Big Trout Lake – Site 21

Map of Big Trout Lake Campsites in Algonquin ParkClosest Access Point:  Canoe Lake or Opeongo  (Access Points #5 &11)
Distance To Access Point:  34 KM (Canoe Lake & Opeongo without water taxi, 18 KM Opeongo with water taxi)  (1.5-2 days)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Medium.
Maintenance Level: Regular
Date of Visit: September 2020

I liked this site. It feels nicely secluded and has a pretty good southern exposure. You don’t quite get either sunrise or sunset views head on, but you get all the colours from them in both directions. Decent tent spots. One major drawback is that you’re sharing your island with another site, and it’s not exactly miles away. Be ready to overhear your neighbours from time to time.

Terrain: There’s a bit of a rise up from the shoreline to the fire pit and tent area. Someone has helpfully installed stairs into the hill, so climbing it isn’t too tough. The the site is fairly even, although as a whole the island rolls a bit, particularly heading west.

Canoe Landing: This should be a great canoe landing. It’s wide enough for two boats, is a nice gravel beach, no underwater obstructions. However, it’s also clearly haunted as it tried to kill us a couple of times by somehow flipping our boats. Long story short, don’t stroll down the middle of a beached canoe if you don’t want to go ass-backwards in the water (for the long story long version, go here).

Fire Pit: It’s a pretty basic fire pit. The rock walls are fairly low, which means it doesn’t reflect much heat. This can be a problem as the wind cuts through the fire pit area and can make it pretty chilly.

Swimability: Apparently you can’t not swim at this site. I base this on the fact that three of the four guys in our group ended up taking unplanned dips when they fell out of their canoes. If, in fact, you wanted to take a planned swim, this is a pretty good spot for that as well. The gravel beach makes for an easy entry and the ground drops away fairly quickly (I know this because I went diving for an In Reach communicator that got lost when one of the canoes dumped and I couldn’t even get to bottom where the boat went over).

Tent Sites: Room for lots of tents here. There are flat patches all over the island so you can set up based on your personal preference. Want a view of the water? There’s a site for that. Want some shelter? There’s a site for that. Want to be very close to the thunderbox? Well friend, you’re in luck. There’s a site for that too.

Thunderbox: More like a Thunder House! This is one of those sites that has a full outhouse on it. Frankly, I prefer the plain boxes as I find the Thunder House can get pretty gross, but there’s something to be said for having a roof over your head if it’s pouring rain and last night’s chili is checking out.

Accessories: Apart from the Thunder House there are a couple of log benches around the fire and a collection of rusty grills. That’s about it.

Views: About a 180 degree view east/south/west from the fire pit and canoe landing area. There’s pretty much no tree cover along the shore here, so it’s a nicely unobstructed view. The only slight downside I suppose is that owing to the location of the site (near the south shore of the lake) and the direction it faces (south) you don’t get those big lake views you might expect on a lake like Big Trout.

Notes: I liked this site, despite the fact that it tried to kill me.

Related Trip Report: Big Trout Loop Parabola – Part 1
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