Wolf Lake to Crab Lake

CanadaOntarioSouth Central
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Trip Date : 
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Additional Route Information
10 km
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
214 m
Longest Portage: 
107 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

West through Wolf Lake
P 107 m to Crab Lake
South through Crab Lake
Camp on Crab Lake
Return via same route

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

The Wolf Lake road isn`t labelled - look for fire route 51E off the Anstruther Road. Park free at the public landing just down the road, and you`re off.

Wolf Lake has lots of cottages, but you may camp along the north shore. Continue to the portage, which is just west of the last two cottages on the lake, and is unmarked. It`s short and easy.

There are several nice sites on Crab, none of them marked. One would sleep an army of stargazers out on smooth, flat rocks which border three sides of the site.

Time from the parking lot to a site on Crab is about 1 1/2 hours.

Janet Duval

Trip Log by Chris Potvin

Sat. 5 Aug

Left Brantford at about 3:30 Pm for the Wolf Lake canoe route. Stopped on the Way at Hiker`s Haven in Oakville to pick up a Topo Map of the area. Hiker`s Haven no longer carries maps. Asked about the book Quoted on Richard`s site. Hiker`s Haven no longer carries books. Went Next door and picked up food at the No Frills Grocery Store. Back on the highway. Reached Peterborough at about 8 PM just in time to be held up by the Festival of Something Parade, and then sit in traffic through the town. Stopped at Harveys to eat dinner and Get Christina to be quiet. Christina Got Sick in Harveys. I ate Christina`s dinner. Back on the road at 8:00.

Reached Anstruther Lake Road after Dark. According to Richard`s Site, Gov`t launch for Wolf Lake is on Fire Road 51E. Drive up and down Anstruther Lake Road looking for Fire Road 51E. This Road does not exist. Tried Fire Road 61 (Typo??) No Fire road 61E exists. Tried every fire road going Left off Anstruther Systematically beginning with the first one, none of them have Gov`t launches. It is Very Dark and Late, we have burnt 1/2 a tank of gas. Drive to Apsley to get directions/map at a gas station. Nothing open. Drive back to Serpentine route`s Gov`t launch, set up tent in parking lot, go to sleep. It is 1:30 AM

Sun. 6, Aug

Pack up tent, leave parking lot, try a couple more fire roads. Still no Gov`t launch. We need a map anyway, drive back to Apsley. Buy Breakfast in town, go to Bowes and Cocks Real Estate office to "Inquire about a cottage for sale on Wolf Lake. Get map. Map doesn`t show access point, but shows fire roads quite nicely. Drive back to lake. Head down nice looking fire road. Meet Cottager out for a stroll. Get directions. Go to access point.

*** Access Point to Wolf Lake ***

>From Highway 28 travel 4.8 km Down Anstruther lake Road to a driveway marked #934 (First left after fireroad #58). The Gov`t Launch is to the right down this driveway.

It is 12 noon before we launch. It has taken us 22 hours to get to this canoe route. I think it`s a record. We paddle the length of Wolf lake following the real estate map, and weaving in and out of the chain of islands that form a straight line toward the end of the lake with the portage. Along the way we find a pool noodle. Yay!! Christina Waves the noodle around like a flag till she gets bored of it, then sits back to watch for loon Birds.

We squeeze through the narrows at the bottom of the lake, then head to the portage into Crab lake. This portage is located 2 cabins from the end of the lake. A troop of about 20 boy scouts is coming out of the portage, and we decide not to rush to get into the lake. They do everything a good scout does, the leaders try to hurry them along, they take forever, we wait. Finally the last of the kids is through the portage, and we get through. The leaders warn of a group on crab with outboard motors and chainsaws, but we never see or hear them. The portage is short and easy. Christina even makes the trip without falling. We reach Crab and continue paddling

Crab Lake is quite nice, although hardly spectacular. There are some rocky shores but mostly it is gentle sloping rock with lots of mixed tree cover. We reach a camp which is hardly comparable to 608 (See Massasauga) but is quite nice. It has a big rock overhang on one side for diving and on the other side it slopes to the lake. Camp is set up and we snooze.

A few hours later I go on the quest for firwood and raid a beaver dam. I question whether this is ethical or not every time I do it (How would I feel if the beavers took 2x4`s from my house for their dinner??) But I still do it regularly. Oh well. I return to the camp and rebuild the firepit. I am able to make an enclosed oven, complete with large slabs of rock for a top cooksurface. I have often thought about doing this but never been able. it is rewarding to do it, unfortunately it doesn`t conduct heat to the food well, and I end up cooking over my "chimney". After a dinner of Harvest foodworks "Alfredo Primavera" we watch the clouds roll in and head for bed. On the way I flip the canoe, and stash some wood in the covered firepit so it will be dry in the morning. It looks like rain.

Mon. Aug 7

We Wake up to rain. Well, a heavy mist which falls onto our tent from the trees and sounds like rain. In any case our preparations paid off. Everything uncovered is wet. most of our gear is dry. I find some Birchbark (wet) and peel away the outer layers to light up some pine tinder (wet) and the wood I put in the firepit last night (dry) The fire lights, and with a little coaxing gets big enough to heat a meal. We eat Oatmeal, and watch the mist on the water, and fog moving in layers through the forest. After Breakfast we pack up our gear, get the canoe packed and head out again. The route home is followed as the route in, and without incident. We reached the Van around 9:30 and quickly pack it up and head home. Luckily we beat the cottage traffic through Toronto, and get home in 4 hours, including a bunch of stops (we figure 3 hours travel time plus a little).

Special Comments: 

A relaxed, base-camp style of trip. Paddle in for an overnighter, then back out the next day


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


Lovely Lake and easy access. My 76 year old father had no problem getting in with us recently for the weekend.

One note: they now have signs starting at the #28 directing you to the public launch, so no fears about finding it!

PS: the hike up "blueberry mountain" is great!

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


Crab Lake is now over run with campers,There is now aparks kiosk at Wolf Lake landing.Camp sites are all pretty much marked.

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


This trip is a fantastic two day getaway. If you can go during the week take advantage of it. The lake is extremely busy on the weekends. 2 hours from toronto an a 1hr paddle and portage in makes it possible to drive up after work paddle in and set up camp after work. Pretty sites, good swimming (including cliff diving ) makes this a great trip.

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


first time ,, very easy route,, I think the landing road is marked with a green address sign #928 i think ,,, very busy ,, there had to be 60 people back there the weekend i went ...great small mouth bass fishing

Post date: Tue, 08/26/2008 - 11:03


Has anyone been here recently? Just curious what the chances of getting a site for the long weekend is...

Post date: Thu, 05/28/2009 - 10:57


this was my first canoe trip with new canoe. The trip nice and easy, we left landing at 10 am, leisurly followed the shore right around enire lake, to the end (wolf lake), then to the portage. The portage takes 5 minutes, but the bugs may 22, were hell, no blackflies just mosquitoes. Crab lake was a very quiet lake, no motors allowed. Crab lake surprising lrge with alot nice bays, and marsh canoe through. The campsites well maintained, picnic tables, fire pits, we had lunch, campfire, wood and paper bundles already there. WE then hiked up blueberyy hill, which a good workout, the bugs were not bad on that hike. We canoed around crab lake, headed back. When we got to wolf lake directly straight up lake, to the landing took 1 hr, back car, left at 4 Pm very nice day, plan camp crab lake explore marsh area, next month.

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


Kayaked in on the May 24/06 long weekend,the weather was crap but the beauty of the 2 lakes was wonderful!Great trip if you only have a couple days!going back in July,cant wait.

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


I have done several of the canoe routes through the Kawartha Highlands Park. This is mostly crown lands and a beautiful place to canoe through. For this camping there was no cost but some of the parking areas within the Kawartha Highlands require a small parking fee. Like many things, popularity is growing in the sport of canoeing and camping, so there are many people interested. I guess that at times it does get overpopulated. Back to our trip though... We headed out first thing on Saturday, July 1st 2006. Used our GPS's so I am posting that info here for all to see. The parking and portage routes also as GPS coordinates. Took my teen crew and and a wonderful guy whom I have dated a year now out for his first time canoe camping trip. We are into the sport of geocaching, which you can join for free at www.geocaching.com and this will tell you all about it. In a nutshell though, it is a sport where other cachers have hidden treasures in waterproof containers and have enterred the locations by the GPS coordinates onto the website. Then you pick and choose which caches you want to find and download them into your GPS and away you go hiking/treasure hunting. When you find the cleavor hiding spot you remove the container take a treasure out of it and place a treasure back in (to replace the one you took.. for the next person to find)then you write about it in the logbook that is also in the container. Then when you get home you post your find on the website andothers can read about it. Anyway that is what brought us to Crab Lake and what a nice lake. Once was known as Star lake and for good reason I might add. Backpackers mapbook of eastern Ontario and available at Walmart, Zellers, Canadian Tire and many other stores is a great take along as it has the portages and generally a pretty good showing of the canoe routes. Here are the coordinates as promised.....
Public boat launch: N44 44.908 W78 09.691
Portage trail from Wolf Lake to Crab Lake: N44 43.730 W78 11.885
Portage trail from Crab Lake to Wolf Lake: N44 43.656 W78 11.877
It was Canada Day weekend and a few campsites around the lake had fireworks being let off or else it was the cottagers on Wolf Lake but who knows it was far away and the sites are very far apart. Privacy is all yours once on Crab Lake. We found that there are two cottages right at the portage on the Crab Lake side for your info. There are, I believe, when we paddled around the entire circumference of Crab Lake, about 11 or 12 sites. All sites are clearly marked with the Orange tent signs and of note the Portage is clearly marked with a yellow portage sign. The portage is easy between Wolf Lake and Crab Lake and rather short, if you want to take your gear in one trip you can or you can make a second trip. (Easy portaging though) We even made a camp table between two trees that we left for others to enjoy. The great thing about interior camping is that for the most part it is maintained by users. So what you pack in, please pack out. This includes your unburnable garbage. Always leave the campsite cleaner then what you found it and take it easy on the ecology around the site. We swam across the lake and had a blast as the temperature finally warmed up enough to enjoy it. Monday morning came and we unset camp and loaded up the two canoes and packed out. Get out and enjoy all the canoe camping has to offer, you won't be disappointed!!!