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Killarney PP route
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Author:  Fox08 [ June 15th, 2020, 12:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Killarney PP route

I’m planning on heading to Killarey with a friend (hopefully in the fall, worst case scenario pushed to next year), and was hoping to get some advice. We’re looking for a nice mix of paddling and hiking, and have about 5-6 nights, 6-7 days to play with. Given it’s our first time, we figured we shouldn’t stray too far off the more popular routes. The only issue is deciding between what I’ll call the ‘North Route’ and ‘South Route’.

North Route
- Bell Lake launch
- 2 days David Lake – one day paddling there, one day hiking Silver Peak
- 2 Days Great Mountain Lake - one day paddling there, checking out Gail Lake; one day hiking along the trail south of Little Mountain Lake (any advice whether we should go west toward Shigaug lake, East toward David, or a mix of both is appreciated). Also given that we’re planning on hiking this area, would attempting to book Gail be worth it? It seems everyone recommends it, but it’s further from our hiking area vs. trying for the southernmost site on GML.
- 2 days getting home (night on balsam? Recommendations welcome!)

South Route
- George Lake launch
- 2 Days Killarney Lake – one day paddling in, one day hiking the crack (plus further on toward Little Superior/Proulx as far as we can make it)
- 2 days Norway/Sandy – one day paddling in, one day bushwacking Bunnyrabbit/Whiskeyjack area
- 2 days Muriel Lake – one day paddling there, one day Topaz lake area (or Gulch Hill, haven’t decided)
- 1 day out

Any input on what area is better for first time visitors? Whether these routes sound smart/doable? Any additions/changes? Obviously with the more popular southern region we may need to be a bit flexible with lake choices (if we end up going this year). .

Author:  recped [ June 15th, 2020, 5:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Killarney PP route

Personal opinion; other than to bag Silver Peak I see no reason to ever go back to Bell Lake, since I've done Silver Peak that leaves little reason at all.

I've been to Killarney many times but almost always if I had 4 or 5 nights I would camp only twice and day paddle and hike the hills the rest of the time

Author:  wotrock [ June 15th, 2020, 7:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Killarney PP route

tend to agree with Recped. IMO, the crack is better than Silver Peak, but avoid it on the w/e as it tends to be busy. OSA and Killarney are two of the best in the park. You can do off trail hiking from both.

There is some good hiking at Little Mtn if you choose that route and both those lakes are quite scenic---David, not so much.

Author:  frozentripper [ June 17th, 2020, 10:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Killarney PP route

The central ridge is more spectacular being higher (along the north shores of OSA. Norway and Killarney lakes). The peak at the NE corner of OSA is IIRC the 3rd highest with Gulch Hill the 2nd.

Climbing GH from Muriel is very steep but can be done. Easier is to park the canoe at the old port on OSA to George and bushwhack in... you get a good view east towards Silver, see Teardrop lake and another beaver pond between the twin peaks of GH. The western of the two is overgrown with no view.

Sandy is a gem with no through traffic since it is a dead end but the campsite left a lot to be desired. Possible to bushwhack to Silver Peak from there. Or maybe to the trail.

The Crack has good views west but looks beaten down from all the traffic and you may see others. Lots more choice with more privacy at other places in the central ridge... good luck.

Author:  Canoe Daddy [ June 18th, 2020, 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Killarney PP route

I think it all depends on what you are in for. The problem with the lakes around the crack is that they are very difficult to book. They are stunningly beautiful, but busy and good luck getting in on a summer weekend unless you got onto the booking site 5 months prior to your date. You might be fine booking in the shoulder seasons, however. There are only a few sites on each of those lakes.

The northern section of the park is a lot less busy, and has great fishing if that is your thing. If you want to see those LaCloche hills, you could try to head as far south as David Lake and nip on up to the Silhouette Trail from it's western bay , but then you would have to contend with that nasty portage between Great Mountain and David. The Bassoon, Bear, and Fish lake areas are beautiful, not crowded and have amazing fishing. We did the northern route in the second week of august last year and had our pick of amazing campsites on each of those lakes.

Author:  TrippyThings [ June 30th, 2020, 8:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Killarney PP route

With your first option I would camp on any combination of Balsam, Boundary, and Gail. Gail has an absolutely beauty of a campsite, it's the hidden gem in the park in my opinion. Everyone knows OSA and Killarney, Nellie and Grace... but Gail, that's a personal favourite. The short portage getting there is very steep though, and the long portage out of David is no walk in the park either (no pun intended). But Gail makes it worth it.

Boundary is a better option than David just because of the privacy and seclusion. It still offers immediate access to the Silver Peak trail but you don't have to deal with all the traffic, the cottages, and the potential motorboats. Planes will sometimes land on David as well (not sure if that's still allowed, but I know they used to).

And Balsam is good to round out the trip if you wanted to do a loop instead of a there-and-back.

Between Silver Peak and The Crack... the former offers the more impressive view, but the latter is more fun as a hike itself. If I had to choose one, I'd choose Silver Peaks just because of the view.

I've camped on Sandy as well, like frozentripper said it's a nice dead-end lake but the campsite isn't anything special. If you're going to that area, try and do OSA/Killarney and day trip The Crack from there.

When you say "first time visitors" do you mean first time backcountry camping, or just first time in Killarney? If it's your first time backcountry camping, I wouldn't push all the way to Gail, I would do a more relaxing trip like OSA/Killarney, or Balsam/Boundary. If it's just your first time in the park but you have experience, do something like Boundary x2 (w/ Silver Peak on off day) > Gail x2 > Balsam

Author:  Fox08 [ July 4th, 2020, 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Killarney PP route

We ended up being both available this fall which was a big bonus. Unfortunately we had to be a bit *creative* with the route plan. The main southern lakes were certainly unavailable.

Day 1 - arrive at bell lake access and get a site on Johnnie Lake (pray to god for a northern site)
Day 2 - canoe all the way to Great Mountain. This should be the worst day of the trip distance wise. I've heard nothing but bad things about the 3k portage to GML, and my longest portage has only been about 1k. My plan is an early wake up and try to get to the portage by 12-1ish. I figure going the David Creek route (rather than Clearsilver) might expend a bit less energy (though it would take longer). Any tips are welcome
Day 3 - Canoe to Little Mountain Lake, explore La Cloche trail (probably to Shigaug). Hopefully have time/energy to blimb up ridge in opposite direction. Back to camp at GML
Day 4 - Rest Day. Only mission is to switch campsites to Gail Lake.
Day 5 - Tackle the hellish portage back to David Lake. Camp there.
Day 6 - Wake up early, climb Silver Peak in the morning. Canoe to Balsam in the afternoon
Day 7 - Canoe out

Hoping this doesn't sound too crazy. We generally like to keep fairly busy during our days; not really the 'hang around camp' types. That being said I'm not looking to perform any great feats of endurance either. . .

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