Grand Lake to Greenleaf Lake

CanadaOntarioAlgonquin
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Admin
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Unknown
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
36 km
Duration: 
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Yes
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
2
Total Portage Distance: 
12000 m
Longest Portage: 
6000 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Novice
Portaging: 
Difficult
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Obviously related to the 6 km portage that has to be negotiated on the way in and out.

Technical Guide: 

Paddle up Grand Lake to portage to Greenleaf Lake.
Return via same route

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Greenleaf Lake is located within a natural watershed zone within Algonquin Park. From the Achray access point there are two ways to access the lake. The first involves a long paddle up Grand Lake followed by one of the longest portages in Algonquin Park (> 6 km!). The second is via a series of lakes located west of Grand Lake.

For unknown reasons we chose the "mother of all portages" route. In addition to the 6 km, this portage also includes a 500ft hill so not only is it long, it is also very steep. According to my counter map, you first climb 11 contour lines and then descend 9 contour lines to the lake (with a very small plateau at the top). This portage follows a hydro line for much of the way but the "road" was in very poor condition in the summer of 1999 for much of the way. Single-tripping, this portage can be done in less than 2 hours, but it ain`t easy. Plus, it seems to be good bear habitat since we saw one on the way in and one on the way out. We met another group on the lake who had also seen a bear on the way in. Did I mention the long paddle? It`s about 12 km to paddle up Grand Lake. Fortunately we did it when there was no wind but the east/west exposure of this lake could make for interesting paddling when the wind is up.

Is the trip worth it? Absolutely. Greenleaf Lake is a beautiful lake with clear water and stunning cliffs located at the north end. A sparse but very picturesque red pine forest covers much of the east shore of the lake.

Greenleaf Lake is actually comprised of two distinct parts. The southern part is quite shallow and weedy with little to distinguish it from other park lakes. The north section is the scenic part of the lake. There are only three campsites on the lake, one of which is quite small.

This trip could be done as an overnight trip but I would recommend at least a three-day trip to allow for recovery from the long portage. You can also access the lake via the hydro line road from west (a very, very long portage) or via a series of lakes leading to Dickson Lake (Barron Lake, Loonskin Lake, etc.).

Mark Taylor

Maps Required
Other Maps: 
Algonquin Provincial Park map published by the Friends of Algonquin Park

Comments

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

Comments: 

I`ve been there 3 times and the best campsite is the first one since it is flat, the other 2 are rocky and uneven but they give you a better scene of the lake and cliffs.

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

Comments: 

Gooday,
It was intersesting to see that someone had already done this route. We are planning it for the end of June. Should be a good trip. That is one hell of a portage though. We are giving ourselves 1 day to do the portage. This is because we will have to do it twice. We are up for it though.

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

Comments: 

Very nice lake. Favorite of all lakes, been there many times. Long hike, but its worth it for the great scenary and great fishing!

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

Comments: 

A magical lake that holds one entranced entirely. Have visited many times, each time seeming to be shorter than the last. I find once you get over the initial elevation gain, youll be frolicking in a paddlers paradise. The second site is a massive vista ladden area which is highly recommended. Although the first site gives the weary traveller an abundance of cover from any prevailing wind which may be of issue. The hydro
line is a favorite of bears and i have personally seen as many as five while on a solo outting.
This may have had something to do with completing the portage in less than two hours. Despite having never had luck fishing here its still worth the visit.

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

Comments: 

We just did this trip the other way – across Grand to Carcajou Creek and then up to Greenleaf through 5 other lakes with our almost two year old in the last week of July. It took us two days of travel to get to and from Greenleaf on this route. From Grand to Lower Spectacle Lake there are some busy but beautiful falls. Lower Spectacle has two half-decent sites. The portage to Upper Spectacle is easy, but Upper Spectacle itself is shallow and mucky and the approach to the portage is difficult in low water. The portage from there to Little Carcajou Lake is very long and gets more difficult as it progresses. There is a beaver pond part way that is definitely worth taking advantage of to shorten the carry. Little Carcajou Lake is interesting and rocky in the south end, but the one site on the lake is tiny and unprotected and the only place for a tent is in a bowl that is badly drained – not good for stormy weather. The portage to Wenda feels quick. Wenda is quite shallow and has a small ranger cabin on it. The creek to Carcajou Lake has 5 official portages plus an extra in low water. The creek is very boggy and it takes some time and effort to navigate the canoe through the parts that are deep enough to move in. The portages are quite easy. Carcajou Lake is nice and deep and the site on the point has nice rocks for swimming off of. The trip to Greenleaf involves a short portage to another boggy stretch, and then a 1.5km portage under the hydro line. The latter is quite easy as most of it is road. The power lines hang low enough to make your wet feet tingle as you carry the canoe underneath. Greenleaf is beautiful, and we stayed at the middle site which is large and has two pebble beaches and a rock cliff for swimming off of. On the opposite side there is a small waterfall that comes down through the forest, and at the north end there are some great cliffs, another waterfall. And, if you lift over some logs at the very end of the lake there is a small deep rocky pond with a waterfall at the end, which makes a great place for picnics, swimming and probably fishing. There is also a small island in the middle of the lake with a rocky edge that is good for swimming and lunch. The bugs were terrible but we saw lots of frogs, snakes, fish, beavers and loons, and we ate lots of blueberries. This was definitely a difficulty trip but we loved it. Our daughter didn’t want to go home! To be honest, we were disappointed by the views – we expected to see more rocks and canyons – but the trip was still worth it. I think we would have missed a lot if we had simply gone up Grand a directly across to Greenleaf.

Post date: Fri, 09/04/2009 - 09:52

Comments: 

By far my favorite lake in Algonquin.The second site has a great cliff you can jump off and you can lower a dunk bag aprox. 30 feet from it. (it`s a great way to keep beers cold ;)The fishing is just awesome! We had a Moose wander into our site there once, she casually swam across the lake and watched us from the other side.