Joe Lake & Western Narrows – Site 4

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, 2021

Every time I paddle past this site it’s taken. Every time, that is, until June of 2021 when I finally got a chance to check it out. Now that I’ve seen it, I can see why it’s usually taken. It’s a big site, nice views, decent swimming and close to the access point. Really, there isn’t much else you could ask for.

Terrain: This is a flat site. Ground cover is a mix of dirt, pine needles and exposed roots. There are also quite a few large sized rocks, or mini sized boulders depending on your perspective I guess, strewn around the site. They’re not really tripping hazards unless you’re stumbling around after dark trying to find the bathroom.

Canoe Landing: There’s an honest to God canoe harbour on this site. It’s like someone dug out a chunk of the shoreline specifically to give you a spot to land your canoe. The underwater terrain is mostly sand, but there are also a few submerged and semi-submerged rocks in the slip, so you may end up scraping the bottom of your boat as you pull in. Apart from that, it’s a great spot to load/unload.

Fire Pit: The fire pit is right in the middle of the site, not far from the canoe landing. It’s a well built pit with nice sightlines to the water in a couple of directions.

View out the site looking northeast (ish)

Swimability: This looks like it would be a good site to swim. The west facing part of the site is a small rock exposure over the water that is a great spot to slip in from and dry off on. The canoe landing doubles as an underwater beach you can wade in. The lake bed is mostly sand with some other mucky stuff mixed in, so water shoes are probably a good idea. As with every site on Joe Lake, the awesome Joe Lake jumping cliffs are just a short paddle away to the west.

Tent Sites: Room for three or four tents back in the trees. The tent spots are all mostly level and free of too many bumps. They’re also decently spread out, so you’re not sleeping side by side with your neighbour.

Thunderbox: Up a short ridge, to the west of the site. This thunderbox is in pretty good shape and doesn’t look like it’s been there for more than a couple of seasons. That makes sense, as I imagine this box gets a ton of use and needs replacing/redigging on a regular basis. Might be a ripe visit in late summer or early fall.

Accessories: A couple of long log benches beside the fire pit and a “counter” someone has lashed together using rusty grills and cut logs. That’s about it. (Please, don’t cut down trees to indulge your inner bushcrafter).

Views: Nice views from most parts of the site. There are a couple of trees along the shoreline, but I didn’t find them distracting. If anything, they provide just enough of a sense of privacy while not really obstructing your view out. In particular, the view west from that rock ledge is really nice.

Notes: I liked this site. It would easily be in my top five sites on Joe (so far. I’m still waiting to get at a couple of them).

Related Trip Report: Day Trippin’: Tonakela and Sunday Lake
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