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PostPosted: September 6th, 2018, 12:54 pm 
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Joined: September 6th, 2018, 10:45 am
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Hi,

I am planning a 3-day (2-night) Algonquin canoe trip for thanksgiving (Canadian) weekend, and I’m looking for advice/tips regarding the route and campsite destinations.

Most of us are beginners.
We’d like to do at least 1 portage, but probably not much more.
We will likely stay at the same campsite for both nights.
Ideally, we would prefer a more secluded location, with less noise from neighbours.


I’ve been studying Jeff’s map for ideas. Below I’ve listed my route ideas with stars (*) beside potential camping destinations.

Canoe > Joe > Tepee > Little Oxtongue River > *Little Doe > *Tom Thomson > *Bartlett

Smoke > *Ragged > *Parkside

Rock > *Pen > *Clydegale

Magnetawan > Hambone > Acme > *Daisy

Magnetawan > Hambone > *Ralph Bice > *Little Trout > *Queer

Rain > *Sawyer > *Jubilee


I’d appreciate any feedback regarding my route ideas, or other routes I should consider. Advice regarding preferred lakes and campsites would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: September 6th, 2018, 1:00 pm 
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Ralph Bice is a great lake for beginners. I would stay there get equipment from Algonquin Basecamp if you need it. They will deliver canoes to the access point.

From Ralph Bice you can day trip to Queer and some other spots.


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PostPosted: September 6th, 2018, 5:20 pm 
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Ralph Bice IS a great lake ... but can be a bee-otch when winds whip it up. Daisy Lake is more manageable when west winds howl.


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PostPosted: September 7th, 2018, 9:03 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
I agree that wind and cold water can be a problem at that time of year, esp on larger lakes. A nice smaller chain of lakes and rivers may be had west of the Cache lake access, camping at Little Island lake. LIL is small and scenic, and surrounded by old growth forest with rolling hills... the campsite on the north shore of the island is in old growth hemlocks but north-facing and you might prefer a sunnier spot, on the south side of the island.

From the same access, and if you can make a longer port, Head and Kenneth lakes could be another option, also surrounded by old growth and daytrips on the hiking trail are possible. The numerous ports in this area double as nature trails through old growth and some fall color should still be visible.

The cliff and lookout over Cache lake is another option.

By the T-giving weekend, the fall color peak in sugar maples will probably be over, but shorelines, walking ports and the hiking trail will still hold some color in the maple understory where leaves stay on longer... see pix below.

An alternative might be to canoe where poplars will peaking after the maples... maybe. Poplar color can be variable from year to year, but the Canoe - Teepee - TT route will have some of this. Also the north shore of Galeairy, a larger and possibly riskier windy lake. Maybe check the APP webcam to see if the poplars there are peaking and make your decision before driving out... there most likely won't be the need to reserve campsites, so route choice remains flexible.

T-giving weekend shoreline and trails, after the main sugar maple fall color peak... understory maples still holding some color.

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PostPosted: September 9th, 2018, 1:02 pm 
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A lot of the options you listed have some pretty large lakes that are prone to strong winds, especially that late in the season might not be the best option for beginners.

I do really like the Rock --> Clydegale route though, I recommend it all the time to people, so if you wanted to take your chances on big lakes, I would go with that option personally. Here's my trip report from when I did that route last summer:

https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewto ... 08&t=46110

I'll be doing it again in two weeks actually, as long as weather holds up. You have a few waterfalls on route, Clydegale is a beautiful lake with almost all nice campsites, great spot for potential moose viewings, and you can hike Booth Rock Trail on your way back for a nice lookout onto the fall colours.

Another option would be Cache --> Head as frozentripper mentioned above; it's a bit of a longer portage, but it's very flat and easy. Head Lake has a handful of nice sites and it will probably be quiet that time of year, so you'll get a good choice. Particularly the one just south of the 1.6km portage is nice (although very used), along with the site at the falls. Would highly recommend hiking Skymount on your way back (off of Cache), starting the trail from the 360m portage. Two thanksgivings ago I went to Harness, just past Head, and I only saw 2-3 other groups between both Head and Harness lake. Here's my report for that trip, which has a video showing the lookout along with some panoramic shots of Head Lake with peak colours.

http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... 08&t=45410

I disagree with frozentrippers point about maples being past peak though, when I went it was definitely at peak (see video), and I went again last year during the same weekend, and colours were at peak, although just not a great year overall. Here's my trip report from last year: https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewto ... 08&t=46353

The route from that report from last year would also be a good option for seclusion; if you book both sites on Byers, you'll have the lake to yourself, and it's in such a secluded corner of the park there isn't much traffic at all. It's also got a hiking option, along with some small rapids/falls and variety of travel (lakes vs. river travel).

Basically any of the 3 I listed I think are good options because they all have hikes with a nice lookout, which should be essential when planning a Thanksgiving trip with fall colours hopefully at peak :)


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PostPosted: September 9th, 2018, 6:09 pm 
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Never did your first route, but all the rest look reasonable. I found Parkside to be a bit boring, perhaps because the wind was up and we took a sheltered site. Got lots of shelter, but not much sunlight. There are a couple of open sites on points that look nice.
The Rock Lake -Clydesgale route is good. So is the Rain-Jubilee route. I found Jubilee to be a very pretty lake and wanted to go back , but haven't made it yet.
We went through Ralph Bice on our way to Queer, and the wind was up enough from the stern to make things uncomfortable . We found a huge, flat campsite on Queer, slightly raised, and overlooking a reedy area across the lake, full of bullfrogs which sang all night. I don't suppose you'll hear that this time of year..


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PostPosted: September 10th, 2018, 3:32 pm 
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Joined: September 6th, 2018, 10:45 am
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Thank you for all the great feedback!

This has certainly been helpful; especially the advice about avoiding larger lakes.


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PostPosted: September 11th, 2018, 5:07 pm 
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Location: GTA
You might try Sunday Lake (can park on the road there and portage about 150 m down into the lake. There are two campsites there. Then on the second day portage east into the connecting lake. (Probably about 300 m.) They are small lakes.


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PostPosted: September 20th, 2018, 12:52 pm 
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I think of the routes you propose, given the weather and novice experience and time of year, I'd recommend:

Magnetawan > Hambone > Acme > *Daisy

Least large lakes for wind, yet far enough away from the main hiway 69 corridor to be quiet (thanksgiving from Canoe or Rock is very busy. I like the north-west entry. Daisy is a nice lake.

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PostPosted: September 21st, 2018, 9:22 pm 
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Location: Mississauga ON
Ranchero wrote:
Hi,

I am planning a 3-day (2-night) Algonquin canoe trip for thanksgiving (Canadian) weekend, and I’m looking for advice/tips regarding the route and campsite destinations.

Most of us are beginners.
We’d like to do at least 1 portage, but probably not much more.
We will likely stay at the same campsite for both nights.
Ideally, we would prefer a more secluded location, with less noise from neighbours.


Rain > *Sawyer > *Jubilee


I’d appreciate any feedback regarding my route ideas, or other routes I should consider. Advice regarding preferred lakes and campsites would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!



I've done Rain to Sawyer many times, Sawyer at the far end has a nice site that is a bit open, but is fairly protected from the north as I recall. One drawback is that as it is popular wood is in short supply. Rain has 2 sites on the island the more northerly one is quite protected by trees, and I've been there in not so nice weather and it was ok, the other site I've never tried (always occupied) but looks like it might be only protected from north winds. across from the south end there is a nice site on the east headland that I've used a couple of times but is also not protected from the north winds and the last 2 times I was there in Sept we had a strong North wind in the morning we were leaving and it was only 6 C.

Another alternative is Rain - Hot - Islet, there was a very nice site I used several times years ago but it was becoming a bit overgrown for more than 1 tent, the only drawbacks - 2 portages and the take out from Rain when I was last there, was a steep slope where the steps had rotted away and it was no fun getting up the sandy slope. This was the slope that required a lighter canoe be purchased before I tried it next :)


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2018, 7:44 am 
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Trippythings, your forecast that sugar maple leaves will be in color during the T-giving weekend might be right... at this time there's very little color along Hwy 60, while on Sept 22, 2017, color was peaking (check the park website).

This year's peak may well happen at T-giving in which case the highway becomes a zoo, parked cars everywhere, sightseers stumbling around clueless and staring at smartphone screens. Might be an idea to stay away if crowds aren't wanted... several years ago I was in the Aylen/Wilkens lake access on the long weekend and saw nobody at all, had the route all to myself while on TV after I got home, saw the insanity going on at the APP highway corridor (did I already tell this story here... never mind).

Obligatory recent fall photo from the Bancroft area... actually, it was still summer during the last few days of warm weather when I was sweating it out picking apples. There is definite color beginning in those sugar maples which is more than shows in the official APP photos, which makes things weirder since Bancroft is one climate zone warmer and usually colors up later than APP. Well, what those trees are gonna do this year remains a mystery. Never mind the cloud. Pay no attention to the cloud.

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PostPosted: September 25th, 2018, 4:48 am 
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frozentripper wrote:
Trippythings, your forecast that sugar maple leaves will be in color during the T-giving weekend might be right... at this time there's very little color along Hwy 60, while on Sept 22, 2017, color was peaking (check the park website).

This year's peak may well happen at T-giving in which case the highway becomes a zoo, parked cars everywhere, sightseers stumbling around clueless and staring at smartphone screens. Might be an idea to stay away if crowds aren't wanted... several years ago I was in the Aylen/Wilkens lake access on the long weekend and saw nobody at all, had the route all to myself while on TV after I got home, saw the insanity going on at the APP highway corridor (did I already tell this story here... never mind).



The peak in 2017 was Sept 28th, so not quite the 22nd, but still earlier than Thanksgiving.

Info here: http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/images/g ... istory.jpg

I just got back from a trip last night, and the interior is already very quiet, and the hikes are already getting very busy. Cars aren't parked all along the corridor yet, but all the lots are full and there were tons of people on the two hikes that I did. It will probably be a zoo between now and Thanksgiving regardless of when colours peak lol. Lots of tour busses and tons of tourists from other countries, which I assume are all pre planned and pre arranged with hopes of colours peaking on their chosen dates.


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