All of Algonquin

Trip Reports, Campsite Reviews & More

Trip Reports, Campsites & More

Spotlight Lakes

In each issue of The Thunderbox I do a deep dive on one of Algonquin’s backcountry lakes. Each spotlight includes what the route into these lakes is like, how many campsites are available, where my favourite campsites are, things to do when you’re staying there, anything specific to the lake you might want to check out and many other details like whether it’s a decent destination for kids (hi Tom Thomson!) or if it’s a dumpster fire where dreams go to die (hi Furrow Lake!).  I add a new spotlight lake once a month. If there’s one you want to see included, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email here.

Drummer Lake is about five kilometers from the Canoe Lake access point in a part of the Park known as the Ahmek District. Drummer, like most of the lakes in the Ahmek District, is a smaller sized lake that requires a bit of work to get to. Once you’re there, you might find it’s well worth the effort. Want to know why? Read more on Drummer here.

Brule Lake is a mid sized lake just north of Canoe Lake in the highway 60 area. Like Canoe, it’s a lake that’s steeped in the history of the area. There was a small village and train station located on the north shore in the early 20th century. These days the lake is home to a couple of campsites and a cottage. To find out more on Brule click here!

Potter Lake is a small to mid-sized lake about an hour north of Canoe Lake. You can get to it from a number of directions, but the most common would be by way of Potter Creek and Canoe Lake. Potter is a relatively easy day’s trip up from the access point and is home to four campsites, a thunder house and a great spot to host your Christmas in the Park party. Want to know more? Read on!

Joe Lake is one of the most popular, and also busiest, lakes in the Park. Accessible from the Canoe Lake Access Point (#5), Joe is a perfect destination for newcomers to backcountry tripping, families or really anyone who wants a relaxing weekend in the (sort of) wild. With multiple above average campsites, some awesome jumping cliffs and lots to explore, Joe is well worth a visit. 

Tepee Lake is another easily accessible lake out of the Canoe Lake access point (access #5). It’s directly connected to nearby lakes like Joe, Little Doe and, a bit further on, Tom Thomson without any portaging needed. It’s also home to a kids summer camp, and a mixed bag of campsites. To find out more, check out the spotlight report here.

Tom Thomson is another very popular destination out of the Canoe Lake access point (access #5). With multiple above average campsites, access to routes taking you deeper into the Park and some gorgeous scenery, there’s a good reason for that popularity. I’ve got Tom Thomson pretty high on my list of favourite lakes in the Park, click here to see why.

Bartlett Lake is a small lake just north of Tom Thomson. It’s home to a few campsites, three that are average and one that is a preview of the world 10 years after the grass finally wins. It’s primarily notable as a good overflow spot if Tom Thomson is booked up or as a head start if you’re on your way up to Sunbeam for night two. For more details, click here! 

Stratton is located on the Park’s east side, an easy couple of hours paddle from the Achray Access Point (Access #22). Stratton is home to quite a few campsites, some of which are quite nice, many of which will already be taken if you’re arriving on any given summer weekend (seriously, if you can, start your Stratton trip on Thursday). By far the biggest selling feature for Stratton is its easy access to the nearby High Falls swimming area. Read on for more information.

Tonakela is a small sized lake in Algonquin’s Ahmek District. The Ahmek District is a collection of small lakes and longer portages just west of Canoe Lake. While this makes the area, and Tonakela, a bit harder to get to, it means you’re more likely to find that seclusion you’re looking for in the backcountry. But is Tonakela the Ahmek District lake on which you want to look for that seclusion? Read on!

While Basin Lake might not be your first choice if you’re looking for multi-day, multi-lake canoe tripping (Basin is the only lake available from this access point), it’s a great spot if you want a quiet lake with some nice campsites to set up for a few days of base camping. With tons to see and along Basin Lake Road as well, it’s an area that’s well worth checking out.

I love Booth Lake. Let’s get that out of the way right off the top. If you’re reading this hoping for an impartial review of J.R. Booth‘s namesake lake, you’re out of luck. Booth is an awesome spot whether you’re a seasoned tripper or out for your first backcountry overnight.  What makes it so great? Read on to find out!

Clamshell Lake is a gem of a lake just north of Radiant Lake. With one campsite and looking on the map like it’s little more than a widening of the North River, it probably wouldn’t make it to the top of most trip plans. That’s a mistake. This is a great little spot. Why? Read on to find out!

Spotlight lakes are featured in each issue of The Thunderbox. If you want to get each month’s lake hot off the presses, feel free to add your email in the box below. You’ll receive the monthly Thunderbox update and trip reports as they are published.

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