Restoule P.P. - French River - Shoal L. - Bass L. - Clear L. Loop

Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Steven Mou
Trip Date : 
June 21 - 25, 2020
Additional Route Information
70 km
5 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
3900 m
Longest Portage: 
900 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Hwy 534 to Restoule Provincial Park

Technical Guide: 

Boat launch at Stormy L, Restoule P.P.

West on Restoule River

P270 at Scott's Dam

P270 at MacArhur's  Rapids

P800m into Restoule Bay (Steep climb on west end)

Turn northeast on French River

P55 at Keso Pt.

P600m at Chaudiere Dam

Turn south at Frank's Bay

P90m into Shoal Creek

P55m on Shoal Creek

P45m onto Shaol L.

P810 on Sand Creek to Bass L.

P900m to Clear L.

South on Stormy L. back to starting point


Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Seven people and a dog, we did the Restoule / French River loop from June 21st to June 25th.  It was a long wait.  At first, all backcountry camping was closed due to Covid-19.  Then it was re-open but only allowed maximum five people as a group.  Five days before the trip, the province loosened up the social gathering limit to 10 so finally we got the green light.  But Restoule PP backcountry camping remained closed.   So on the first night, instead of camping at Restoule PP which was originally planned, we spent the night on the crown land just outside the park.  The next day at 9:00am, we went to the park office to finish the paper work and by 10:30am everyone was on the water.

Day 1, June 21st

Because Restoule PP overnight camping was still closed until June 22nd, we needed to paddle through Restoule River and get out of the park by the end of the day.  It was about 20km distance.  There were two portages on the river:  270m at Scott’s Dam and another 270m at MacArthur’s Rapids.  Both portages were on the right side of the river.  Other than the two places, the water was pretty flat until the end of the river where there were a couple falls with an 800m portage on the right hand side.  There were some swift water when we approached the falls (one was underneath the bridge), all could be portaged on the right side if one chose to.

It was hot and sunny, 31 degrees for the high.  We had lunch half way at around 1:00pm.  When we reached the fall, it was about 5:00pm.  There was a very nice campsite at the end of the 800m portage just above the fall.  However there was a steep climbing from there so fetching water could be a problem.  After the portage, we entered Restoule Bay.  There were a couple of campsites on the island, not very big, each holding three or four tents.  We took both sites for the night.

Day 2, June 22nd

We left at 10:00am and shortly turned right onto French River.  After 10 minutes paddle, we reached a portage that was marked 55m on the map but was definitely longer.  There was a channel on the left side of the portage with strong current coming down.  Mark and Vanessa tried to paddle through and they did it!  While everyone else was still carrying over their stuffs, Mark and Vanessa were already lying on the rocks waiting.  Another short paddling we reached Chaudiere Dam where there was a 600m portage.  The campsite at the beginning of the portage was a nice one. 

We stopped for lunch at Wright Island.  There were two campsites there.  The one we picked was at the tip of the island and was a very beautiful site.

In the afternoon, the wind picked up a bit.  As wisdom suggested, it was southwest wind so we enjoyed the ride along the way.  It was still hot, 30 degrees and sunny.  We arrived at Summer Island at around 4:30pm and camped there for the night.  We did fishing, and caught a 20” Walleye.

Day 3, June 23rd

The weather forecast said it was going to be heavy rain but it turned out only a few drops in the morning.  The wind changed to southeast and south but was not bad at all.  We started at 10:00am and continued east on French River.  It only took us less than two hours to reach Frank’s Bay where French River meets Lake Nipissing.  The water became chubby there.  There seemed to be some nice campsites on the north side of the river but we decided to turn south into Shoal Creek and took a campsite right at the 90m portage.  It was not a marked campsite on the map but we managed to squeeze six tents and a No Bug Zone there.  The view was good.  The water coming from the creek narrowed between the rocks which formed a stream right passing beside our tents.  There was a pond at the bottom of the stream where we caught a lot of fish.  We spent the entire afternoon relaxing, fishing and had some fish dinner at night.  One word of caution, we found some poison ivy at the beginning of the trail so we all put on our long pants and socks for protection.

Day 4, June 24th

The wind picked up in middle of night and the weather forecast finally showed its teeth.  The rain kicked in at around 9:30am and was on and off the whole morning.  The wind was strong but mostly shed by the landscape of the creek.  It was also much cooler with the temperature 23 degrees for the high.  There were numerous beaver dams on the creek.  One, just as what we learned from our research, was as high as three feet.  It took us quite some time paddling through the winding path of the creek with shallow water in some places.  Nevertheless it was quite a pleasant experience.

When we reached Shoal Lake, it was after 1:00 o’clock.  It started to rain continuously.  We stopped at a campsite on the west side of the lake for lunch.  The afternoon paddle was again in a creek but with a 810m portage.  At around 4:00pm we reached Bass Lake where we were going to stay for the night.  There were several island campsites.  We picked the site on the west side of the lake and it was a beautiful one.  By that time, everyone was wet and cold.  We quickly set up the campfire and some of us started to make dinner.  As the name indicated, there were Bass in the lake and we caught a couple of them and made fish dinner again.

Day 5, June 25th

The weather was nice with 23 degrees for the high.  But the wind was over 20km/h with gust wind close to 40km/h.  We started at 9:30am.  There was a 900m portage between Bass Lake and Clear Lake.  After that it was only a 7km paddle back to our cars.  On Clear Lake, the wind was largely blocked by the shoreline.  But as soon as we turned onto Stormy Lake, the wind was blowing on us with full force and we just had to paddle right into the waves for over 1km.  What a finish for the trip, and we all made it!

By 12:30pm, we landed at where we started.  High five!  It was a fulfilling trip but not without challenging.  Now we are aiming at the next one and perhaps more after that.

Maps Required
Other Maps: 
Ontario Park's Restoule - Upper French River Canoe Route