Farm Lake to Tattler Hilton (Ranger Cabin) via Booth Lake

Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Jeff Ohlhausen
Trip Date : 
July 2017
Additional Route Information
25 km
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
640 m
Longest Portage: 
550 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Enter at Shall Lake Access (#17) point in Algonquin Provincial Park.

Technical Guide: 

Intermediate canoeing. Portages are not that difficult but can be challenging for novices. Winds can be high on Booth Lake, so plan to cross in the morning if heading west.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

We planned our first family backcountry canoe trip to the Tattler Hilton (aka Tattler Lake Ranger Cabin). We intended to stay two nights in early July.

We rented a 17' kevlar canoe from Algonquin Bound. Service and advice was great. We stayed in Madawaska at the All Star Campground the night before so that we could get an early start and be on Booth before the winds picked up. We realized that there are marked crown land campsites on the road to the Shall Lake access point we could've stayed at for free. Had a great meal at Barry's Bay that evening and went to bed excited and anxious for the trip ahead.

We got up at 6:30 and headed to the permit office at Shall Lake. The staff was amazing and upon learning that it was my children's first Algonquin trip (ages 7 & 10) gave them each a stuffy. We grabbed the canoe and headed to the put in. We were immediately assaulted by clouds of mosquitos, a phenomenon that would only end when we were on the water.

We had a nice paddle to the first portgage at Kitty Lake and portaged without incident. Short paddle to the second portage. It was an eye opener for my wife and the kids who had never portaged before but ultimately wasn't that bad other than the insane mosquitos. We had bug jackets and tons of spray but they were still crazy. We double carried the portage and made our way to Booth. Booth was a longer and more challenging paddle with decent winds on the east to west top section of the lake. We dug in and worked and got across.

Everyone got excited when we saw the Tattler Hilton. It's in decent shape. We lugged in a big Coleman tent as I wanted to have a place to hide from the flies. It served us decently but we ended up being prisoners of the tent. We couldn't find the spring - it isn't well marked. After reading the journals in the cabin (a must do) I think we could have found it but we were deterred by the even greater hordes of mosquitos as soon as you entered the trees.

It was a nice day but we were confined to the tent due to the bug situation. We had some meals, freeze dried, and unfortunately the ones I chose for my vegetarian wife were pretty terrible. She had a rough go for her first trip as she wasn't hydrayting or eating properly. We turned in for the night, after a brief respite from the bugs, but they rallied after dark and prevented my wife and I from sleeping. Probably should've stayed in the tent. We made the decision to leave a day early and it was a good decision. The cabin is in good shape - i think we had a mouse visitor in the evening but nothing crazy. Saw a couple of snakes and a moose going for a dusk swim.

We set off in the morning in some rain and had a fast paddle out. About 3 hours to get out, 4 1/2 getting in.

I'll be honest - it was a tough trip due to the bug season which has been as bad as the outfitter remembers and later than usual. I won't plan trips in July again but am dying to get back. I think the family is remembering it more fondly as time passes. I wished the trip went better for the new canoe trippers but hey - that's sometimes how it goes. Important thing is that we try again. Algonquin was as lovely as usual. Nice route, stupid bugs.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
Other Maps: 
Jeff's Map
Suggested Resource Material: 
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