Duration: 3 days 2 nights. Great wildlife: bears and moose. Distance: 44 miles (70 km). Duration: Three days, two nights. Backcountry Camping. Great Views. Few people.

There are multiple canoe and kayak routes throughout Algonquin park. The Opeongo Lake to Big Trout Lake is easily done in 3 days and a favourite of mine.

Begin at Lake Opeongo Access Point. From there you can hire a water taxi to take you to your first portage (2.1km). The taxi is especially helpful on windy days coming from the North. The portage is located at the top of the lake on the north west shore. You’ll see the yellow portage sign from quite a distance and the only trail will lead you west towards Happy Isle Lake.

Happy Isle Lake offers some beautiful campsites, particularly on the points along the northern shore for access to the sun. The water in Happy Isle Lake is considerably clear and ideal for swimming. There is a sandy beach at the end of the portage trail. The portage to Merchant Lake is 340 meters. The portage is located on the north west shore. The trail will lead you north towards Merchant Lake.

Merchant Lake is a large basin, remarkably different from any other lake in Algonquin. This is a great spot to filter water since the lake is at the highest point in the Algonquin watershed and doesn't receive any water flow from rivers or streams. The 1.8km portage to Big Trout Lake is located on the west shore at the top of the lake. The trail meanders west through the bush. Follow the markers and the only trail available.

Big Trout Lake is one of the better Algonquin destinations. The lake is large but doesn't feel quite as big with a number of bays and islands. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills which make a beautiful view anytime of the year, especially autumn. The lake is by far, one of the most popular but has so many campsites available it rarely feels crowded. Most of the campsites are located on the islands scattered along the lake.

Be bear conscious and hang your food in a tree at night unless you're camping on an island. While portaging watch out for moose, especially when you have a canoe on your shoulders.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Topographic Map of the Park & Route
  • Backpacking Essentials
  • Water / Water Filtration Equipment
  • Camera Equipment
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Activities Camping, Photography, Kayaking, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Cliff Jumping

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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