Bell Lake loop through Balsam L.

CanadaOntarioGeorgian Bay coast
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Sean Allison Purcell
Trip Date : 
Additional Route Information
23 km
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
1540 m
Longest Portage: 
745 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Turn West off #69 Hwy onto Hwy 637 to Killarny, drive to Bell Lake road and turn off main Hwy. Continue on Bell Lake Rd. winding your way to Bell lake. Park in main parking lot.Launch at Bell Lake Access point, canoe rental avail. permits available here. Trip takes you through Bell L., 3 Mile L.,Balsam L.,David L., Silverpeak access off southwest end of David L.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Started out from Southern Ontario early Friday morn. after the usually bleary eyed Did we pack everything? Never enough cafffeine to start these things and yes we always forget some piece of non critical gear. First part of drive is usually spent sipping coffee and perplexing over how to make do with out aforementioned piece of gear.
arrive at Bell Lake turn off after gas, food and washroom stops at convient hwy points.
Finally load canoes and get permits from office, weather looks hot 31c and humid.2:30pm launch onto Bell Lake paddle 2 km to 3 Mile Lake, weedy near take out, we were briefly entertained by an otter near the take out, and we were disappointed to see we would actually have to carry the gear up the concrete path to Balsam Lake(we had read many accounts of the wonderful tram cart you just had to paddle up to, now removed) and continued 30m north into Balsam Lake.4:30pm started paddle up Balsam intending to camp near the Portage into David Lake. 5:30pm beautiful bull moose posed for some close ups. As we paddle up further on Balsam we discover that allsites thusfar are full and we will have to paddle past our take out to David L.We end up on an unmarked site on the north end of Balsam L. manage a small fire before darkness sets in. Our Scottish Terrior who is normally very quiet, starts to whine and pace, hot,humid and windless night. We hear what sounds like a small plane in the distance and the hum starts to grow, but none of us can spot it from our little island campsite. After a few minutes we realized it was not a plane but the drone of mosquitoes on the mainland. Maybe a good time to head for the refuge of the tent. Up early to beat the heat as it looks to be another hot day. Pack up after coffee and breakfast and head for David Lake. Arrive at busy David Lake portage and start leapfrogging gear/canoes up the rocky 685 m portage into David Lake. 41c with the humidex averaging 6-8 litres a day of water per individual. Take an extended break at David lake put-in to rehydrate everyone in the shade. 2hr paddle to other side of David L. great views of Silver peak along the way. Take out at southwest end of David L. at Portage into Clearsilver L. We took the turn away(left) from Clearsilver L. 200 m to Small unnamed L with a nice little creek and Waterfall at end of portage. Some wanted to rest and the remainder wanted to attempt the Silverpeak hike since we were very close to the trailhead. Even though it was over 40c with the humidex we loades up with water and our pump and headed out. We had to go back to the Clearsilver L. trail and followed the blue trail markers until we came to the sign for Johnnie L. where the split to Silverpeak is we turned right and cont. on the blue markers we were following turned abruply left after about 500m and continued, we followed(big mistake)the trail to Silverpeak is actually marked with red tape tied arround a small Birch. and continues straight ahead. We had a lovely hike 4kms with some steep verticals and occational views before we realized we were on the Lacloche trail 108km arround the park. We pulled a u turn and headed back very puzzled as to how we missed the marker to Silver peak, arriving at the split were we turned to follow the blue trail markers we discover that we should have followed the flags tied to the trees as the blue markers indicate The Lacloche trail. Arriving back at the portage for a late
dinner, the group quickly decides that theres not enough daylight to reach our final camp (1 small lake and a 745m portage in the dark) We decide to camp where we are on the portage and set-up a no footprint camp. Benefit of this is we get enjoy the small waterfall and soaking pool, what a blessing in the heat. Sunday morning finds us packing up and heading to Bell L. and the last portage(745m) We finish the carry to Bell L. and meet a group of Scouts from Michigan on their way in, they can't believe the heat think they are in the Everglades not Canada. Paddle 3 km to the parking lot at Bell Lake. Wonderful trip (excepting the high temps) as it's always a privilage to canoe in Killarny.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Killarny BackCountry canoe and Hiking Map available at park offices<br />
Special Comments: 

Reservations are highly recommended as the interior is very busy at peak seasons.