Canoeing Temagami Lake area of Ontario

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of September 10-16, 1998
Europe in the fall and on the cheap
Canoeing Temagami Lake area of Ontario
Planning bike route from Bay Area to Yosemite

Canoeing Temagami Lake area of Ontario

By Stephanie Gregory

Question: I am helping to plan a trip to the Temagami Lake area of Ontario for my son’s Boy Scout Troop for either summer 1999 or 2000. The group would be made up of experienced campers and canoers, all age 14 and older. We are looking for a two-week trip with eight to 10 days on the water. Any advice you can provide about routes, best times, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help.

Brad Jenny
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Adventure Adviser: Brad, you need to search our website for the August 1998 article titled “The Big Easy,” by John Jerome. It’s an entire feature devoted to canoeing in Temagami. After doing the research for the article, I’m convinced that Temagami is equally as beautiful and pristine as my favorite place in the world, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.

According to Jerome, a Temagami veteran, one of the best routes is the eight-day, 95-mile Rabbit Lake Loop which travels through everything from raging rapids, to quiet, reflective bays — with an added bonus, of course, of abundant walleye. The loop starts off Highway 11 and then takes you east along the shore of Rabbit Lake to the southeastern end, where you’ll run into Cross Lake, then a wicked run of whitewater on the Temagami River to Wicksteed Lake, then back again to Rabbit Lake. Fortunately, you can camp anywhere along the route, so there’s no need to worry about how you’re going to strategize in order to grab to specific campsites along the route. Before you decide on this loop or any other, I’d suggest calling the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and requesting their map “Canoeing in the Temagami Area” ($4.25; 705-755-2000). This will give you 23 suggested options, many of which travel the least-peopled stretches of Temagami. For added insurance, I’d also recommend buying a set of area topographic maps from Pathfinder Maps in Ottawa ($7; 888-447-4745). Last but not least, you might consider investing in the highly detailed guidebook Temagami Canoe Area, by Hap Wilson ($18.95, from Canadian Recreational Canoeing Association, 613-269-2910).

If you’re loath to haul your canoes from North Carolina to Ontario, call Lady Evelyn Outfitting in Temagami. They rent canoes for $16 to $18 per day, plus, they may give you a few insider tips that I’ve failed to mention. Call 705-569-2595.

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