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
I visited this site in early June. You do not want to visit this site in early June. It’s actually a really cool spot. It’s built in the foundations of an old building and it’s fun being reminded of the Park’s history. However, it’s also built in a wet area and has a ton of grass. These two things combine to bring out all the bugs. Every single one of them. I lasted about two minutes on this site before moving on.
Terrain: As mentioned above, this is a flat, grassy site. One of the benefits of it being built in the footprint of an old building is that when I say flat I mean it’s actually flat, not Algonquin flat. Ground cover around the fire pit is a mix of dirt, pine needles and some roots sticking up out of the earth. Ground cover pretty much everywhere else is grass and, apparently, mosquito eggs.
Canoe Landing: There’s a small beachy area to pull up at the front of the site. When I say beach, don’t picture sand and sun umbrellas. I mean it’s a mix of hard packed sand, mud, twigs and other assorted debris. You’re not going to be working on your tan here. But, it’s great for pulling the canoe up and loading/unloading, which is what really matters. (Also, the underwater approach to the site is free of obstacles).
Fire Pit: This is a nicely built fire pit in the middle of the site. View out to the lake is semi-obstructed by trees and brush.
Swimability: I don’t like swimming in weedy, mucky areas. This is a weedy, mucky area. That being said, if you were inclined to take a swim it’s a gradual drop off, so it’s probably pretty good for kids and people who like to ease into the water. Just wear water shoes. (Also, as with every Joe Lake site, don’t forget the Joe Lake cliffs that are on the far side of the big island in the middle of the lake. They’re awesome and more than make up for any substandard swimming on this site).
Tent Sites: Room for a couple of tents, maybe more. You could sleep a medium to large sized group here. Also, for hammock enthusiasts there are a few nicely spaced trees to get yourself off the ground.
Thunderbox: The path to the thunderbox was a muddy quagmire of bugs and sadness. I didn’t try to find it.
Accessories: Apart from the foundations, this is a pretty basic site. A couple of log benches around the fire pit and that’s about it.
Views: Semi-obstructed views from pretty much everywhere on the site. There are quite a few trees growing near and along the shoreline. This means you’re going to have some privacy and protection from the wind, but it also means your views aren’t that great unless you’re standing right at the shoreline.
Notes: This would be one of my last choices if I was staying on Joe Lake. It’s a cool site to check out, but only stay here if everything else is already taken.