Closest Access Point: Rain Lake (Access Point #4 )
Distance To Access Point: 4 KM (1 hour)
Difficulty of Travel From Access Point: Easy
Maintenance Level: Regular
Date of Visit: June, 2019
I loved this site. It’s a huge site on an island in the middle of Rain Lake. It’s got tons of space, tons of cool features and it’s own fireplace with a chimney. Not only can you and 8 of your closest friends hang out here comfortably, Santa Claus can drop by too.
Terrain: This is a big site. Basically, you’ve got the entire western end of the island to yourself. As a result, you get all kinds of terrain. The shoreline is rocky, and the ground leading up to the site proper is similar. There’s a slight rise from the water to the site, but nothing too strenuous. Don’t expect to pull your pack out of the canoe and pitch your tent right by the water though, the flat ground doesn’t start right away.
Canoe Landing: There are a lot of places you can pull up your canoe. On the southern side (facing the Islet portage), I found a nice little slip big enough for one canoe. It’s an easy spot to get in and out of your boat from, but loading/unloading might be trickier. There are a couple of spots like this around the tip of the island. On the other side, facing north and the cottage across the way, there’s a nice sand beach that leaves lots of room to load/unload. I didn’t see if there were any rocks blocking the way into the beach, but I’m assuming it’s reachable. I didn’t have any problems with underwater obstacles on the approach I made (coming from the south).
Fire Pit: The fire pit itself isn’t that exciting. It’s big, and it’s well built, but honestly, it feels like an afterthought when you consider the massive stone fireplace that dominates the middle of the site. Regardless of which you choose to hold your fire (why not choose both!) you’re going to have a nice campfire experience on this site. One thing the actual fire pit has going for it is that it’s got a nice view out to the west, so you can watch the flames and the water at the same time.
Swimability: So very swimmable. As I mentioned, there’s a beach on the north west side and about a million spots to slip in around the western tip. You might want to be wearing water shoes in some areas as some of the underwater rocks looked sharp, but I think you’ll be ok. I also found some small (like, 6 foot) ledges on the northern side, facing the narrows leading to the Sawyer portage, and I wondered if these would be good jumping rocks. I didn’t get in the water to check, so let me be clear that this is not a recommendation to use these as jumping rocks. (If you are going to jump off of anything in the park, always, always, get in the water to check out depth and obstructions first.)
Tent Sites: Lots of space for tents. You and your eight friends could each bring your own tent and I don’t think you’d run out of space. My guess is that this site used to hold a cottage or a lodge, so the ground around the fireplace is very, very flat. There are also some hidden tent spots back in the woods between the clearing and the northern edge of the island that would give some privacy.
Thunderbox: Looks brand spanking new to me. It’s at the end of a short path out the back of the fireplace clearing. My guess is that the reason it’s new is because this site sees a lot of traffic. That might make the thunderbox pretty gross by the end of the year, just an FYI.
Accessories: The fire pit has one very sturdy looking bench beside it. There are also a couple of stand up grills, a low flat rock nearby that would be great for food prep and, of course, the fireplace. Also, the beach and a million happiness gnomes who must live there year round.
Views: There isn’t much tree cover around the western and southwestern tip of the island, so you’ve got clear views west and towards the Hot Lake portage. Tree cover increases as you go clockwise around the island, and the views to the north (at least from the site proper) are fairly obstructed. This is good, since it means the (many, many) people coming through that channel from Sawyer Lake don’t have much of a view of you either.
Notes: I want to go back.