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9/02/2015 5:32 pm  #1


Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Hello! I could really use the help of people who know the park well!
 
My BF and I will be spending the Labour Day long weekend car-camping at Coon Lake. If the weather is warm and sunny we'd like to spend it at least one or two days lounging on a secluded beach somewhere – but I don’t know where/how to find one!  The most important factor is that this be a QUIET SPOT with relatively few other people, so I think the official park picnic/beach areas are out.
 
It would be great if people on this forum could provide us with options that we could drive and/or hike to and also options that we could canoe to. We are willing to hike up to 2 hours each way, or paddle up to 1.5 hours each way to get to this secluded beach. 
 
Any suggesitons would be appreciated. Thank you!
 
 

 

9/02/2015 7:03 pm  #2


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

You will be very hard pressed to get people to how up their favorite secluded spot. from coon lake I would get in the canoe and head south on rock lake. Take a portage to pen or Louisa and find a spot to hang out for the day but know that all the sites will be booked for the long weekend so you can't occupy a camp site. If you are willing to spend some money for this adventure go to opeongo and get a water taxi up the lake and spend your time at the east arm beach.

 

9/03/2015 8:52 am  #3


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

"We are willing to hike up to 2 hours each way, or paddle up to 1.5 hours each way..."

Not a beach... still, more off the beaten path than a campground... you might be able to find something more secluded on rocky points on Provoking lake, off the Highland Hiking trail. You can either start at the trailhead or take the shortcut by canoeing across LOTR to the port to Provoking. If you take the port to where it intersects the HHT, going east (clockwise) on the HHT will bring you to a large rocky peninsula where the northern bay's east shore opens up into the main portion of the lake, with possible swimming, picnic, snooze, etc. Also more rocky points along the trail going east and the other way if you are willing to explore.

The only difficulty may be that campsites might be occupied, but maybe less likely at midday rather than in the evening.

 

9/03/2015 9:38 am  #4


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Jdbonney wrote:

You will be very hard pressed to get people to how up their favorite secluded spot.

well given that the OP is staying in a drive-in campground, the standards for seclusion might not be SO high that we'd need to give up our best secret bushwhacks

Ibaril, if you're going to be a bit adventurous and make a day trip into the interior by canoe you should orient yourself on Jeff's map of Algonquin, http://www.algonquinmap.com . You can see the canoe routes, portages, trails, paddling distances, which lakes have motorboats, etc. As you can see the portage from Rock to Pen is a nice short one past a waterfall, while the one from Rock to Louisa is a gruelling 3 km - you do not want to do that twice in one day! Now having said that, the Louisa end of the Rock-Louisa portage is actually a nice open rocky area, so you could hike the portage without the canoe and have a picnic and swim there, though there might be some portagers passing through.

Jdbonney wrote:

but know that all the sites will be booked for the long weekend so you can't occupy a camp site.

Mostly true - but not completely. Looking at the reservation system now ( https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/AlgonquinInterior%2fAlgonquinCanoeing%3fMap ) for Saturday and Sunday nights, there is still some campsite availability on Sunday Lake, which you can drive your canoe right up to, and Little Rock Lake, just a short portage from Sunday... in fact Little Rock only has one campsite, so it will be very secluded *if* it stays vacant. For Sunday night there's even some vacancy on the south arm of Opeongo, which has an outfitter right there. No permit required just to have a picnic and swim at a vacant interior campsite.

One more idea would be Provoking Lake. (Edit: I wrote this part before I saw frozentripper make the same recommendation but note I added biking directions) There is a loop of the Highlands backpacking trail that goes around the lake and accesses all the campsites on it. The lake is almost (not completely) booked up for the long weekend but it has a few more campsites than can be booked so there will be a few vacant, and maybe you'll find a nice bit of shoreline along the trail aside from campsites. If you hiked there from the Highlands Trail trailhead it would be a hilly 3.8 km hike just to reach the start of the loop around the lake. You can make a shortcut if you use either a canoe or a bike. With a canoe, put in on Lake of Two Rivers and paddle across the lake to the Lo2R-Provoking portage, leave your canoe there and walk the 1 km portage to where it intersects with the trail around Provoking Lake. Or if you have bikes (or rent them from the Two Rivers store), ride the Old Railway Bike Trail along the south shore of Lake of Two Rivers until it crosses the portage to Provoking, leave your bikes there and hike up the portage. I did exactly that a few weeks ago. Even if you're on foot, you can probably shorten that 3.8 km a bit by starting from the Mew Lake Campground and walking along the Track and Tower Trail to where it intersects with the Highlands Trail, then follow the Highlands to Provoking Lake.

A bonus for Provoking Lake is that while you're there you can hike to the Starling Lake lookout, a really picturesque spot rarely seen by day trippers. In fact that would be a nice spot for a picnic but you couldn't swim there.

Does anyone know whether the railway berm alongside Little McCauley Lake is walkable, and has any nice spots to sit around and swim?

Last edited by DanPM (9/03/2015 9:42 am)

 

9/03/2015 9:57 am  #5


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

lbaril wrote:

Hello! I could really use the help of people who know the park well!
 
My BF and I will be spending the Labour Day long weekend car-camping at Coon Lake. If the weather is warm and sunny we'd like to spend it at least one or two days lounging on a secluded beach somewhere – but I don’t know where/how to find one!  The most important factor is that this be a QUIET SPOT with relatively few other people, so I think the official park picnic/beach areas are out.
 
It would be great if people on this forum could provide us with options that we could drive and/or hike to and also options that we could canoe to. We are willing to hike up to 2 hours each way, or paddle up to 1.5 hours each way to get to this secluded beach. 
 
Any suggesitons would be appreciated. Thank you!

The last long weekend for Canadians and Americans, forecast is for sunny weather and temps in the 80's. 

Good luck.

Driving to Opeongo and hoping to catch a water taxi would be a pretty expensive option.  I'm betting that any nice sand beach anywhere on Ope will be at an occupied campsite.

Out of the box thinking:  drive to Rain Lake, paddle to the far end and hang out on the non-campsite beach there.  The paddle from the landing to the far end takes about an hour.  Rain Lake will more than likely be fully occupied, both the campsites and the parking lot, but you might luck out.

There are two very specific times of the year that we avoid the Park completely: the May 24 weekend and the Labour Day weekend if it's nice weather.  Oh, and avoid Highway 60 at all costs during "leaf peeping" season.  Ugh.

I've never understood why people go to the Park when it's almost guaranteed to be a zoo.

Barbara


Take everything as it comes; the wave passes, deal with the next one.

Tom Thomson, 1877-1917
 

9/03/2015 10:01 am  #6


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Oh, and if you do end up at a campsite that is not occupied when you get there, be prepared to tell anyone looking for a site that you are just hanging around and will move off toot sweet so they can take the site.  That goes for both canoeing and backpacking sites. 

Folks who pay for overnight permits will be right ticked off to find people on a campsite that they're not supposed to be at.


Barbara


Take everything as it comes; the wave passes, deal with the next one.

Tom Thomson, 1877-1917
 

9/03/2015 10:18 am  #7


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Not to disagree per se with anything Barbara said, but it should be mentioned that Rain Lake is in a totally different part of the park from the Highway 60 corridor, and would be something like a 2.5 hour drive from the Coon Lake campground going out to Hunstville and then up Highway 11 to Kearney.

Barbara wrote:

I've never understood why people go to the Park when it's almost guaranteed to be a zoo. 

Well, if you prefer 3-day over 2-day camping trips and you work Monday-Friday, you have to compare the value of one vacation day (which, to me, is equal to one day of pay) to the value of it being a little less crowded. I say "a little" because all nice summer weekends are busy in Algonquin to some extent, and I've done long weekend canoe trips where it really didn't feel that crowded after a portage or two.

Barbara wrote:

Oh, and if you do end up at a campsite that is not occupied when you get there, be prepared to tell anyone looking for a site that you are just hanging around and will move off toot sweet so they can take the site.  That goes for both canoeing and backpacking sites. 

^I second that.
 

 

9/03/2015 10:30 am  #8


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Meh, I figured it someone could suggest the Opeongo water taxi, I may as well throw out Rain Lake.  Cheaper and a lot easier on your spine.

Long weekends, nice weather...very tough to find anything remotely resembling "secluded", no matter what part of the Park you are talking about.

We were stunned to arrive at the office on August 27th and be told that 15 of the 30 sites on the East Arm were already taken.

And equally stunned that the first question I was asked was if we had a reservation.

Place was a zoo.  Thankfully most of the traffic went away on Sunday.  But getting back to the landing on Tuesday morning to leave was a shocker....people, people, people everywhere.  I thought that "back to school" time was upon us and there wouldn't be that much activity.  Wrong.


Barbara


Take everything as it comes; the wave passes, deal with the next one.

Tom Thomson, 1877-1917
 

9/03/2015 11:07 am  #9


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Barbara wrote:

Meh, I figured it someone could suggest the Opeongo water taxi, I may as well throw out Rain Lake.  Cheaper and a lot easier on your spine.

Fair enough.

Barbara wrote:

We were stunned to arrive at the office on August 27th and be told that 15 of the 30 sites on the East Arm were already taken.

And equally stunned that the first question I was asked was if we had a reservation.

Place was a zoo.  Thankfully most of the traffic went away on Sunday.  But getting back to the landing on Tuesday morning to leave was a shocker....people, people, people everywhere.  I thought that "back to school" time was upon us and there wouldn't be that much activity.  Wrong.

Kind of speaks to my point about long weekends only being a little worse than other summer weekends (or even weekdays as you point out), no? Anyway I personally wouldn't find it surprising that a motorboat-friendly waterbody with portage-free access, a dockside outfitter, and water taxi service had people camping on it on an August day. And wouldn't they have to ask about reservations just to properly process your permit?

 

9/03/2015 11:29 am  #10


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Killing time here looking at maps... IIRC there is a small beach on the east side of LOTR south of the Madawaska river inflow and west of the Provoking port. It might be weedy or buggy, still, worth a look paddling over to Provoking since it's close to the port.

Last edited by frozentripper (9/03/2015 11:32 am)

 

9/03/2015 12:39 pm  #11


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Wouldn't that be the west side of LOTR, or I guess the southwest corner?

Actually speaking of LOTR, maybe that little peninsula on the north shore labelled on Jeff's map as McCormick's Pt would be a good easy option? As with frozentripper's suggestion just now you'd just launch a canoe from the LOTR day-use beach or campground beach and paddle a short ways. As I recall it's a nice big rocky point and I don't *think* it's part of a cottage lease or anything. And it's not a campsite either so you wouldn't have to worry about vacancy. Sure you'd be on a lake with cottagers, boaters and other frontcountry users but the point itself doesn't have any road access or get a lot of use that I'm aware of... I'm sure Rory or someone else can correct me if I'm wrong on any of that.

Last edited by DanPM (9/03/2015 12:45 pm)

 

9/03/2015 3:11 pm  #12


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Dan,

"Wouldn't that be the west side of LOTR, or I guess the southwest corner?"

Yep, the west side, SW corner... looking at maps and typing at the same time.

 

9/03/2015 4:04 pm  #13


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

cloud lake off rock lake road,,picnic spot,tough swimming,,deep water , great rocky spots at the end of the trail down to the lake,, flat open mix of pines. and hiding spots. although there is a  hiking trail  accross the lake.  
 the best of all for next year, north tea lake,, easy access, beaches are amazing,,
 

 

9/03/2015 4:10 pm  #14


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

swedish pimple wrote:

cloud lake off rock lake road,,picnic spot,tough swimming,,deep water , great rocky spots at the end of the trail down to the lake,, flat open mix of pines. and hiding spots. although there is a  hiking trail  accross the lake.  
 the best of all for next year, north tea lake,, easy access, beaches are amazing,,
 

I'm actually curious Swede, how do you get to the eastern shore of Cloud Lake from Rock Lake Road? I've hiked along the western shore on the Centennial Ridges trail, and that side isn't very swimmable, but looking across the lake the eastern shore looked like a nice place to hang out and exactly as you describe it. But I don't see a trail on any map connecting it to the road. If it is easy enough to get to then that could be a real nice and convenient option for the OP, close to their campground and everything.

 

9/03/2015 5:47 pm  #15


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

rock lake road access kinda hard to find. but there is a spot . look near the north end of fisher lake to pull over on east side of road i think there is a mile mark sign? near one lone birch tree. path way has a small eroded area that leads up the hill to cloud lake,, just scout that area and you can pick up the trail, off the road . could be some tagg tape,, it is a neat spot, lots of sun and stars. i hope this helps?
 another spot is speckle trout lake. easy walk off of the bike path(to the left) over the pine hill, trail to the right, old road for a while.  very small sandy spot and spring,,,

 

9/08/2015 5:16 pm  #16


Re: Best Secluded Beach for a Day Trip - Drive, Hike or Canoe

Thank you to all the wonderful members who replied to my post - I wanted to return the favour and share with you the secluded beach we did find just off the Booth Rock day hike trail.

And you are right, secluded is a relative term. We were just looking for a small beach where we would be the only ones on the beach so could enjoy some peace and quiet that we would not find at the campground beaches with the hords of families and kids. We got exactly what we wanted. At the beach we found, there were canoes that could been seen on the lake all day, but only one group stopped at this secluded little beach. They simply left their canoes on the beach for about an hour while they went to enjoy the hiking trail, so didn't interupt our serenity much at all.

How we found it: On the Saturday we did the Booth Rock trail starting at the official trail head and doing the loop clockwise as outlined in the trail guide. When we got to the foundations of the old boathouse on the Barclay Estate, we swam from there to a little rock island with one tree about a 20 min swim out. From there, when looking back at shore we could see one campsite well marked (#1 on Rock Lake as part of your PCI), but about 50 feet further east along the shore there was a nice little sandy beach that did not seem to be marked as a campsite. When we got back to shore, we bushwacked our way following the shoreline southeast trying to locate this beach. We went past campsite #1 which was occupied by friendly canoers who we chatted with, and then continued on further east until we intersected the Old Railway Line which took us right to the beach. You just walk down a very sandy embankment from the railway line to the beach. To get back to civilization, we simply followed the Old Railway Line (which at times just resembles a small footpath) back to the main Booth Rock trail (5 mins) and from there it took us 25 mins on the main trail to get back to the parking lot (this is the last section of the trail which follows the Old Railway Line and so allowed us to complete the full loop of the trail even with our side trip to the beach). On Sunday we returned to the Booth Rock trailhead armed with everything we would need to enjoy the day on our new found beach - it took us 30 mins of an easy flat walk to get from the parking lot to the beach.

The easiest way to get there:  From the parking lot at the Booth Rock trailhead take the trail the oposite way of what's intended - meaning enter the trail at the "exit" as though you are going to do the loop counter clockwise. This part of the trail follows the Old Railway Line and hugs the shore for the most part. After about 25 mins on the trail you will come to a "T-intersetion". There is a signpost here. If you go left (northeast) you will be continuing on the loop counter clockwise heading towards the lookout.  If you go right (west) you will be headed to the Barclay Estate. Instead you go pretty much straight on a little footpath that is actually continuing along the Old Railway Line. I think you need to turn right at the signpost as though you will be going (west) to the Barclay Estate, and then pretty much immediately you will see a footpath off to your left which is heading sounth. You follow this footpath for 5 mins until you reach a point where it is a really sandy slope down the lake on your right. Now you are at your own secluded little beach!

Another Options for a Not-Too-Busy Beach: There was also a much bigger beach that you can access right off the Booth Rock trail about 10 mins in if you are entering the trail at the "exit". Since you can see most of this beach from the trail, it was not secluded enough for us, but was definitely much less busy than the campground beaches - there was only one couple on it the times we walked past - so it's another option for those not wanting to walk as far as we did.

General Comments About Car Camping on the Long Weekend:
My BF and I had a great long weekend in Algonquin. Though it was busy, we did not find it too crowded or noisy. I think this is because we were staying at Coon Lake campground which is pretty small (# of sites),  non-electrical, on a very small lake and away from the Hwy 60 noise. There is really no privacy on these sites during the day, but as we were hiking, swimming and enjoying our secluded beach during the day, this did not bother us. At night, the darkness provides privacy while you are sitting around your fire and overall the campground was pretty quiet.

Last edited by lbaril (9/08/2015 5:19 pm)

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