Parkside Bay – Site 6

Closest Access Point:  Smoke Lake (Access Point #6)
Distance To Access Point:  9.7 KM or 12.4 KM, depending on the route you take from the access point. (2 hours)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Easy/Medium (Again, depends on the route you take. The shorter route has more portages, the longer route has one portage only.
Maintenance Level: Regular
Date of Visit: July 2021

This is a decent, and large, island site. It’s the first site you get to on the right that has a view of the bay itself and not just the narrows that lead into it. I liked this site, it was perfect for my family (three kids under ten). The only downside was that it was also perfect for the mosquitoes, but even that wasn’t as bad as it could be.

Terrain: This is a bit of a bumpy site. It’s a wide area, but almost all of it is on a gentle slope or hill. The site is split into two zones, the beach/canoe landing area and the site proper. The site proper is back of the tree line and rises a bit from the water. The ground cover is mostly dirt. I don’t recall there being a ton of pine needle or other kind of debris. This meant that the ground, post rain, was pretty damp and stayed that way thanks to the tree coverage. You don’t get a ton of sun filtering through the large cedar and spruce that surround the site.

Canoe Landing: There’s a nice beach fronting this site that makes for an ideal spot to pull up the boat. There’s a spit of rock sticking out as you come at the landing from the entrance to the Bay. Give this a bit of space. There are a few underwater rocks here that aren’t that far from the surface. Otherwise, the underwater approach is clear and easy.

Fire Pit: This site has two fire pits, one on the beach and one back in the site proper. The beach pit is the only one we used. It’s just a circle of rocks but it gets the job done. The pit back on the site is a bit bigger and sturdier looking. It’s positioned so that you do get a bit of a view out to the water through the only two openings in the shoreline tree coverage, but that’s all it is, a bit of a view. If you’re someone who likes to see the water and what’s happening on it while you watch your fire, you’ll want to use the beach pit.

Swimability: Extremely swimmable. The beach is great for younger kids (and adults who want to take it slow). Just to the left of the the beach that spit of rocks I mentioned also makes for a good spot to jump in a bit faster if you want. The bottom drops away faster on this side and I was able to do a shallow dive while standing about partway down one of the rocks. (My legal advisor, me (he is very unqualified), has reminded me to remind you that you should always check the bottom depths for yourself before jumping or diving. Just because I did something doesn’t make it a good idea).

Tent Sites: For such a big site I think it would actually be tough to find level ground for more than a couple of tents. We were able to get our monster six person tent up on one of the obvious tent pads. There’s a second pad close by that would be great if not for the pancake maker (formerly called widowmakers but that seems a bit old fashioned. Everyone camps) hanging overhead. Other than that … well, there are other spots to put tents, but you’d have to be pretty comfortable being uncomfortable.

Thunderbox: Up the hill from the site. It was in pretty decent condition. When we visited it was buggy AF, but that could have just been a feature of the time of year. That being said, there is a lot of green stuff growing around it and I find that those boxes tend to be pretty buggy sometimes.

Accessories: A really handy counter lashed between two trees and a couple of log benches near the main fire pit. That’s about it for accessories.

Views: Views out of the site itself are obstructed at best. There are two windows looking out to the water from the site proper, but since you’re up a hill a bit the windows really only open up on the water right in front of the site. The views from the beach and swimming area, though, are great. You’ve got a 180 view here which means you get both sunrise and sunset.

Notes: Without the beach area this site would be a B- or maybe a B for me. With the beach it bumps up a few notches. The kids loved the swimming and the views from down by the water were great. One other nice feature of the site is that the site proper is about 5 degrees colder than the beach area thanks to all the tree cover. Your mileage from that may be different from mine, but I hate being hot and having a spot where you can escape the sun and cool down a bit without having to take a swim is pretty nice.

Related Trip Report: Parkside Bay
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