Elliot Lake - Depot Lake

CanadaOntarioNorth Channel
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Additional Route Information
32 km
3 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
750 m
Longest Portage: 
489 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
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Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Start at town of Elliot Lake
To southeast end of Elliot Lake
P 90 m to Quimby Lake
To most southerly bay of Quimby Lake
East on creek
P 18 m R around small dam
P 149 m L around rapids
P 482 m L around rapids
To east end of Depot Lake - finish at Hwy 108

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
41 J/7 Elliot Lake
Other Maps: 
41 J/SE Blind River (Prov. Series Map)
GPS Tracks
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Post date: Tue, 12/13/2011 - 18:05


I did this route for the first time early May 2011 with a friend somewhat new to canoeing. Being from Elliot, we both heard a lot about the route and chose it because it seemed easy to navigate and had short portages. Most of what I have heard (including from this site) was that it takes 3 days/2 nights to complete. We completed it quite easily in 2 days!
We didn't get on the water until noon, launching from Spine Beach, and were fast arriving at the Elliot/Quimby Falls portage (left), and made camp not long after 4pm at the camp site facing the mouth of Marshland Creek on the south side of Esten. We had a leisurely time that night at camp.
Surprised at the distance we covered the day before, we took our time with breakfast and breaking camp. We took Marshland Creek, which has 4 portages:
1st is around small falls - easy 2 person carry over a rock face to the right.
2nd is to the right around very easy C1 rapids which we ran. I assume the portage is their for when the run is too shallow... Wading/lining would be easier than carrying.
3rd and 4th are very close (across a pool from eachother), both are to the left of C3 (?) chutes. #3 seemed like a pretty straight forward run, but we didn't feel like getting wet this time of year. The last wouldn't be doable in an open boat.
We arrived very early to Marshland (original plan for camp), so we decided to keep on going and made it to the Depot boat launch by 6pm, and decided to pull out then and consider ourselves lucky to have avoided the impending rain storm.
We ended up seeing a lot of wildlife including a couple of moose, all in all was a very friendly route. I would recommend this route to anyone looking for a leisurely weekend paddle, or for a first overnight canoe trip.
If you do this route over the summer I would suggest camping at the site mentioned above or on one of the few scattered along the creek, as boat traffic is busy on many of these lakes during the fishing season.
Again, we did this in 2 days quite easily and with many snack/fishing breaks. So if you want to take the 3 days this page recommends, I suggest making plans to do other things, like swim and fish. Portages were well maintained; the 1st and last are along ATV trails. If water levels are low I could see having to do some wading between Quimby/Esten.
I will likely do this trip again when back in the area, but extend it past Depot and continue on to McCarthy.

Post date: Thu, 12/17/2009 - 22:25


This route can also be done backwards. There is a choice in route selection also, go through the swamp/canal or through the lake system to the south. the swamp/canal route is shorter with less portages but one can easily get lost. the other route is longer with more portages and about an extra day or day and a half of paddling. if going the swamp/canal way make sure you have good footwear for portaging and a satellite view of this area because it can become difficult to navigate. the stream running through the swamp is difficult to find when running this trip starting at depot. be prepared to have to walk the canoe through this area. the water is moving and a slight current can be noticed. leeches were a factor in some areas. portaging from the swamp to the canal is difficult and up a very steep hill but is less than 65m. in the summer of 09 there was a beaver dam in the culvert between the canal and little esten lake. camping spots are few but the ones that are designated campsites are in great locations, beware that the sandy point campsite on Elliot Lake is a high traffic site and is also the only site on Elliot Lake

Post date: Sat, 01/01/2000 - 07:00


It's handsome country with some fine camping spots. With higher water the creek that joins the lakes would have some challenging rapids. Generally, those sections are too low to paddle.