our students at your facility prior to our entry to the BWCA along with their
Again, it makes my job so much easier when I can just focus on our kids. I am looking forward to continuing to bring our students to the BWCA and you can be assured we will use your service again next year.”
- John W., Trip Leader, Oak Grove Lutheran School, Fargo, ND
“James helped us with so much information about our 8-day BWCA canoe trip that was coming up next week. He went over maps with us and explained and recommended camping and fishing sites and techniques. It was great to talk with him and his suggestions were spot on!”
- Judy and Tim G., Trinidad, CA
A Family-run business they took pride in providing personalized service, high-quality canoes and gear, and expert trip-planning advice
“As an occasional visitor to the BWCA, I searched for an experienced outfitter to meet all my trip planning needs. River Point made our canoe trip easy and memorable. A family-run business, they took pride in providing personalized service, high-quality canoes and gear, and expert trip-planning advice. They even warned us to be on the lookout for bears prowling for our food, which sure enough came true when a bear visited our campsite three times, but left hungry! Beyond outfitting, River Point also had clean accommodations for before and after our BWCA adventure, and even knew the best restaurants to hit around Ely.
We took many photos, including some really beautiful shots of different lakes and scenes from our 3-day trip. We used our photos to make a photobook for each member of our group. Also, one of our photos you took for us at River Point was published in the community newspaper, the Kirkwood Webster Times. Thanks again for the great hospitality and great outfitting services. Looking forward to my next trip!”
- Bill S., David P., Tom T., and Paul G., St. Louis, MO
Ely named one of ten ‘Dream Towns
‘”You may feel out of place in Ely if you don’t have a 16-foot, scratched-to-hell Old Town canoe strapped to your roof rack. Unless you’re a fisherman, that is. Ely (pop. 3,424) is located 35 miles from the Ontario border at the gateway to the legendary Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a million-acre maze of lakes and boreal forest with 1,500 miles of canoe trails and endless runs of small-mouth bass, walleye and pike.”
- Men’s Journal
“We had a really good canoe trip with your outfit this past fall.Great equipment and great staff. It will no doubt provide us with warm happy memoies to carry us the the cold dark of winter. Best…”
- Beryl, Laurie, Nancy, and Mike, South Berwick, ME
The Perfect Trip and Appreciate the Hospitality
“Let me start by saing Dawson and i had such a great time in the Boundary Waters! It was the perfect trip before he heads off to college and becomes too busy for his Dad! We really appreciated the hospitality of you, Steve, and the rest of your staff. Thanks!”
- David H., Ballwin, MN
We came seeking the solitude and the grace of the Boundary Waters. We got all this, plus so much more
Thanks for the perfect package…so complete, great tasting food, A+ equipment, and a staff that was so friendly, knowledeable, and able to answer all our many questions during the trip routing. Loved the scenery…even caught a few fish and they tasted amazing! We will highly recommend your BWCA outfitting services, and will return.”
- Karen & Bob F., Waterloo, IA
Ely Outfitters focused on all the little details so my wife and I could focus on having a great vacation with each other
“Ely Outfitters [River Point Outfitting Co.] helped us with all the details of our Boundary Waters trip, from packing things we never would have thought to bring (but ended up appreciating having) to helping us plan a route that worked for our fitness levels and sightseeing goals. They focused on all the little details so that my wife and I could focus on having a great vacation with each other.
Our Boundary Waters trip was just the wilderness adventure my wife and I were hoping for; the folks at Ely Outfitters made sure we were ready for it!”
- Steven and Lisa Z, Swedesburg, IA
“Just a quick thank you for the gracious hospitality and professionalism. We had a great time in the Boundary Waters. I will be sure to recommend “elyoutfitters.com ” [River Point Outfitting Co.] to my friends.”
- Bill C., Nashville, TN
Didn’t even check anywhere else because I knew the quality of the equipment would be good
“Well, it’s back in the saddle at work already…hard to believe that yesterday at this time I was still sound asleep at the campsite in the Boundary Waters… Thanks to you and your crew for another good trip with excellent equipment. I didn’t even check anywhere else this year because I knew the quality of the equpment would be good and that means alot…We talked about bringing Mira’s dad to America next year and bringing him on the Boundary Waters canoe trip, too.”
- Roger C., Fairmont, MN
“Superb equipment, food, and service. Now we know what it means to ‘Paddle the Quiet Side®’ Thanks for everything!”
- Rob and Betty S., Kansas City, MO
Had Exceeded my Expectations at Every Point of the Trip – Reflected the Pride You Have for this Place
“I should have known the moment I turned off of River Point Road that something was different about River Point Outfitting Company. The beautiful wooden sign and long, winding drive set the mood for an experience that would become truly “North Woods”.
As my friend, Andy, and I pulled into the complex, the first thing I noticed was the beauty of the resort. The buildings, the signage, the landscaping all reflected the pride that you and Steve obviously have for this place.
We parked and walked to the office where we met you and received our first orientation to the BWCA and to River Point Resort. You greeted us warmly, offered us a complimentary beer, and shared the details of River Point, the town of Ely, and the Boundary Waters. If we didn’t already feel welcome and relaxed, your greeting certainly put us there!
The next stop was the outfitting shed where we met Mitch. Warm and friendly, Mitch was a true wealth of information about the boundary waters. As he went through our gear with us, Mitch shared stories of past trips and asked us about what we wanted to find during our trip. Since our focus was on fishing, he spent quite a bit of time talking with us about our best options and potential routes. He pointed out the best campsites and even drew diagrams on our map to help us navigate tricky sections in the lakes. In no time at all, it felt like Mitch had been a friend for years.
We had arranged to stay in a bunkhouse for the night before we set out on our trip. Having both used several outfitters in the past, we didn’t have very high expectations for the bunkhouse accommodations we’d find. However, were pleased to discover that bunkhouse #2 was clean and comfortable, with a table we could use to organize our gear for the trip. The nearby private bath and shower rooms were a pleasant surprise as well. Updated and modern, they were just what we needed after a long drive north. As evening settled in, we were able to enjoy a campfire and the fire ring outside the bunkhouse and gaze at the stars we would get to know so well over the next five days.
The morning of our departure, we met Mitch at the van and loaded our gear. The drive to Farm Lake was filled with more stories and fishing ideas as we enjoyed a delicious breakfast basket that fueled us for the day ahead.
Once on the water, we were pleased to find Mitch’s directions to be spot on. We were catching fish right away, and were able to find and secure one of his recommended campsites which would become home for the next several days.
The next few days were filled with fishing, fishing and more fishing. We tried several spots that Mitch recommended, finding success at each location. Meanwhile, the evenings were dark and moonless, providing a rare opportunity for this “downstater” to see the Milky Way.
Our time in the Boundary Waters went too fast, as it always seems to do. Before we knew it, we were at the challenging exit portage at Little Gabro. We were on time for our pick up, but wondered if Mitch would be (I’ve had bad experiences with pick-ups from other outfitters). My fears proved unfounded. As we navigated the portage with our gear, Mitch met us along the rocky path with a warm greeting and an offer to help carry our gear. The van ride home was filled with stories from our trip, and Mitch added a few more of his own.
Once back at River Point, the gear turn-in was quick and efficient. We said our goodbyes to Mitch and headed for the showers, which were warm and welcoming after days in the woods.
I’ll admit to a little tug of sadness as we pulled out of the drive and pointed the car back towards home. As I reflected on our trip, I realized that River Point had exceeded my expectations at every point of the trip. I’m hoping that it won’t be too long before I can make another BWCA trip through River Point, and will enthusiastically recommended your resort and outfitting service to anyone who asks.
Congratulations to you and Steve on creating such a wonderful place. I’ll forever be thankful for the memories you helped us create.”
- Chip M., St. Charles, MN
Cozy, Helpful Family Outfitters – Family-Run and Multifaceted – Idyllic Area
“I first saw this outfitter recommended in Eat This, Not That magazine Summer 2016. I’m really glad we booked with them. They are family-run and multifaceted, and much more than just “specialty lodging.” Both my sister-in-law and I spoke on the phone several times with Jane in preparation for our trip. She was very pleasant and extremely helpful. Honestly, I think we would have been a little lost in our trip planning without her advice and experience. We found the pretty place without problem. They are on a idyllic area, reminiscent of a resort from a movie like Dirty Dancing or something. Steve got us checked in, even offering cold cans of beer and water, and local stories. We bought mosquito net hats there, which I’d highly recommend. We attended a briefing by a cool staff member to learn about all the equipment we were renting. They even agreed to let me keep some medication that couldn’t get hot along with some food in a side room while we camped. Then we drove into Ely for dinner before returning to the resort and staying one night in the bunk room. The bunk room is just that; naked, clean beds, some electrical outlets, and a table in a log cabin. The bathroom is a short walk up a path. In the morning we were off bright and early with a driver to take us, all the gear, and life jackets, canoes, and paddles to the put in spot they had helped us select, Snowbank. We were off on our adventure, and even got the campsite for which we were hoping, again, on staff advice. When we returned three days later, another staff member met us and loaded all our stuff back up. We returned to the resort and were given access to showers and well-wishes goodbye.”
- Sarah S., Denver, CO.
“Thank you for a wonderful BWCA experience. My Swiss friend, Kurt, and I have recently returned home from our canoe outfitting. We are so impressed with River Point Outfitting Co. Kurt has now returned home to Switzerland with his family and will be telling stories and showing photos of his Minnesota journey. We are grateful and we thank you for making our trip so great!”
- Michael M., Glenwood, MN
Special thanks for matching our guide Steve to the group. He was great.
Steve has boundless energy, with a great Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter) outdoors way to him. I believe that Steve learned all of our names, or at least handled it well considering that, out of 7 of us, 5 names start with a “J”. He also had us doing a fair portion of the work, which is what I was looking for from the beginning and felt would be necessary for a group of our size.
I figured out that we traveled 21.5 miles That doesn’t count the canoeing around for fishing. With the headwinds we faced on the 2nd and 4th days, that was quite a lot of canoeing and a real feeling of accomplishment for our first trip of this type for the group.
Thanks for answering all of my questions during the process, for the excellent gear and canoes..and for all the wonderful food. Did not think we would eat so well out in the “bush.” That really make it work.”
- Jeff B., Kensington, CT