Lookout River Chain to Little Caribou Lake

Submitter & Author Information
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Additional Route Information
95 km
6 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
2561 m
Longest Portage: 
1280 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

This "Train In--Paddle Out" route begins at Schultz`s Trail, 24.0 miles west of Armstrong, ON on the CNR line and ends at the Caribou L. Road, 5.5km from Armstrong.

Although the embarkation point and river chain are
different, the route from Smoothrock L. is very similar to the Boiling Sand River route described separately. Allow 2-3 extra days for these leisure activities and for inclement weather. Care should be taken crossing the
open sections of Smoothrock L. into Caribou Bay and the mouth of Outlet Bay on Caribou L.

Day One
Portage 175m N from the CNR line to a bay in the southeast corner of
Onamakawash Lake.
Paddle NW along the east shore of Onamakawash Lake into the Lookout R.
Portage 180m on the west bank.
Paddle NE across a widening of the river.
Portage 220m on the west bank.

Day Two
Paddle NE then SE across a widening of the river.
Portage 44m on the east bank.
Paddle downstream a short distance.
Portage 40m on the east bank
Paddle to an island flanked by rapids.
Lift over the island.
Paddle along the north shore of the Lookout R.
Portage 85m on the west bank into Spring Lake.
Paddle N across Spring Lake.

Day Three
Portage 1280m. around two large sets of rapids.
Paddle downstream through the west side of a small set of rapids to
Smoothrock L.
Paddle N through the west channel of Smoothrock L. then NE to the mouth of
Caribou Bay.
Paddle SE then E through Caribou Bay to the outflow of the Caribou R.

Day Four
Portage 80m from the sand beach at the eastern extremity of Caribou Bay
into the Caribou R..
Paddle across a pool in the Caribou R.
Portage 90m.
Paddle or track upstream through a small swift, then SE on the Caribou R.
Portage 73m on the north bank.
Paddle upstream on the Caribou R.
Portage 91m on the south bank into Outlet Bay on Caribou L.

Day Five
Paddle SE to the mouth of Outlet Bay on Caribou L.
Paddle S to the south tip of Beaver Island.
Paddle SE into the bay where a stream flows from Little Caribou L.
Portage 230m into Little Caribou L.

Day Six
Paddle S on Little Caribou L. to the Caribou L. Road bridge.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Onamakawash Lake 52 I/5 Goldsborough Lake 52 I/11 Armstrong 52 I/6
Other Maps: 
Wabakimi Provincial Park Map Section Maps S-14, S-13, S-8, S-24 Crimestoppers North of Superior Explorer
Special Comments: 

Wabakimi Provincial Park features very few `loop` routes. Extended parking of unattended vehicles is not recommended for several reasons (mechanical failure, lost keys, vandalism, remoteness and lack of hitchhiking opportunities). Visitors are encouraged to leave their vehicles with a local outfitter and use the latter`s air and/or road shuttle services.

Westbound VIA Rail service ex Armstrong (Wednesday, Friday or Sunday) will make unscheduled stops to drop off canoeists. The rate per person is that charged to the next scheduled stop plus one adult fare per canoe and gear. Space is limited. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.


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


Smoothrock and Caribou lakes are quite big and winds and storms can be problems. Grundy island on the north end of Smoothrock has a plaque to someone who died returning through the narrows on Big Caribou lake. The route up Little Caribou is certainly recommended.
Summer storms tend to pass quickly and things tend to be calm early in the morning and in the late evening. It can be better to wait a while and rest rather than batter through difficult situations. Also routes on big lakes should be planned based on wind direction rather than the most direct route.

The MNR offices and most of the fishing supply stores have books of all the possible routes with close up details of the portages. These can be most useful.