Big Crow Lake – Site 3

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
Map Courtesy of Jeff's Maps

I’m a big fan of this site (others might have different opinions). While it’s got a couple of warts (it’s built into a slope and level ground is at a premium) the beach, view and other amenities more than make up for it. It’s also nicely located at the mouth of the Crow River, meaning you’ve got a good start the next morning if your route is taking you to Lavielle and beyond.

Terrain: This is a slanted site. The entire thing is built into the side of a gradual rise. While there are level-ish spots for tents and the fire pit, it’s not the flattest place I’ve ever been. There are a couple of steps up and down as you’re coming up from the beach, so watch out, because they can trip you up if you’re not paying attention. 

Canoe Landing: The entire site is fronted by a gorgeous beach. It’s pretty much an ideal canoe landing spot. The biggest problem you might come across is that the underwater drop off is so gradual that you might end up grounded before you reach dry land. There are no obstacles on the approach.

Fire Pit: I liked the fire pit area. It’s off to the corner of the site in the only area that has any kind of tree cover. Usually that’d be a negative for me, but it helps cut the wind. As does the massive log windbreak someone has built nearby. While protected from the wind, there’s still a decent view of the water north on Big Crow, so it’s not totally blocked. The pit itself was big and well built.

Tent Sites: The biggest issue with this site is that it’s pretty uneven. The entire thing is built on a slant. There are a couple of tent spots, but I wouldn’t say there’s a perfect pad. We had a medium sized tent and a solo tent and that about maxed it out. That said, you could put a couple of tents on the beach as well if you don’t mind sand in your sleeping bag.

Swimmability: I mean, this site won the Best Swimming award at 2022’s Moosie Awards Gala, so you know the swimming is decent. The beach is shallow, and stays shallow for a long way. I was 100 meters offshore and the water was still only waist deep. Awesome swimming.

Thunderbox: The thunderbox is up a hill out the back of the site. It’s well away from the rest of the site and is pretty much the only sheltered spot on the site.

Accessories: There are a couple of stand up grills of varying sizes that are useful as small tables. There’s also a pretty impressive stack of logs that acts as a windbreak for the fire pit. That’s about it.

Views: Yeah, the view’s okay. (Great western exposure. View from the beach is awesome. View from inside the site is semi-obstructed in places, but still very open).

Notes: This site won my Best Site of 2022 prize at the annual Moosie Awards. That doesn’t mean it’s the best site there is, like I said off the top its got a couple of warts, but it was the best campsite experience I had that summer. I would 100% go back. That said. It might be a different story in late fall or early spring. It’s a very exposed site, so if the wind is up and the air is cold you might struggle to warm up.

Related Trip Report: Crow River Loop(ish)

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