Iris Lake

Making Connections

  • Bushwhack North and West, to Ell
  • Bushwhack South and West, to Fetters


  • Fisher F-12, Little Sag, Tuscarora, Temperance Lakes
  • McKenzie 7, Tuscarora


  • DNR Lake No. 160563
  • Lake Map No. N/A
  • Lake Table No. 9A
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Iris Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square

Iris Lake, BWCAW, Photo copyright 1993 by Earl J.S. Rook

Iris Lake, looking South. Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area


Iris is a strikingly lovely lake in the midst of the Hairy Lake Primitive Management Area. At its north end, streams drop into Iris from a small unnamed lake in the Ragged Lake drainage to the northwest and from Ell to the north. To the south, the drainage extends through a small and unnamed shrinking lake, to Fetters, to Octopus.

The ground rises steeply on most shores of Iris, often as rocky bluffs. The forest surrounding Iris and much of that to the north and east, is relatively young, dating back only so far as the stand replacing fire of 1936.


Being within a Primitive Management Area, Iris has no designated campsites but camping is allowed here by special permit, at a location of your choosing. While we have not camped on Iris, it is a lake we are likely to return to as it appears to have a number of likely primitive campsites.

Planning Considerations

Iris may be reached either by bushwhacking up the small creek from Copper through Sora and Mass, or up from Octopus on the Frost. The latter is the more accessible route, particularly if you can pick up the old and nearly vanished portages which stretch north as far as Iris. The northern approach is much more of a struggle and the way is often blocked by beaver dams which confound navigation. There are no maintained portage routes to Iris.


Notes and Comments

Iris is the finest of the chain of lakes between Copper and the Frost River.

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004