Steep Lake

Making Connections


  • Fisher F-16, Loon, Lac La Croix, Nina Moose Lakes
  • McKenzie 14, Loon, Wilkins Bay


  • DNR Lake No. 690475
  • Lake Map No. C0815
  • Lake Table No. 2B
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Steep Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Steep is a rather small, four armed lake in the Lac La Croix drainage basin, 11½ miles ENE of Crane Lake and 33½ miles NNW of Ely. Just over ¾ mile long in both its north/south and east/west dimensions, Steep's 86 acres have a maximum depth of 40' with most of the lake having a depth greater than 15'. Out of the northern arm of the lake a 120 rod portage gains 29' of elevation in the first 20 rods before commencing 100 rods of steady descent, losing some 170' of elevation before dropping into North/South. Out of the eastern arm, a 45 rod portage gains 6' of elevation out of the lake, then drops 53' in a steady descent to Eugene.

The forests which ring Steep Lake largely date from the fires of 1894 with those along the eastern side of the northern arm and about the south end from the 1864 burn. This region of the BWCA escaped damage in the 4th of July windstorms of 1999, which caused such extensive tree loss to the south and east.


Steep Lake supports one established campsite, in its northern arm on the eastern shore.

Planning Considerations

Steep is a link in the Snow Bay/Pocket Creek route, the arc of which drops south and east out of Snow Bay on Lac La Croix through a string of lakes (North/South, Steep, Eugene, Little Beartrack, Beartrack, and Thumb) before turning northeast at Finger to Pocket, returning to Lac La Croix at the mouth of Pocket Creek. It does not provide ready access to other areas and so is for most a pass through lake.

Steep is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 5, 11, 14, 15, 16, and 19


Steep supports populations of Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Tullibee (Cisco) (Coregonus artedi), and White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni).

Notes and Comments

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004