Willisville to Nellie Lake

CanadaOntarioGeorgian Bay coast
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Trip Date : 
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Additional Route Information
35 km
3 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
5180 m
Longest Portage: 
1890 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Not applicable
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Long rugged portages

Technical Guide: 

Start at town of Willisville
South then east through Frood Lake
P 1530 m
East through Grace lake
Camp night one on Grace Lake
P 1890 m to Nellie Lake
P 1530 m to Murray Lake
Camp night two on Murray Lake
P 230 m to Howry Creek
West on Howry Creek
West through Charlton Lake to finish at Willisville

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Nellie Lake Trip July 2001

Travelling time 5-6 hour drive from Toronto
4-5 hours through Grace to Nellie Lake
5 hours from Nellie back out through Howry

I’m finally putting in typed form my notes from a July 2001 long weekend trip to Nellie Lake in Killarney Provincial Park. I went with my older teen daughter and son. We had done interior canoeing for several years.

Drive 5-6 hours from Toronto, through Sudbury, south from Espanola to Willisville. Find the Charlton Lake Camp parking. Park and canoe over, across the channel, to the Camp for your permits.

Canoe South than East in Frood Lake and Cranberry Bay. It took us about 1.5 hours with a bit of a wind at our back. We camped on the last point before the Park boundary.

The next morning it took a few minutes paddling to the park boundary and the first portage of 1745m (45minutes one trip). This brings you to Grace Lake, a pretty lake reminiscent of OSA with small scattered islands, great for stopping for a snack, lunch, and swim. It took 30-40 minutes to cross the lake.

The next portage (2085m) took about an hour in one trip. It was a long slope up, relatively rough, and then steep down to Carmichael Lake. Paddle through Carmichael and then into Nellie Lake. We took the third campsite 144
in Nelly Lake. The first would get the most traffic, though we saw very little in our whole trip. 144 got the morning sun and was fairly sheltered from the worst wind, but got enough to keep the bugs away.

We stayed in that campsite for a day and explored a bit. The prevailing winds from the west and north that year had us windbound for much of the day-- we didn’t get to explore the western end of Nellie because the wind was just too strong.

The final day we left our campsite and 30 minutes later were at the Notch Creek Portage (1470m) down to Murray Lake. It took us about an hour (including a rest break), much of it down hill. (This would be a wicked portage going the other way.) 30 minutes later we were out of Murray and starting Howry Creek.

We spent about an hour leisurely making our way through winding Howry Creek, bird watching, seeing lots of evidence of recent flooding and a new beaver dam. Part way along we had a small lift over. We had lunch on an island in the widest part of the creek a little bit before it opened into Charlton Lake.

From lunch to the Charlton Lake Camp took about 2 hours with the wind against us.

Harry Kits

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
41 I/4 Whitefish Falls 41 H/13 Little Current
Other Maps: 
Killarney Provincial Park map published by Friends of Killarney (shows all campsites and portages).
Special Comments: 

A lot of portaging, but it`s the only way to get into some spectacular scenery. The Killarney map claims that Nellie Lake is the clearest lake in the park, with a visibility of 28 m (90 ft.)


Post date: Thu, 03/08/2012 - 15:28


Hi, I'd like to purchase a copy of a
video of this trip. 613-248-8541 I love the area & will probably not be able to do this trip. Thanks.

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


Canoed this route in mid-July. Did the loop from Willisville (Charlton L.),Murray,Nellie, Grace,Frood, back to Willisville. Portages are challenging but if you travel light, you can make it through in one carry.We stayed two nights on each lake, making up for the long portages.Our favourite spot was Grace L. Beautiful! Climb some of the hills to enhance your view.