Canadian Canoe Routes

Trethewey to Makobe
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Author:  kuuk [ September 23rd, 2019, 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Trethewey to Makobe

Date: September 18 to September 21 (4 days, 3 nights)
Distance: 15 kilometers one-way. About 6 hours of travel.
Route: Trethewey Trail to Trethewey Lake, north to Makobe Lake via LeFebvre Lake, Marko Lake, Schmalz Lake, and Cranberry Creek. Came out the same way.
Weather: Mixed, with strong winds on Day 1 and moderate to no wind for the remainder of the trip. Mostly sunny with some overcast.

Key Take-aways:
Beautiful and rugged area, clearly not traveled on a regular basis. Good campsites.

The impact of the Makobe Lake forest fire of 2018 (NB 072) was awesome – in the truest meaning of the word – but also devastating and sad. Notes on overall impacts for the purpose of route planning are provided below.

Beauty Lake Road and New Liskeard Lumber Road – the two roads required for access to Trethewey Lake and Makobe Lake – are in good shape and passable for most vehicles. Caution should be taken on the last stretch of the New Liskeard Lumber Road approaching the Trethewey Trail Head.

All portages were in good shape and easily traversed. Some low water conditions required lining or extended portaging on the chain of lakes leading to Cranberry Creek. But overall, not a big deal.

Blueberries in September – and LOTS of them!!!

Bugs were still out, but not in full force.

Lots of wildlife – a swimming bear (at a safe distance), bald eagle, moose, and some lake trout.

Day 1:
Left North Bay at 6AM, arrived at the Trethewey Trail Head at 10AM. Trethewey Trail to the small lake south of Trethewey Lake was in good condition and took about 20 minutes to portage. Paddled north on Trethewey Lake and took the northern route - a small chain of lakes - to Makobe Lake. All portages were in good condition and clearly signed. Cranberry Creek had lots of water and was easily paddled. For planning purposes, the route from Trethewey Trail to Makobe Lake is about 15 kms total, and took about 6 hours with moderate head winds.

Camped at the only designated camp site in the North Arm of Makobe Lake. Great campsite with a fantastic view, good swimming rocks, good firepit, and a new privy. Only drawback is that it faces north, but overall a very nice site. 4/5 stars!

Day 2:
Explored Banks Lake. Took the 400m portage connecting the North Arm of Makobe Lake and Banks Lake. Portage was clearly signed and in very good condition. Banks is an absolutely beautiful lake, but the fire had major impacts to all campsites and the eastern shoreline – all have been absolutely scorched. However, clearly park staff (or Rangers) had been through and have re-signed everything. I would only use these campsites with absolute caution as winds can easily blow down the burnt trees. It’s also not the most scenic with the impacts of the forest fire leaving nothing but burned trees and exposed, barren rocks.

We also scouted the first set of rapids/waterfalls running north out of Banks Lake into the Makobe River. This area was untouched by the fire, and if staying on Banks, would highly recommend camping here. It’s an absolutely beautiful spot and would act as a good base camp for exploration of the area or starting point if paddling down the Makobe River. I believe it is a designated campsite.

Day 3:
Paddled to the main body of Makobe Lake on a zero wind day and full sun – the kind of day tripping is made for! Beautiful scenery with a mix of spruce and old-growth pines, and a great vista of Maple Mountain. Did a counter clockwise loop up from Makobe Lake to Banks lake, and then back to our campsite in the North Arm. All island sites on the eastern portion of Makobe Lake were untouched and campsites fully intact. However, the eastern shoreline was hit hard by the forest fire, but it seems that in some paces about 50% of the trees survived. Did not have time to explore the Southern Arm, but others have noted the eastern shoreline was also scorched.

Day 4:
Up at 6:45 and back to the vehicle the same way as we came in. Home to North Bay by 8:30.

Route Resources:
Hap Wilson Temagami Canoe Routes

PM or post for more info - happy to chat and discuss!

Author:  Eddy Turn [ September 23rd, 2019, 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Trethewey to Makobe

Thank you fro the info!

Author:  kinguq [ September 24th, 2019, 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Trethewey to Makobe

Thanks for the info! My plan this summer was to descend the Lady Evelyn then go up Grays River to Banks and Makobe, then out the way you came in. However I changed my mind when I saw the burn maps. It seems likely that the trip up Grays E of Makobe would be impassible or at least very unpleasant, and may remain so for a few years. Too bad...


Author:  rainbird [ July 27th, 2020, 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Trethewey to Makobe

I have just returned from July 17-21 loop from Trethewey, Makobe and Banks Lakes. We left from Elk Lake and began the portage into Trethewey around 10 am aiming to get to a site in the narrows leading from the south arm of Makobe into the main lake. We are geologists studying the region so wanted to see as much as we could especially since the big fire (North Bay 072) of two years ago. Fires are actually a geologists friend because they burn the lichen off the rocks and increase the overall quality of exposures. Taking the series of portages along the chain of lakes (including Teagarden Lk.) leading to the south arm of Makobe, we encountered the devastation beginning at the end of second portage (700m on Ottertooth map) and from that point onward to the put-in at the end of the 240m portage into Makobe. For several reasons I consider this one of the most difficult series of portages I have done in many years of travel in Temagami. Obviously the fire damage caused and is still causing many trees to fall across the trail. Some of these had been cut and cleared, presumably by Ontario Parks employees. The portages are now overgrown with secondary plants, mostly ferns and Fireweed, so the path is generally very difficult to follow. I got the impression that these portages were not well travelled, even before the fire. Luckily someone had replaced all the portage markers or we would have been lost. We made it to the nice campsite in the narrows by 6pm. FYI, there were a few unburned patches along our route but in general it was total devastation, including the two campsites marked on the Ottertooth map. The burn affected the whole eastern shore of Makobe Lake but managed to spare all of the island campsites shown on the map. Same can be said for Banks Lake, where we travelled on day 2. Unfortunately the island campsites there and the beautiful site on the peninsula leading into Banks did not survive. We camped at the site above the first falls on the Makobe River, a very nice spot with lots of flat areas for tenting. Luckily the fire did not make it to the north end of Banks. We had entertained going down the river, but the fire distribution map I had showed that it crossed the river about a third of the way down, so we were concerned about getting through that area. Instead, we decided to do the loop back to Tetheway via Cranberry Creek (beautiful) after spending a third night at the camp site leading into the north arm of Makobe. This is a nice but small site with a view to the north. From there, in the distance, we could see more damage from a tongue of the fire that presumably extended across the river to the west. On day four, we took the series of portages from Cranberry Ck. through Schmalz, Marko and Lefebvre lakes into Trethewey. These portages were in better shape generally, with the exception of the portages leading into and from Schmalz Lake. The one going from Cranberry Ck. into Schmalz is tricky at the end because you have to reload and paddle across a small pond that has been created by a beaver dam on the creek that follows the portage. The portage into Marko from Schmalz is a bit hard to find because there are two portage markers. After finding the first one you need to follow along the edge of the marsh for about 100-150m before you come to the second one which takes you through the woods. This comes out to another marshy shoreline and tricky put-in. After that its a couple of easy lift-overs into Tretheway. We stayed at a nice island campsite on Trethewey (the smaller one on the west) on day 4. Again it appeared that we might have been the first humans to occupy these sites this year. NB that there is a nice signed campsite on the west side of the narrow peninsula (not marked on any maps), about 500 m due west of our island campsite. We arrived back at our car, parked at the head of Trethewey trail, around noon. The road into this point is very good until you reach the park boundary (last 1km). Recommend a vehicle with good clearance for any entry south of park boundary.

Author:  kinguq [ July 28th, 2020, 12:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Trethewey to Makobe


I had plans to explore this area in 2018, the year of the fire, so obviously we didn't go. It has lost its appeal now. I don't like travelling in recently burned areas, as I find them unattractive. Ah well, lots of other areas to explore.


Author:  Stajanleafs [ August 5th, 2020, 10:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Trethewey to Makobe

FYI - if you want more of a visual experience, I put together a teaser of our June trip down the Lady E, up the Grays and over to Makobe and Thretheway via Teagarden. See link:

The 38deg heat, clouds of blackflies and blowdowns made the 3.2k portage harder than it should have. TBH, the trails are not in too bad a shape for an experienced tripper, but our conditions were brutal.... We did a bit of trail maintenance and put up a few signs, but mainly pushed on through. For those wondering, you don't see any burn damage until you get near to the 3.2km portage on the Grays. We opted to go through Tegarden to report back to parks regarding damage. All but the 700m and 400m on this connection have burnt. Stick to Makobe if you want to see less burntlands.

It's a nice area, and a wonderful example of a post burn environment. You tend not to see such expansive swath of burnt forest in this part of NE Ontario. Regen of the pines is already underway. There will be heavy coverage of jack and red pine in just over a decade. Lots of rocks are now exposed, giving the area more of a 'far north' look. Hauntingly beautiful.

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