A Paddler's Guide to Algonquin Park

Overview

Ontario's Algonquin Park is one of North America's foremost canoeing destinations. It's a paddler's paradise of spectacular lakes, rivers and marshes surrounded by maple hills and rocky ridges. The only way to explore the interior of the park is by canoe or on foot. Visitors are invariably rewarded with an unforgettable chorus of howling wolves and calling loons — just 200 miles from Toronto.

Algonquin Park covers 4,700 square miles — almost the size of Delaware. With over 1,200...

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Overview

Ontario's Algonquin Park is one of North America's foremost canoeing destinations. It's a paddler's paradise of spectacular lakes, rivers and marshes surrounded by maple hills and rocky ridges. The only way to explore the interior of the park is by canoe or on foot. Visitors are invariably rewarded with an unforgettable chorus of howling wolves and calling loons — just 200 miles from Toronto.

Algonquin Park covers 4,700 square miles — almost the size of Delaware. With over 1,200 miles of canoe routes and nearly 400 lakes, it can be a daunting task to choose and undertake a trip. Kevin Callan has canoed these routes for two decades, and his advice and descriptions are like having a seasoned guide tailor the perfect trip.

Callan has chosen 25 canoe routes of varying difficulty, from the most popular and easiest to deep backcountry routes most suitable for experienced canoeists. Information has been updated according to any change in park conditions, regulations, closed routes, and so on. He also gives advice on the logistical and practical matters that come with planning a canoe trip, including:

  • Route difficulty
  • Portages
  • Campsite locations
  • Put-in and take-out recommendations
  • Alternative access points
  • Updated list of local outfitters and guides
  • Updated web sites and more.

This updated edition adds routes and maps, and is easier to use.

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Editorial Reviews

Kitchener Waterloo Record
I'm amazed at the level of detail.
— Valerie Hill
Kitchener Waterloo Record - Valerie Hill
I'm amazed at the level of detail... the maps are concise and [Callan] goes to great lengths to describe water conditions, portages and campsites.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770850583
  • Publisher: Boston Mills Press
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Updated and Expanded
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 769,161
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Callan is the leading author of books on canoeing in all regions of Ontario. His books include the A Paddler's Guide series and Wilderness Adventures.

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Table of Contents

Preface 7
Acknowledgments 9
1 Canoe Lake Circuit 11
2 Big Trout Lake Loop 21
3 The Brent Run 25
4 Ragged Lake Loop 31
5 Lake Louisa Loop 33
6 Dividing Lake 37
7 Rock Lake 41
8 Big Crow Lake 51
9 Lake Lavieille/Dickson Circuit 59
10 Happy Isle Lake 67
11 Booth Lake 71
12 Upper Petawawa Loop 75
13 Tim River Loop 83
14 Rosebary Lake Loop 87
15 Nipissing Loop 95
16 Three Mile Lake Loop 109
17 Erables Lake 119
18 Hogan Lake Loop 123
19 Barron Canyon 131
20 Lower Petawawa River 135
Algonquin Guides/Outfitters 14
Bibliography 144
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Preface

Preface

I had just doused the evening fire and was walking toward the tent to curl up inside my cozy sleeping bag for the night when I heard it — a single wolf howl. The haunting cry of the wolf lured me into my canoe and I paddled quietly down the weedy shoreline toward the echoing call.

A few minutes later I stopped paddling and gave out a long, drawn-out howl. Immediately I heard a response coming from the nearby roadway. In hopes of spotting the canine, I dipped my paddle blade into the water and pushed my canoe slowly around a rock outcrop. To my surprise, instead of a wolf, I came upon a group of over two hundred campers standing along the shoreline in silence as a park interpreter sounded out a third howl.

Not wanting to be discovered, I slipped back behind the point and waited there in silence until the crowd moved back toward the road. I sheepishly paddled back to my campsite feeling somewhat cheated out of my wilderness experience.

Let's face it, at times, canoeing Algonquin can be downright frustrating. I've had bombers from the Petawawa Air Base scare me silly as they flew low over my campsite on Pen Lake; I've had to clamber through an entanglement of logging roads and railway tracks along a portage; I've photographed moose equipped with radio collars; and I've dealt with nuisance bears with colored tags clipped to their ears. I've also spent countless hours pushing the redial button on my telephone trying to make a reservation on my favorite lake, only to get through and find out that it was completely booked. Even after I was finally able to reserve a spot, I was forced to line up at the gatehouse to receive a list of rules and regulations before I could push my way through the crowds on the portage.

So why do I bother? Why do I still spend every possible moment paddling and portaging Algonquin's semi-wilderness? Because, for me, this 2,955 square miles (7,653 sq kin) of Central Ontario parkland holds innumerable memories: photographing a merganser mom as it tried to lead seventeen fluffy ducklings along the shoreline in a straight line; watching as a trophy-size trout gurgled up to the surface of the river to snatch the fly on the end of my line; waking up on time to see the early-morning mist blanket the lake around my island campsite; and sleeping under the rustic remains of a ranger cabin as a storm was building outside. One of my most unforgettable memories is the moment I caught a quick glimpse of a real wolf lapping up the tea-colored water of the less-traveled Nipissing River. This book is both a collection of my memories and a guide to places where you can escape to gather your own.

Anywhere a large number of canoeists gather there is a lengthy list of rules to follow. There is, of course, a ban on bottles, cans, chain saws, radios, firearms and motorboats on the majority of lakes, and a valid interior camping permit must be carried at all times. The permit allows up to nine canoeists (local camps traditionally traveled three per canoe) to camp at any designated site marked by an orange sign. At each access point you must lay out your projected route to the gatehouse attendant, and you must keep to it, especially within Controlled Camping Zones (lakes within a day's travel from the put-in).

Equally important to park rules is canoe-camping etiquette. On a portage (marked by yellow signs), the person carrying the canoe should always be given the right of way (even if the canoe is made of lightweight Kevlar). Also, be sure never to block either the put-in or the take-out with gear or canoes while carrying across a portage. In camp, dishwashing and hair washing should be done at the back of the site, away from the lake, and a stack of dry wood should be left behind for the next campers. Finally, keep the noise to a minimum: no wolf howling after midnight!

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Introduction

Preface

I had just doused the evening fire and was walking toward the tent to curl up inside my cozy sleeping bag for the night when I heard it -- a single wolf howl. The haunting cry of the wolf lured me into my canoe and I paddled quietly down the weedy shoreline toward the echoing call.

A few minutes later I stopped paddling and gave out a long, drawn-out howl. Immediately I heard a response coming from the nearby roadway. In hopes of spotting the canine, I dipped my paddle blade into the water and pushed my canoe slowly around a rock outcrop. To my surprise, instead of a wolf, I came upon a group of over two hundred campers standing along the shoreline in silence as a park interpreter sounded out a third howl.

Not wanting to be discovered, I slipped back behind the point and waited there in silence until the crowd moved back toward the road. I sheepishly paddled back to my campsite feeling somewhat cheated out of my wilderness experience.

Let's face it, at times, canoeing Algonquin can be downright frustrating. I've had bombers from the Petawawa Air Base scare me silly as they flew low over my campsite on Pen Lake; I've had to clamber through an entanglement of logging roads and railway tracks along a portage; I've photographed moose equipped with radio collars; and I've dealt with nuisance bears with colored tags clipped to their ears. I've also spent countless hours pushing the redial button on my telephone trying to make a reservation on my favorite lake, only to get through and find out that it was completely booked. Even after I was finally able to reserve a spot, I was forced to line up at the gatehouse to receive a list of rules andregulations before I could push my way through the crowds on the portage.

So why do I bother? Why do I still spend every possible moment paddling and portaging Algonquin's semi-wilderness? Because, for me, this 2,955 square miles (7,653 sq kin) of Central Ontario parkland holds innumerable memories: photographing a merganser mom as it tried to lead seventeen fluffy ducklings along the shoreline in a straight line; watching as a trophy-size trout gurgled up to the surface of the river to snatch the fly on the end of my line; waking up on time to see the early-morning mist blanket the lake around my island campsite; and sleeping under the rustic remains of a ranger cabin as a storm was building outside. One of my most unforgettable memories is the moment I caught a quick glimpse of a real wolf lapping up the tea-colored water of the less-traveled Nipissing River. This book is both a collection of my memories and a guide to places where you can escape to gather your own.

Anywhere a large number of canoeists gather there is a lengthy list of rules to follow. There is, of course, a ban on bottles, cans, chain saws, radios, firearms and motorboats on the majority of lakes, and a valid interior camping permit must be carried at all times. The permit allows up to nine canoeists (local camps traditionally traveled three per canoe) to camp at any designated site marked by an orange sign. At each access point you must lay out your projected route to the gatehouse attendant, and you must keep to it, especially within Controlled Camping Zones (lakes within a day's travel from the put-in).

Equally important to park rules is canoe-camping etiquette. On a portage (marked by yellow signs), the person carrying the canoe should always be given the right of way (even if the canoe is made of lightweight Kevlar). Also, be sure never to block either the put-in or the take-out with gear or canoes while carrying across a portage. In camp, dishwashing and hair washing should be done at the back of the site, away from the lake, and a stack of dry wood should be left behind for the next campers. Finally, keep the noise to a minimum: no wolf howling after midnight!

Read More Show Less

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