I visited this site in September of 2017 during a day trip loop up from Stratton Lake to the Barron Canyon and back. The observant among you will probably realize that this means I didn’t actually stay on this site, and this is true. So, unfortunately, I have no way of knowing if this site is prone to, say, 3 a.m. earthquakes or maybe doubles as a portal to the magical world of Narnia between 12:01 and 12:03 every morning. I doubt either of these things happen, but I can’t guarantee it. What I can guarantee is that this is a decent little site on Brigham and, while maybe not my first choice for a place to stay in the area, wouldn’t be my last choice either.
One quick note, the landing for this site also doubles as the start of the portage down to Opalescent. This is a plus in that it means that there’s plenty of room to pull up your boat and unload. But it’s a minus in that it means you’re likely to have people wandering through your campsite at all hours of the day. This is especially true since Brigham Lake happens to be in between two pretty popular destinations in the area, Opalescent Lake and the Barron Canyon. Anyone making a day trip from one to the other is going to have to stop by and say hi on the way. The closest access point to this site is the Achray access through the Sand Lake gate on the Park’s east side and the site is reachable in a day from the access point.
Canoe Landing/Terrain: There are a couple of spots to pull up your boat here. The first is to the right of the site when looking at it from the water. This is the one that also doubles as a portage landing. It’s a decently wide spot you get to by paddling through some reeds to a small harbour of flat rocks. There are no major impediments to getting in or out. The second landing is a smaller slip to the left of the site. This one isn’t quite as obvious, and is really only big enough for one canoe at a time. Might be a good place to go in and out if you were planning a couple of days on this site and wanted to avoid portage traffic.
Fire pit: Decently constructed. There are a couple of wide, flat rocks on either side that would be a good spot more holding meal prep materials. The grill rates a 4 out of 5 on the “I’m not putting anything that’s going in my stomach on that” scale. You can definitely use it to cook with, but I probably wouldn’t put anything directly on top. When I passed through someone had very kindly cut and stacked a bunch of firewood. I’m assuming this isn’t a regular thing, but it looks pretty handy if it is.
Accessories: There’s one log bench and like a half dozen stumps, some of which have been cut into stump chairs. This is awesome if you like your chairs hard and straight backed. If you prefer the Lazy-Boy style of campfire sitting, you should probably bring a thermarest or something to pad them with. (The weird thing about the stumps and stump chairs is that they’re all clustered together at one end of the fire pit, almost like they’re just hanging out, shooting the breeze while they wait for someone to come and take the site. So, yeah, sentient stumps. Add that the accessories list).
Tent Sites: I counted a couple decent spots back from the fire pit. The ground on the site is decently flat, so you could probably squeeze one more in somewhere if you wanted to, but that’s about it.
Swimability: I have a thing about swimming through reeds, so I’d probably say this isn’t a super swimmable site, despite the easy access to water and gradual underwater terrain. That being said, if you don’t think reeds/lily pads are icky (that’s the scientific term) it’s probably not a bad spot. Unless there’s lots of leeches. It looks like a place where there’d be lots of leeches.
Thunderbox: This is hidden away on the other side of the portage from the site. The good news is that there’s a helpful little yellow sign showing the you the way. The bad news is that this is a thunder box directly off a portage, which I assume means it sees a decent amount of traffic. The second round of good news is that that decent amount of traffic doesn’t see the Thunderbox as it walks by thanks to a downed tree and its helpful dirt encrusted roots that obscure the view from the trail.
Views: Apart from the portage landing and the area right in front of the fire pit, there’s a decent amount of shoreline tree cover. In other words, your view from the interior of the site isn’t much beyond the portage and the trees. You can see out to the mouth of the Barron River from parts, but it’s not super scenic. The site looks north and east, so you’ve probably got a decent sunrise view, but apart from that it’s not that great (I don’t find Brigham Lake to be particularly scenic. Maybe if you really love Brigham Lake you’ll disagree with me on the view. I don’t know).
Related Trip Reports:
Barron Canyon Bound – Part 1
The Barron Canyon Revisited – The Secret of the Ooze
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