South Lake is a large border lake and Boundary Waters entry point(#58) that can be accessed from three different directions, but only from the North when using it as a BWCA entry point. The two most common points of access are from North and Rose Lakes, with a third option from Topper Lake from the South. Due to its size it can be dangerous when the wind picks up, but its size also offers larger than average Smallmouth Bass and Lake Trout. A severe windstorm in June 2016 has affected most of these campsites with uprooted and downed trees.
South Lake Campsite #1
Tent Pads: 1+ | Landing: C | Fire Grate Area: D | Overall: D+
This is a small lightly used site on the far West end of the lake. It is off any main paddling routes making for a quieter than average spot, unfortunately everything else about this campsite is below average.
South Lake Campsite #2
Tent Pads: 2 | Landing: C | Fire Grate Area: B+ | Overall: C+
Unfortunately this unique site was the most affected by 2016 wind storms and it definitely takes away from its charm. A standard landing leads uphill to a nice large fire grate/kitchen area.
South Lake Campsite #3
Tent Pads: 2 | Landing: D | Fire Grate Area: C | Overall: C
An extremely difficult landing leads to a large relatively private fire grate area. It has two large grassy tent pads, but again has quite a few downed trees in the area which leaves it feeling a little ragged.
South Lake Campsite #4
Tent Pads: 1+ | Landing: A | Fire Grate Area: B | Overall: B
A great landing, a nice open fire grate area with big sky views to the east make this one of the nicer campsites on the lake. The only downsides are its close proximity to the portage into North Lake and only one large tent pad.
South Lake Campsite #5
Tent Pads: 4 | Landing: C- | Fire Grate Area: B+ | Overall: B+
The only real downside to this site is a poor landing and a few downed trees in the area. It is a very large flat spot well protected from the elements offering plenty of tenting options.
South Lake Campsite #6
Tent Pads: 3 | Landing: D- | Fire Grate Area: A- | Overall: B
Although this campsite has one of the worst landings on the lake its fire grate area, nice views and plenty of nice tent pads definitely make up for it.
South Lake Campsite #7
Tent Pads: 2 | Landing: D | Fire Grate Area: B- | Overall: B-
This site on the far East end of South Lake sits up on a point but seems well protected from West winds and has 2 nice tent pads. The landing at this site is another bad one.
South Lake Campsite #8
Tent Pads: N/A | Landing: N/A | Fire Grate Area: N/A | Overall: N/A
As of December 1, 2016 this campsite is closed by the United States Forest Service.
Rat Lake Campsite #1
Tent Pads: 2 | Landing: D- | Fire Grate Area: C- | Overall: D-
This campsite lacks any kind of privacy as it sits directly adjacent to the portage between Rat and Rose Lakes and neither portage landing are very accommodating. This is a pretty scrubby campsite overall and looks like a last resort kind of spot.