Stretching 60 miles from east
to west and 40 miles from north to south, Quetico is renowned
for its rugged beauty - its towering rock cliffs, majestic
waterfalls, virgin pine and spruce forests, picturesque rivers
and lakes - and for the best wilderness canoeing in the world.
Except for Dawson Trail, the park is accessible only by water.
There are no roads, no logging and regulations help preserve
its natural and remote splendour.
Hundreds of lakes and rivers are linked by portages averaging
Some areas of the park are more easily travelled than others.
Portages and campsites are not signed. Ask park staff at the
ranger stations for the most current information about water
levels and portage conditions.
Listed below are suggested routes from each Ranger Station.
There are many more routes to take, but this will give first-time
users an idea of distance and time.
Dawson Trail Ranger Station:
Baptism Creek-Cache Lake Loop
123 km (6 days) 18 lakes, 20 portages,
Baptism Creek is accessible from French Lake in the northeast
corner of Quetico. Few visitors venture southeast of the lake.
This route is recommended for seasoned trippers who are physically
able to surmount two of the park's most formidable obstacles
- the Cache Lake portages. For those who don't mind backtracking
or rugged portages, this entry point offers canoeists a quick
escape into wilderness solitude and isolation not found at
many other entry points.
Atikokan Ranger Station:
112 km (6 days) 14 lakes, 18 portages,
This popular route features large and small lakes, creeks
and easy portages. Upon reaching Pickerel Lake from Batchewaung,
steer an easterly course through Pickerel Narrows then head
south and southwest through Dore and Twin lakes to gigantic
Sturgeon Lake. Near its west end, enter Jean Creek. After
paddling north through Burntside and Jean lakes, bear east
on Quetico Lake and continue through Oriana, Jesse and Maria
lakes. From there, portage back to Pickerel Lake and return
to Nym Lake by reversing the route you followed on the first
Beaverhouse Ranger Station:
Cirrus Lake-The Sue Falls Loop
40 miles (4 days) 5 lakes, 7 portages,
This loop is ideal for those who prefer long, uninterrupted
stretches of paddling, with only an occasional portage for
leg-stretching. You paddle from the northeast corner of Beaverhouse
Lake and then portage east, first to an unnamed lake and then
to Cirrus Lake. With nearly half of the route's portages behind
you, paddle to the east end of Cirrus for a view of scenic
Sue Falls. Steer south to the longest and most difficult portage
of the trip. Upon reaching Kasakokwog Lake, plot a westerly
course down McAlpine Creek to another enormous lake. Paddling
close to the north shore of Quetico Lake, don't miss ancient
rock paintings (pictographs) on the sheer granite cliffs.
From the west end of Quetico Lake, the Quetico River carries
you back to Beaverhouse Lake.
Lac La Croix Ranger Station:
McAree Lake easy
McAree Lake is the most convenient of the four entry points
accessible from Lac La Croix. From here, it is only three
miles to Quetico's interior. Beyond is some of the most beautiful
scenery in the entire Quetico-Superior region. Argo and Crooked
lakes, Curtain Falls, the Siobhan and Darky rivers and the
pictographs of Darky Lake are among the not-too-distant attractions.
McAree and Minn lakes are among the 10 lakes in Quetico where
native people of the Lac La Croix Guides Association are permitted
to use motors no bigger than 10 horsepower. East of these
two lakes, however, the only buzzing will be that of the humming
Prairie Portage Ranger Station:
Carp Lake-Hunter's Island Loop
379 miles (13 days) 25 lakes, 29 portages,
easy to challenging
If you have two full weeks to spend on the water, this route
is scenic, historic and one of the most varied. The lakes
and rivers along this loop were part of the Voyageurs' Highway
- the route of the fur traders between Lake Superior and Rainy
Lake. Throughout the loop are historic sites where natives,
prospectors, settlers and loggers left their marks. Counter-clockwise
is the best direction to paddle the loop, allowing you to
take advantage of the Maligne River's occasional swift current.
You should allow one layover day, just in case you get held
up by high winds on a large lake.
Cache Bay Ranger Station:
Falls Chain-The K-K-K Loop
168 km (8 days) 26 lakes, 37 portages,
Doing this route in eight days is recommended for strong and
experienced paddlers. Most groups average 10 days. From Cache
Bay, paddle to the northeast end of Cache Bay. View Silver
Falls at the first portage, then paddle to the north end of
Saganagons Lake and begin the journey to the Falls Chain to
Kawnipi Lake. After paddling Kawnipi to its northwest end,
go south along Kahshahpiwi Creek, through Cairn, Sark and
Keefer lakes, all the way to Kahshahpiwi Lake. From there,
portage to McNiece Lake. A chain of smaller lakes and streams
leads south to Basswood Lake. From there, paddle northeast
along a series of international border lakes back to Saganaga