Gibson to MacDonald

CanadaOntarioGeorgian Bay basin
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
bill holland
Trip Date : 
Fri, Aug 06, 2010
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
40 km
Duration: 
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Yes
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
11
Total Portage Distance: 
100 m
Longest Portage: 
300 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Novice
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Portaging: 
Not applicable
Remoteness: 
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Low
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Looks longer than it is I did it in a day and a half

Would take you maybe 3 day two nights?

Go north on the 400 to 168 turnoff (crooked bay) go under the 400 turn right as if you are going back south on the 400 another 300 yards turn left into car park

(I left the van about 9 AM)

From car park it’s only 100 yard carry to Macdonald Lake 5 min. paddle and you turn left under the 400 (big cement culvert can be low water)

Now that you are on the MacDonald river its only a short paddle up stream to 6 mile lake two small portages one dam one small water fall

Next is 6 mile lake have a good map of this lake with you there is a lot of “bays Islands and cannels” to confuse you on this lake

Find your way to the north east end of the lake the river there goes to Gibson Lake

There are 3 portages on this river all right at the end close to Gibson Lake. First is a dam then a beaver dam and last is the road

Gibson Lake only has One Island. The island is a nice place for a lunch break (I got there about 2 PM)

After lunch follow the lake north tell you find the Gibson River then west on the Gibson.

There are some low spots on the river just after the 400 but no problem

3 sets of rapids and one set of fall on the Gibson. First rapids to rocky to run “bad carry big rocks hard to walk on”

Falls easy carry over. last 2 rapids can be run if there is enough water if not easy carry past from the last rapids to the bay only about 30 min.

Not good camping on the bay think about camping some place after falls to before last rapids

From the mouth of the river to the way into McCrea lake
(Musquash channel) is about 2/3 hours I camped on the bay (half way down bone island) got there about 7 PM

Left camp next morning about 9AM. Was on McCrea Lake by 10AM

Two hours to cross McCrea Lake then up the MacDonald River back to your car. There is one portage on the MacDonald probably the longest carry of the whole trip but well used

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
 
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
 
Other Maps: 
 

Comments

Post date: Wed, 08/07/2013 - 22:32

Comments: 

Thanks to Bill for his description of the route.

My wife and I just did the loop (August, 2013). Water levels were higher that last year. We'd like to add some details to Bill's account:

"From car park it’s only 100 yard carry to Macdonald Lake 5 min. paddle and you turn left under the 400 (big cement culvert can be low water)."

It's actually a right turn.

"Now that you are on the MacDonald river it's only a short paddle up stream to 6 mile lake: two small portages, one dam & one small water fall."

Take the portage route on the right of the first rapids. There is a dam at the end of the river that is impassable. Stay on the portage path.

"There are 3 portages on this river, all right at the end close to Gibson Lake. First is a dam, then a beaver dam and last is the road."

There is no recognizable portage path around the beaver dam. We walked through the woods to the road, then walked along the road until we found the put-in at
Gibson.

One final note: McCrae Lake is heavily used on the weekend (especially long weekends) as it is one portage from the car park. If you are planning to camp on McCrae, get there early.