Lodging Amenities FAQs

Q.  When do you open in 2023?

A.  River Point is open in the spring, summer, and early fall. Open Dates in 2023 are May 12-September 24.

Q.  What is a housekeeping accommodation?

A.  “Housekeeping Accommodation” means that you are renting a completely furnished accommodation with a kitchen and all the equipment needed for cooking. You provide your own food and personal toweling for bath and kitchen. You tidy your accommodation during your stay as you desire and a Guest Laundromat is available on-site with two new washers and two new dryers. It is coin operated with quarters which are available for exchange at the Office.

Included in the kitchen are stainless steel cook pots/pans and fry pans, oven roasting pan, dishes, serving bowl and serving plate, juice container, glass salad bowls, glasses, stemware, silverware and cutlery, cooking utensils, corkscrew, can opener, measuring spoons, measuring cups, ice cube trays, gas grill utensils, colander, cutting board, cookie sheet pan, 9×13 cake pan, oven proof baking dish, and other items.

Also included, are small electric appliances such as hand mixer, blender, drip coffee pot with coffee filters, and a toaster.

Consumable items indicated below are provided and restocked twice during week-long stays and offered upon request at any time:

  • Bar Keepers Friend for use on stainless steel pots and fry pans
  • coffee filters
  • dishwasher detergent
  • liquid dish soap
  • sponges/scrubbies for use on stainless steel pots and fry pans
  • toilet paper
  • trash bags

All kitchens have electric refrigerator, stove with oven, microwave oven and all, but 2 of the 14 accommodations, have dishwashers. Log Cabin and the Hideaway Cabin do not have a dishwasher.

Gas grills and several lounging chairs and tables for outside dining are provided for each accommodation. Plenty of lounging chairs and chaise loungers are conveniently sprinkled along the shoreline for relaxation. Each of the fire-pit areas have a minimum of seven Adirondack chairs surrounding the pit and complimentary firewood.

Refer to About Lodging for more information.

Q.  What To Bring for the Accommodation:



1.  Personal toweling for bathroom and kitchen, including pot holders. As indicated above, a Guest Laundry Facility is available onsite.

2.  Food, staples, and other items such as salt, pepper, flour, sugar. There is a large, new grocery store in nearby Ely (see below).

3. Cast iron fry pan or griddle for frying fish outside on the gas grill. Or, a Presto Fry Daddy, works well, too. Pots and fry pans indicated on the kitchen inventory provided for use on the stove top in each accommodation should not be used on the gas grills as the intense heat destroys them beyond further use. Your consideration is appreciated.43.  Pancake griddle, coffee grinder and crock pot, if desired

4.  Paper Toweling

5.  Beach Toweling and small beach toys for the kiddoes

6.  Personal hygiene products such as bar soap, shampoo, lotion, tissues (Kleenex), etc. and nightlight, if desired

7.  Flashlights for evening walks in and around the property. To enjoy and protect the dark night sky and the amazing stars to be observed at River Point lighting around the property has been kept to a minimum.

8.  First Aid Kit

Q.  Do you sell ice?

A.  Yes, 5 lb. bags of ice cubes are available for sale and are self-serve at the Bait & Tackle Shop.

Q.  Are there smoke-free accommodations?

A.  Yes, all accommodations are Smoke-Free including those with screen porches. Smoking is optional on sundecks and patios. Some guests may have more sensitivities to cigar smoke. To be respectful of them, and to provide all guests with the opportunity to enjoy the fresh, clear “Up North” air, it is preferred that cigar smoking occurs in the comfort of your own vehicle, in the parking lot, on the hiking trail, or on the lake. Concerns? Questions? Please contact us.

Q.  Are pets allowed?

A.  All of the rental accommodations at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. are Pet Free. Please contact River Point for suggestions or feel free to contact two local Ely MN kennel boarding facilities:

1)  Veterinary Clinic   (218) 365-5911  Address:  318 Miners Drive    2)  Country Line Dog Boarding and Kennels.  (218) 365-4551   114 Kawishiwi Trail

ADA Service Dog Laws (2020)

  • Which Animals Are Covered Under Minnesota Law?  Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a disability. The tasks or work the animal does must be directly related to the person’s disability. A service animal is a working animal, not a pet.
  • Are Emotional Support Animals the Same Thing as Service Animals?  No, emotional support animals, or ESA’s, are not the same thing as service animals. The ADA does not recognize dogs who solely provide emotional support or comfort as service animals. Unlike service dogs, emotional support animals do not require any special training.

Q.  How far are you from Ely?

A.   8.5 miles SE of Ely on highway #1, or about 15 minutes driving time. Private, well-maintained drive of 1.3 miles–River Point Road–brings you into the resort facility.

Q. Do You Have Dark Skies at River Point?

A.  The dark night skies that guests enjoy at River Point are immediately adjacent to the Boundary Waters which was recently designated a Dark Sky Sanctuary in September 2020. The Boundary Waters is one of just 13 locations in the world to recent this distinguished designation for the quality of its night skies, and the first such designation in Minnesota. It is also the largest site designated to date. Thus, in an effort to allow you to observe the beauty of the night sky surrounding River Point we refrain from having too many lights around the property.

Q.  How big is Birch Lake and where is River Point on the lake?

A.  Birch Lake is the largest lake in the Ely, MN area that lies outside of the protected 1.1 million acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). It is about 20 miles long and approximately 6,000+ acres in size. 90% of the shoreline of Birch Lake is undeveloped federally owned land. River Point is sited on a private mile-long wilderness peninsula on the northern, and most undeveloped portion of Birch Lake where it is joined by the South Kawishiwi River, which leads directly into the BWCA (Boundary Waters)–entry point #32–just 4 paddle miles from River Point.

Q.  Is Birch Lake easy to navigate, and is it a busy lake?

A.  The lake is like a meandering river-lake. You can see from one shoreline to the other, with the widest portion of the lake being about 1.5 miles across.  It is easy to navigate with a multitude of bays, inlets, rocky coves, and islands that one may pull a boat up on for a picnic, a fish-fry, to swim, to explore, and to enjoy. There are 14 fire grates provided by the USFS for a cook-out fire, as well as some latrines along the shoreline of Birch Lake. With extremely limited development on the lake, especially the north end of the lake, Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River are unique compared to other area lakes due to the lack of development, both commercial and private. Birch is not a busy lake; it is just the opposite.

Q.  Is Birch Lake clean and clear?

A.  Birch Lake is a clean lake. It is fed by the gently moving South Kawishiwi River that flows south to River Point out of the protected Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where it joins Birch Lake and then wraps around River Point’s west shoreline and flows north back into the BWCA. Due to little, or no, shoreline development, the lake remains relatively clean. Clarity is only 4-5 feet, as the lake is naturally colored a brownish, “root beer” color. This occurs as the waters flow through the marshlands and swamp lands up river where there are numerous tamarack trees, that stain the lake its natural brown color. Many of the lakes in the Ely area and the Boundary Waters are tinted this same “natural” color.

Q.  How far are you from the nearest airport?

A.  Approximately 4 miles from Ely Municipal Airport. (218) 365-5600.  Complimentary Ely airport shuttle provided. Hibbing International Airport is 1.5 hours away; Duluth International Airport is just 2 hours away; Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport is 5 hours from Ely and River Point Resort

Q.  How much shoreline do you have?

A.  Approximately one mile of private wilderness shoreline bordered on the east and west by the South Kawishiwi River, and on the south by Birch Lake. River Point Resort is the only property on the peninsula.

Q.  How close are you to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?

A.  The BWCA (Boundary Waters) is just 4 paddle miles upstream at entry point #32, South Kawishiwi.  Perfect for a day canoe trip.

Q.  Where is the nearest grocery store and liquor store?

A.  In Ely, about 15 minutes away is a large, new grocery store, a new liquor store, and several convenience stores. Zups Grocery Store located on Ely’s main street which is Sheridan Street opened in December, 2021. We also recommend Ely Liquor Store, on Sheridan Street, which is brand new, very spacious with hundreds of products to select from. There are also several gas stations with convenience stores.

Q.  What about televisions, cell phones, and internet access?

A.  Normal TV reception is not available in the accommodations by the preference of our many repeat guests and TV’s are not provided. Cell phones work well. There are some spots where the reception is better than other areas. Rarely, if ever, an issue.

High speed fiber optics broadband WIFI internet access is available in every accommodation and in most places on the property.

Q.  How close are the accommodations to the water?

A.  River Point is a lakefront resort with water on three sides of its private peninsula.  Set-back from the lake and river is approximately 25-120′, depending upon the accommodation.  Nine vacation home cabins have scenic lakefront views and wooded privacy, and are approximately 25′-75′ from the water’s edge. Three Villas, also have lovely easterly lakefront views, just a few steps to the water, and Chalets are approximately 120′-140′ to the water’s edge.   Refer to the Resort Layout Map.

Q.  Does your place feel crowded?  How many accommodations do you have?

A.  River Point can accommodate about 100 persons in 14 accommodations. With the amount of shoreline and land available, this property does not feel crowded. Plenty of “breathing” space. This is not a high density resort facility. There are just 14 rental units: 9 Vacation Home Cabins, ranging in size from one to three bedrooms; 3 Vacation Villas, with one to two bedrooms;  and 2 one bedroom Chalets that can accommodate up to four persons. Pleasant walking paths connect all parts of the resort property.

Q.  What is a Villa?

A.  The Villas are housed in a very large two story building with one 2-bedroom Villa (Aspenwood) on the lower level, and two Villas (Stoneridge, which is a 2-bedroom and Birchcliff which is a 1-bedroom villa) on the upper level. All three Villas have private entrances with no walk-throughs or adjoining doors.  Each is a private accommodation within the larger building, and there are only three Villas in the building. Aspenwood has a private patio, and Stoneridge and Birchcliff have sundecks. Each accommodation has its own lounge chairs and there are gas grills for all three, plus air-conditioning.

The Villas are approximately 120′ to the water’s edge with level ground to access the marina area, sauna, fire pit area, and the south beach. The view to the water is unobstructed. Decorated with new furnishings (sofas, chairs, lamps, tables) each Villa is most comfortable with full kitchen with dishwashers and other electric appliances. Wood-burning fireplaces in the living rooms and double whirlpools, plus showers in the bathrooms round out the comfort. Aspenwood and Stoneridge have new custom designer ceramic tile flooring. This complex can be used as a “retreat” house when renting all three Villas.  Also, each Villa is a superb choice for a romantic couples getaway vacation for short stays or a full week rental. River Point’s three Vacation Villas are not individual “free-standing” cabins.

Q.  What is a Chalet?

A.  The Chalets are housed in a 6,000+ square foot two-story building. Each Chalet is located on the upper level of the building and is on one of the corners of the building. Thus, each Chalet has its own private entrance and its own private deck and gas grill with both wooded and water views with set back to the water of approximately 120′-140′. Appointed with all the amenities and designer touches, the Chalets have full kitchens with pecan cabinets with lights under the cabinets for ease in preparing meals, custom slate back splashes beneath the cabinets add an “elegant touch”, dishwashers, and all other electric appliances. Log furnished throughout, each Chalet has a living room with plenty of comfortable furnishings. All Chalets are air-conditioned. Custom ceramic bath with shower, ceramic tile flooring throughout all living spaces, except the bedrooms, which are carpeted. Amazingly beautiful, these quality Chalets are a great accommodation choice for overnight rentals and shorter stays, as well as a full week rentals. River Point’s Chalets are not individual “free-standing” cabins.

Q.  What kind of heat do the accommodations have?

A.  Electric forced air heat in 11 of the lodging choices. In-floor radiant heat in the custom ceramic tile floor in the Chalets and Riverview Vacation Home cabin. AC/Heat Pump heat in the Point Vacation Home Cabin and Shifting Pine Vacation Home Cabin.

Q.  Do you have A/C?

A.  Yes, all accommodations have air conditioning. The Wildwood Lodge is also air conditioned.

Q. Do we need to bring lounge chairs for outside relaxing?

A. No, there are plenty of lounge chairs and chaise loungers at each accommodation and sprinkled along the shoreline and on the common sundecks. No need to bring your own.

Q.  What do we need to bring for fishing?


1. Rods and Reels

2. Tackle Box

A convenient Bait and Tackle Shop is on site for live bait, end tackle, small tackle boxes, complimentary maps, minnow buckets, and friendly advice. Rods and reels are available to rent. An honor system is in place at the Bait and Tackle Shop for charging purchases. Guests simply select the bait and tackle they desire and write down their purchase within the notebook provided. Gas is dispensed by staff.

Q.  Do you sell fishing licenses?

A.  No.  You may purchase MN fishing licenses by calling the MN Department of Natural Resources at 1.888.665.4236 or on line at www.mndnr.gov prior to arrival or when you are here. You will be requested to provide your social security number. You may also purchase your license in Ely at any gas station or bait shop. Refer to the Fishing for more information.

Q.  What type of fish does the lake and river have?

A.  Walleye is the most predominant species, followed by northern pike, small-mouth bass, crappies, blue gill, and large-mouth bass. Birch Lake consistently ranks in the top of MN walleye fishing lakes. Refer to Fishing for more information.

Q.  Do you have swim beaches?

A.  Yes, two natural sand beaches; one on our south shoreline, another on the east shoreline on the northern portion of the peninsula. Complimentary beach watercraft are provided, such as one and two person kayaks (sit-on-top) and paddle boats. Floating island rafts are also at each swim beach area.

Q. Do you have a sauna?

A. Yes, we have a new state of the art sauna with full ceramic tile rinsing shower, bathroom, and large dressing room. Adjacent to the sauna is a Garden Shower crafted from cedar for a lovely shower with a canopy of birch, pine, the sun, clouds, or stars as your private open roof top view. Refer to Things To Do On Land for more.

Q.  Do you rent boats and motors?

A.  Yes, 16′ boats with 15 hp motors. Also, Pontoon Boats with 40 hp motors, and ProFishing/Touring Boats with 50-75 hp motors. Refer to Amenities and Marina for additional information.

Q.  Does a boat come with the lodging rental?

A.  No

Q.  Do you have a boat launch and dockage area, and is there a fee?

A.  Yes, we offer a boat launch for our guests. Dockage space at the central marina area and 5 private docks at specific cabins is available.

  • Launch fee: $15
  • Daily dockage $17 per boat up to 17′; add $2/day per foot for boats over 17′
  • Daily surcharge of $10/day for Pontoon Boats and Deck Boats
  • Fall discount rates from 9/5-9/24:  $12 daily dockage for any length boat
  • Refer to Amenities and Marina for additional information

Q.  Do you have guide service for boats with motors?

A.  Yes, we offer In-House guided fishing day trips on Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River with motorized boats. Guides are knowledgeable and congenial. The trip includes the guide’s expertise, comfortable boat with live well, trolling motor, and locator, motor, gas, bait. Also, offered is an optional shore lunch of fresh fish. Refer to Fishing for more information.

Q.  Do you rent canoes and kayaks?

A.  Yes. River Point is a Boundary Waters Canoe Outfitter and, therefore, has a fleet of aluminum canoes, and a fleet of the very lightweight Kevlar canoes for rent. Eight Current Design sea kayaks are ready to be enjoyed, also. For rates reference the Amenities and Marina link.

Q. Is there any equipment available without a charge?

A. Yes. Offered are “sit-on-top” one and two person kayaks, child-size playaks (kids 4-10), paddle boats (great for families), SUP’s, and other beach equipment. Refer to Amenties and Marina for other free items and services.

Q.  Do you offer day guided canoe trips into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area?

A.  Yes. In-House guided day BWCA trips with a fishing focus are available, and also offered are day trips to simply enjoy the scenery, the solitude and wildlife, and for photography. A specialized day canoe trip to Hegman Lake, within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to view one of the finest examples of Native American pictographs is another day guided canoe trip option. Guides are very experienced in canoeing the Boundary Waters. Included are the canoe(s), life jackets, bait (if you will fish), transport to and from the entry point, shore lunch (including fresh fish, if the focus of the trip is on fishing), and the guide’s expertise. Refer to Boundary Waters Guided Day Canoe Trips for more information details.

Q.  Do you offer overnight canoe trips?

A.  Absolutely. When staying for a minimum of three nights at a resort accommodation, you can take advantage of the special “Taste of the Northwoods” package. This 2-day, 1-night trip into the Boundary Waters is perfect for those wanting just a “taste” of wilderness canoe/camping. Self-guided or guided–either way it is an adventure. USFS permit is required for overnight camping in the BWCA, so best to reserve early, so River Point may secure a permit for the date you desire. Includes: canoes, paddles, life jackets, tent, sleep bags, therm-a-rest sleep pads, pack sacks, gas stove, cook kit, and more. Refer to Taste of the Northwoods Canoe Trips for more.

Q.  Do you offer canoe trips for longer than just overnight?

A.  Yes. You may select the length of canoe trip you desire and the package. Most guests select a completely outfitted package where you need to bring only your personal clothing, hygiene products and rod and reel, if you will fish, plus a first aid kit. All other equipment, canoes, and fine food is provided. You may also select a partially outfitted trip when you have some of the equipment and just want our service to “fill in the holes.”  USFS permit must be secured by River Point for a canoe trip into the BWCA for a specific date and a specific entry point. Contact us early so that a permit can be secured for you for this wonderful experience. You may combine a resort stay with a canoe trip of several days, also. For more, check out River Point Outfitting Co.

Q.  What are your resort Check In times?

A.  Check-In time for weekly rentals (usually Saturday to Saturday) is after 3:00 pm on the arrival day.  Check-In time for partial week rentals is after 2:00 pm. Since River Point Resort’s Office is not open 24 hours a day directions and arrangements for possible later evening arrivals will be emailed with the Reservation Confirmation. It is helpful to call when in route on your arrival date to offer an approximate arrival time.   218.365.6604

Q.  Can friends and family come to visit me at the resort?

A.  Visitor information: Yes, your friends and family are welcome to visit. However, MN State Law requires all persons that come to a private resort be registered, regardless of the length of their visit. Thus, you need to notify us that your friends and family members will visit and they must register in the Office prior to the start of their visit. Each visitor must be in attendance so that staff/management know who they are. For short visits of 2 hours or less there is no fee. Longer visits will be assessed a fee of $30 per persons, age 11 & older; $20 per child, age 10 & under. With payment, your guest(s) may enjoy full use of the beaches, use of beach watercraft, and swim rafts. Friends and family wishing to enjoy the waters of Birch Lake and the South Kawishiwi River with you are welcome to do so. However, the same $30 or $20 per person fee will be applicable. Example: friends come to visit but only wish to be with you in a boat on the lake/river. Or, friends come to visit but only wish to use the swim beaches. In either case, the stated fees will apply. In addition, if your guest(s) would like to stay overnight, and if the lodging choice can accommodate extra persons the following rates apply: $30 per person, age 11 & older; up and $20 per child, age 10 & under.

Q.  Do you have an RV park/campground?

A.  No

Q.  Can we have an outside fire at the resort?

A.  Absolutely. River Point has three fire-pit areas with picnic table for cooking up s’mores and marshmallows. One is located at the north beach, one faces east and is located by the marina, and the third fire-pit is at the south beach. Use them privately or invite others to join you.  Refer to Things To Do On Land.

Q. Will we see the Northern Lights?

A. This wonderful phenomenon is a sight to see. However, due to many variables one cannot predict when they will appear. Generally, the “light show” is more active in the spring and fall, but they are spotted throughout summer and winter, also. Between dark and about 2:00 am is usually the typical viewing time. However, the “star show” of our northern sky is something to behold even if you miss the Northern Lights.

Read about the recent Dark Sky Sanctuary designation of the night sky over the BWCA in September 2020 in the first section of this FAQ’s page.

Q.  Do you allow Jet Skis?

A.  No. In keeping with the natural, peaceful wilderness setting, personal watercraft are not allowed.

Q.  Can I have my same reservation dates for the next year?

A.  Yes, when you make your reservation arrangements before you leave. Just check at the Office.

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