Across Algonquin Park

Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Adrian Smith
Trip Date : 
Additional Route Information
170 km
10 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
35445 m
Longest Portage: 
5305 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

This trip crosses Algonquin Park from West to East.
We did the trip in 10 days:
Enter: Tim Lake access point # 2
1 Tim River to Rosebary Lake, 1 Portage
2 Tim River to Shippagew Lake, 6 Portages, Severe Meandering
3 Shippagew Lake to Blue Lake, Big Trout Lake to Merchant Lake, 3 Portages
4 Merchant Lake to Happy Isle Lake to Opeongo Lake, 2 Portages
5 Opeongo Lake to Dickson Lake, 1 Portage - 5.3 Km
6 Dickson Lake to Little Dickson to Sundassa to White Partridge Lake, 3 Portages
7 White Partridge Lake to May to North Branch to Loonskin to Barron Lake, 4 Portages (total 7.7 Km)
8 Barron Lake to Greenleaf to Carcajou to Wenda to Little Carcajou to Upper Spectacle to Lower Spectacle Lake, 12 Portages
9 Lower Spectacle to Grand Lake to Stratton to High Falls to Ooze to The Cascades to Brigham Lake, 8 Portages
10 Brigham Lake to Exit via Barron Canyon, 3 Portages

Note that we had to double each portage - turning it in to a total of 105 KM of hiking - you need good boots!

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Here is a very abbreviated version of my journal:

This trip was completed in May 2003 by my friend Brian and myself. The following are some highlights from each day's journal:
Day 1 - Drop second vehicle at Barron Canyon then travel back to start point. In water by 5:45 p.m. Whining started at 6:00 p.m. We were suppose to camp on Tim River after Tim Lake but couldn't make it so we crashed in a field by the river.

Day 2 - In the morning I went exploring and found some old farm implements. The river winds an unbelievable amount. The water was high enough that we could run some of the portages. It started to rain.

Day 3 - Hey, look, its raining. Still. Brian lost his paddle at a portage and we had to hike along the river edge to find it. One of us had to shed pants, boots, socks to go fetch the paddle, which was hung up on rocks in middle of river. Hmmm, who was it who lost the paddle? Found the remains of an old cabin on one of the portages. Missing portage sign. And again. Can't read the map because I've gone stupid (at least that's my excuse). Fresh food lasting well due to cold weather. Sausages & Buns for supper.

Day 4 - Detoured down Opeongo lake to the outfitters store. These wonderful people let us use their clothes drier for our sleeping bags. Crashed at camp site across from store - first warm/dry night since day 1.

Day 5 - Cheated - took water taxi to the East Arm of Opeongo. The 5 Km portage almost killed us. Still too tired.

Day 6 - Much more rested. Encountered 70+ year old men who did the big portage for the fishing.

Day 7 - We almost danced across the 4500 Metre portage. Its amazing what some warm weather and good sleep will do for you. Brian discovered that 3 boxes of Bran Cereal is NOT the best thing to eat for breakfast when canoeing.

Day 8 - Vertical Portage - where's the elevator button??? A small creek crossed the portage with no way across it. Laid canoe down over the two banks and walked across that. Crossed two beaver dams as part of portage. Last one was very damp so Brian walked across it and I paddled across. We were meeting Brian's son Jeff at Achray Campground so we paddled through instead of staying on Lower Spectacle Lake - almost a mistake. It became dark much faster then anticipated. Brian is blind in the dark. I heard the splash of water on rocks and looked over his shoulder. We were heading in to a rocky shore line at full speed! Managed to stop in time and carried on to the campground. Couldn't find Jeff so decided just to sleep on beach. As we set up sleeping bags Jeff almost tripped over us! He had decided to go for one last walk before bed.

Day 9 - Decided to run some of the portages, including part of the portage above High Falls. Don't do it. That standing wave is very deceptive. I flipped the canoe. Jeff rolled his kayak. His paddle went over the falls. My camcorder was safely stored in his watertight compartment on the kayak. Oh, not watertight. Anyone want a $700 doorstop? Damn.

Day 10 - A peacefull trip through the Canyon. Get to my vehicle at exit. Battery is dead. Other campers are there - give us a boost. So ends the trip!

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
you definitely need the Algonquin Park Canoe Routes map. I used Softmap\'s topo-map program to produce the daily topo maps that I needed. Screen captures of the maps are available at
Special Comments: 

This route is best done in the early spring as the Tim River can become very shallow and 30 Km is way too long to drag a canoe. We used two vehicles but it is probably simpler if you have someone drop you off and pick you up.


Post date: Sat, 08/21/2010 - 01:24


Yes I want topo

Post date: Wed, 05/28/2008 - 17:00



Very interesting read. I am thinking of doig a W to E trip.
You are not the Adrian Smith that worked at the City of Pickering are you?