Closest Access Point: Canoe Lake (Access Point #5)
Distance To Access Point: 6.5KM (1 – 1.5 hours)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Easy.
Maintenance Level: Regular
Date of Visit: June, 2020
Of the three sites on the west shore in the narrows leading into Tepee (not including site 12, because really I consider that a Tepee site, not a Joe Lake one), this is probably the best. That’s a relative victory though, there are better sites available in Joe’s east arm and on the other side of Joe Island.
Terrain: This is a flat and fairly compact site. Ground is cover is mostly dirt and pine needles with a few rocks sticking up like mini-rockburgs for your tripping pleasure. All in all, this is an easy site to get around on.
Canoe Landing: There’s tree down directly across the canoe landing. It broke off at the trunk about 10 feet above the water and has fallen at an angle while staying connected to the stump, meaning you have to paddle your boat under it to get to the loading/unloading area. This gives you just enough time for a fun game of “is this the moment the tree finally falls the rest of the way?” as you land. Tree obstacles aside, this is a pretty good landing zone. There’s a pretty obvious spot to nose in your canoe, and loading unloading from the land is easy. There aren’t any significant underwater obstacles in the approach, but the dead tree tries to make up for it with a pretty impressive over water block.
Fire Pit: It’s got a decent fire pit. Nothing special, but not just a circle of rocks either. Well, it is a circle of rocks, but at least it’s a circle that looks like someone has taken a few minutes to build up.
Swimability: The site is swimmable enough, you can wade in from multiple spots along the shore, but much more important is its proximity to the Joe Lake Cliffs. Between the cliffs and the reasonable on site option you’re not going to have trouble getting those trunks wet.
Tent Sites: There are a couple of decent spots in the site proper. Both of these will let you sleep near the fire pit and the water. There’s also a third spot just back in the woods off the trail to the thunderbox that would hold another tent (or maybe two small tents if you’re getting cozy). All in all, this site would work for a larger sized group if needed, but is probably better for 4-6 people.
Thunderbox: It’s a fair walk back from the site to get to the thunderbox, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For some reason this particular thunderbox has two lids because … I don’t know, sometimes things just happen I guess?
Accessories: There are a couple of pretty log benches beside the fire and that’s about it.
Views: There are a couple of trees dotting the shoreline, but usually you’ve got clear views out to the narrows and south towards the cliffs. I say usually, because right now that downed tree across the front of the canoe landing changes things considerably. You can still see south (although there is a large pine in the way), but the view directly east of the site is pretty blocked off.
Notes: This is a fine site if you’re looking for something close to the Cliffs or the Joe Lake portage. Other than that, there are better options on both Joe and Tepee and, if you feel like a bit more work, Little Doe and Tom Thomson.