Big Crow Lake – Site 2

Site Details

Closest Access Point:  Opeongo Lake (Algonquin Park Access Point #11)
Distance to Access Point: 27 KM (1 Day with the water taxi, 2 days by canoe)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Easy/Medium – lots of paddling but only one portage between the access point and campsite.
Maintenance Level: Regular
Date Visited: August 2022

A map of Big Crow Lake in Algonquin Park

This is a smaller site up a short hill on Big Crow’s eastern shore. The sign is a bit hard to see from the water, at least it was when we were there, making it easy to miss and, consequently, likely to be open. It’s also right beside site 3, which is probably a preferable spot. But if three is taken this is a decent consolation prize.

Terrain: The first thing you need to know is that there is a hill to climb to get from the lake to the site. Once you’re up there, the site proper is nice and flat, but the hill on the way is moderately steep. I’d be curious as to what climbing it would be like in wet conditions. 

Canoe Landing: The shoreline along this site is pretty dense, with the exception of a small window that’s been cut out to access the site. The landing is covered by mid sized rocks, so it’s not the smoothest pullup. The underwater terrain is a very nice, sand beach with some rocks scattered here and there. As a result, the approach is relatively easy and free of obstacles.

Fire Pit: The pit is at the top of the hill, towards the front of the site proper. Basically, you climb the hill and then the pit is on your right and there’s a tent pad on the left. The pit is small, with a partially (at best) obstructed view out to the water.

Tent Sites: There are a couple of good tent areas on this site. The one pictured is just past the fire pit. Directly behind me is another, similar area. You could put at least a couple of tents here. That said, this is a smaller footprint site, so squeezing any more shelters on will make it feel crowded.

Swimmability: The water entry here isn’t the best. The shoreline access is narrow and rocky, and the area immediately near the shore remains rocky. However, as soon as you get a couple of steps out it turns into a very soft, very nice, sand bottom that you can wade out a good distance on. 

Thunderbox: To be honest, I’ve got a picture of the thunderbox but can’t remember any details. I assume the path to the box is out the back of the site, that’s where it usually is, but beyond that … I guess you’ll have to check it out for yourself and find out.

Accessories: The site had (when I was there) one true log bench and one log accent piece (in other words, a log lying on the ground near the fire pit). Apart from this set up there’s a standing grill and not much else.

Views: The view west across Big Crow is quite nice, but mostly obstructed. Down by the water you’ve got a great sunset view, but up on the site itself the trees that grow on the hill leading up to the site get in the way. On the plus side, I would imagine those trees help cut the wind for shoulder season trips.

Notes: This site is the definition of an average backcountry site. It’s functional, checks all the boxes, and not particularly memorable. If I were setting up on Big Crow for a few nights, I might try and grab Site 3, before settling here. But if I’m staying for one night on my way along the Crow River? This would be a totally reasonable option.

Related Trip Report: Crow River Loop(ish): Proulx to Dickson and Everything in Between

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