Wendigo to Achray

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Additional Route Information
75 km
7 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
23560 m
Longest Portage: 
4570 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Begin Algonquin Access point 25 (Wendigo Lake) (near Deux Rivieres)
South to Allan Lake (P180)
South to North Depot Lake (P255)
South to Clamshell Lake (P770, P230, P230, P310)
South and West to Radiant Lake (P135, P20)
East on Petawawa river to Crow River (P235, P695, P70, P500, P180, P140, P155)
South (upstream) on Crow River to mouth of White Partridge Creek (P155, P450, P20, P2270)
South (upstream) on White Partridge Creek to White Partridge Lake (P2200), with several beaver dams.
East to May Lake (P485)
East to North Branch Lake (P1135)
East to Loonskin Lake (P4570)
North East to Barron Lake (P1510)
North East to Greenleaf Lake (P1530)
Either North East to Grand Lake and Achray (P440, P5630)
East to Carcajou Creek (P440, P530, P485)
East to Carcajou Lake (P285)
East to Wenda Lake (P230, P85, P115, P50, P180)
East to Little Carcajou Lake (P375)
East to Upper Spectacle Lake (P1920 - actually there is a small bog you cross here, so it's two portages)
East to Lower Spectacle Lake (P155)
North to Grand Lake (P190, P90)
Out at Achray Access Point 22 (near Pembroke)

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Our first night (May 11 2002) we set up camp at the bottom of the portage from Wendigo to Allan lake. An ok site, but nothing special. No bugs!

Attempted to shoot the rapids of the first 230m portage on the way to clamshell... wasted alot of time getting ourselves out of that - a class 2 at the beginning, and then a impassible (at least for us in a expedition kevlar) class 3 at the end. We basically wasted a few hours plus had to portage anyway.

Sun was setting so we camped on the first site we found on Radiant (the first east of the mouth of the north river) OK site, very large but lots of garbage.

We skipped the first 235m portage on the petawawa by staying on the right hand side of the river near the shore and skirting the rapids. We also were able to skip the 180 meter to francis lake, and the 140 and 155 to kildeer lake due to high water levels.

The 155 meter portage up the crow river is a great spot to have lunch, with beautiful falls / rapids.

There were many trees down across the next 450m portage, and tracking the boat up the first half (you can get back to the portage via the stream from Minjekawan lake) was no fun at all seeing as the water was near freezing. We wasted some time here, putting us further behind schedule.

Instead of getting to the end of the 2270m portage, we had to find the beginning in the dark, and camp. It rained at night, and when we woke up there was snow on the ground (fun!).

Raining all the next day, the 2270 was no fun. It was muddy, cold, and had lots of downed trees. We did see a moose though, and the rapids along this stretch were class 2 / 3s and would be fun to shoot if you were going that way and the water levels were high. We met a group coming downriver to shoot the petawawa... you've gotta be hardcore to do that this time of year and in this weather.

White partridge creek was swifter than we anticipated, and it periodically rained most of the way up. Since the water levels were high we could go over top most of the beaver dams, but that didn't make it any easier. About 4/5ths of the way to the end, there is an unmarked (on the map) 50 meter portage on the left hand side. Right near the end we had to saw our way through a fallen tree across the creek and drag the boat the rest of the way over it.

We made it to the beginning of the 2200 meter portage while it was raining and we had about 20 minutes of light left. About 50 meters in it becomes a road, and we found a fire pit there and set up camp (this is bad because it was not a marked campsite, but it was raining and snowing at this point, it was dark, we were wet and exhausted... you get the picture.)

The next morning the sun came out and we strung up all the rope we had and dried almost everything out. The 2200 meters was easy because most was road, and we made it to White partridge lake in good time. We had lunch at the campsite on the first point on the east side of the lake there is a very small island off the point, and it is a beautiful site.

The 485 meter portage to May lake is hell on earth. It is almost entirely a steep slope, and there is a stream that runs parallel to it that breeds blackflies even at this time of year - the only bugs we had for our entire trip. I would much rather do a 1.5k portage on flat land than do this portage.

May lake however is a beautiful, pristine lake, small, but beautiful nonetheless. I understand that this is some of the least travelled water in Algonquin, but it is well wortth the trip.

The portage to North branch lake is very hilly and tiring, but can be done in a reasonable amount of time. North branch is as beautiful as May lake but bigger. It has a beautiful shape, and is very isolated. Maintenance is done infrequenlty here, the campsite signs were non-existant on the north-most two sites. We stayed on the east site on the point, which acutally portrudes a bit to the south and offers a view of sund at all times, enough wind to get rid of bugs (not that there were any) and enough protection for a warm, calm sleep. A beautiful site, with a fair amount of dead wood around for a healthy fire.

We woke up late, and took our time breaking camp despite the fact that we wanted to get to Greenleaf today. The sign to the 4.5 km portage was completely gone, with no little bits even stuck to the nails in the Tree. I replaced the sign with a band of yellow duct tape and two of pink cloth tape. Thankfully this portage is reasonably flat, bus since it had not been maintained, we had to make frequent stops to clear deadfalls or drag the canoe over ones we could not cut or go around. As noted elsewhere, about 3/4 of the way through you will come to a beaver dam, which you cross. If water levels are high though, you can paddle up the swamp as far as you can then land on the shore and find the portage again close by. It is a welcome break.

We made it to Loonskin Lake with enough time to set up camp and lounge around a bit. We discovered however that we had lost our cooking pot on the 4.5k portage, (it had broken off the handle which was tied to a pack. Karma was looking out for us however, and on the site we stayed on (the most western on loonskin) there was a large and deep aluminum skillet someone had left behind. It allowed us to boil a liter and a half of water at a time, so it worked out well. Back near the thunderbox, there was a whole mess of garbage, too much to clean up and pack out. I burned what I could and we did pack out the tinfoil. I wished we were able to go and find the pot, but It would take too much time, and We are packing out more of other people's garbage from sites already than the weight of the pot, so the park is still better off that we came. It also snowed a bit that evening

As noted, the portage on the east end is not right at the campsite, so look carefully for the sign. The 1510 to barron lake is easy. The portage to greenleaf was almost as easy, with the exception of the last 50 meters or so which has very tricky footing.

Greenleaf is a beuatiful lake, The western two sites look great, We stayed on the one furthest west. These sites are on old rick slides from the cliffs into the lake, and a healthy wind blows through them most times. There was alot of garbage at the site, and again we burnt what we could and packed out the rest. If you are into photography, you could spend days on this lake - god knows I wanted to. It snowed a bit in the evening, but then cleared and alternated between sunny and cloudy the rest of the following day.

We chose to take the south route (carcajou, Wenda, Spectacle lakes) out to achray instead of the hydro line portage. If water leves are high you can shoot the small rapids between carcajou and wenda lakes, and we shot most of them. We met our first people on Wenda since the portage from crow river to White Partdrige creek today, and one group even offered us beer after hearing where we'd been. Once we made it to Grand lake, the wind had begun to pick up, and the waves got large as we skirted the edge. On the last kilometer or so, we had to fight wind and snow to get to the landing area where our ride home was waiting.

A good trip, which I would do again, but perhaps with a extra day or two so we could be rushed less.Ben Gervais

Maps Required
Other Maps: 
Algonquin Park Canoe Routes Map
Special Comments: 

You may be able to negotiate small rapids between North Depot Lake and Radiant Lake if water levels are high enough.

Several of the petawawa rapids can also be shot with little whitewater experience if you stay near the shore (always scout first!)

The portages south of the petawawa all the way to achray get maintained later than many others, so bring a saw and plan extra time for negotiating deadfalls if travelling this route early in the season.

White partridge creek has many beaver dams. Start it early in the day so that you can finish before nightfall! (see the trip log)

The low maintenance 2200 meter portage to White partridge lake is an old road for most of its length, so even though it is marked as low-maintenance the going is easy.

The May lake portage (P485) is an exhausting uphill climb. Plan alot of extra time for this one.

The 1135 meter portage between May lake and North Branch has many hills.

If water levels are high, you can paddle about 500 meters near the end of the 4.5km portage between North Branch and Loonskin. Start at the beaver dam and paddle until you con't go anymore. The portage follows the shoreline, so you can just pull out the boat and continue.

The portage at the east end of Loonskin is not right at the campsite, but about 6-700 meters to the south east of it.

After the first 440 meter portage out of greenleaf, you are on road either for the length of the hydro line portage, or until you go to Carcajou Creek. Getting to achray takes roughly a day either route you choose.

You can shoot several of the small rapids on the south (carcajou, wenda, etc) if water levels are high. They are also very suitable for lining.