BWCA Drive Up Access Boundary Waters Group Forum: Wabakimi
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jcavenagh
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10/28/2016 10:15AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Here are a few options for drive up access to Wabakimi.
These entry points are on Crown Land with a short paddle to actually get within park boundaries.
But the point for this thread is that one can drive to the access point.
Please supplement this with your own info.
More paddlers' info will make this a more reliable list.

WEST SIDE
I have entered at Smye Lake the last 2 years.
The entry point is one you can drive into on the 702 Rd.
Look for the rock cairn, next to the 4-wheel drive track on right hand side of road after Km43. Take the second 4 wheel track, not the first one you come to.
The entry point is at 50.378954, -90.370296.
There is a nice parking area about 500 meters from the put in.
Once in the park there are many routes available.

A guy named Ken explored a possible entry near 50.378954, -90.370296.
He drove up a logging road north of Smye Lake. On maps the road is sometimes called Wabakimi Rd. where it splits from the 702 rd.
Then he turned right off the Wabakimi Rd at 50.623090, -90.102325.
I guess you just park at the end of the road.
That entry would get you into a small lake just west of Tew.
Video of the trail is here: Ken's Tew Lake area entry video

There is also a possible entry near the south end of Heathcote Lake.
It looks like one could drive past the old airstrip on the 702 Rd. and then about 7.5 miles to the small lake just east of Wellington Lake and just southwest of Heathcote and paddle in from there.
It appears that you can paddle about 2 miles across that lake and there is about 2 miles of stream and then you are in Heathcote.
At 50.183037, -90.504240 it looks like there may be a parking area and entry point.

SOUTH SIDE
Another entry point I have heard about is to come up from the south via BrightSands PP.
Turn north at Km 388.0 on ON 17 right at Firesteel River, the Graham Rd.
Take the Grahman road all the way to Harmon Lake.
There is an entry point at Harmon Lake boat launch at 49.973826, -90.116937.
This route gets you into the Allenwater River.
I know there is a parking area for this entry. More detail below.

SOUTHEAST SIDE
I know that Wabakimi Project folks have opened another entry on the southeast.
I am not sure where you park the car for that one, but it seems to be very close Rte 527.
Wab Proj folks, please fill in here.
EDIT: The intersection of 527 and the dead southward road on east side of 527 is at
50.135133, -89.118882. The access point is on Vale Creek and Nameiben a little south of the identified intersection. The takeout is at an old bridge site over Nameiben River just east of 527 (old bridge no longer there, but the grade and rock cribs are obvious). See more on this below.

Thanks.

Some of these spots may require FN permission or a shuttle, especially the southeast entry point(s).
 
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10/28/2016 10:34AM  
The second entry north of Smey that Ken referenced is at 50.483276, -90.249081 according to the Canadian Topo map at mappingsupport. Ken and I discussed this entry and his intel was that you can turn right onto that bumpy, obscured logging road for about a 1/4 mile or so and then park. However, there is thick undegrowth and matchstick blowdowns which would make an entry onto Valley Lake fairly difficult to obtain without an axe, saw and perhaps a chainsaw.

Just my two cents.
 
jcavenagh
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10/28/2016 10:58AM  
Thanks. The more folks who chime in the better our info will be.
 
10/28/2016 08:18PM  
Southeast entry - last June the WP opened a route which would be accessed off the railroad going south through Mountain and Vail Lakes and ending just east of Hwy 527 where Vail Creek passes under the highway. There is a road on the east side of 527 heading south to an area which could serve as a takeout. This is a very nice route with good lake trout fishing in June and provided me with my first caribou sighting in 10 years/17 weeks of Wabakimi area trips. My preferred route would be off the railroad heading southeast. I would probably arrange to leave my vehicle with Mattice Lake Outfitters and have them pick me up at 527. They are located 5-6 km to the north.
 
jcavenagh
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10/29/2016 09:15AM  
Thanks, deerfoot.
It looks like the intersection of 527 and the road you mention is at 50.219873, -89.121397.
And on Google Maps the takeout would be right near 50.215857, -89.128345.
Is that corect?
 
10/29/2016 08:22PM  
quote jcavenagh: "Thanks, deerfoot.
It looks like the intersection of 527 and the road you mention is at 50.219873, -89.121397.
And on Google Maps the takeout would be right near 50.215857, -89.128345.
Is that corect?"


Should be. Access road to the water is easy to find and appears to be well used. It is north of where the road crosses the creek and runs straight (arrow straight) south on the east side of 527 to the water. Ownership of this property is unknown but the Elliot's (Don, Annette or Austin) of Mattice Lake Outfitters would probably know.
 
jcavenagh
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10/29/2016 11:13PM  
Deerfoot - Is this access point shown in the latest Wabakimi Maps book, Vol. 4?
Anyone reading this should be aware those maps are the most comprehensive canoe route maps for the whole Wabakimi area.
 
jcavenagh
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10/29/2016 11:24PM  
I think I see it now.
The intersection of 527 and the dead southward road on east side of 527 is at
50.135133, -89.118882.
 
FOG51
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10/30/2016 05:20AM  
I've driven the Graham Road countless times since the early 80s. From where the Kashishibog River dumps into the BrightSands River [commonly called the BrightSands bridge] to where you turn off on to the short road to the portage into the north end of Harmon Lake it is exactly 15 miles on my odometer on my truck. The portage into Harmon is about a short 1/2 mile long generally downhill with a rock garden to start out on. The last time I was there, there were 2-3 trucks with canoe racks on them parked at the top of the hill that leads to the lake. Paddle 5-6 miles across the top of Harmon, make a short portage and your into Wapikaimaski, paddle your way to the NW, shoot a small rapids, keep going N and you can get to the Allan Water station/ Bridge. You enter on Crown land and the go into Wabikimi but I don't know where you would need Wabikimi permits. At my age I don't have the desire to go into Wabikimi and enjoy the solitude I can get from the BightSands Provential park. I have some of the GPS cords, if anyone wants them let me know and I can post them. Hopefully next year I'm going back to Wapi for a week. It's 75 miles from the Queens highway #17 to the short rode to the Harmon portage. That 75 miles is generally washboard, some pot holes, some standing water, an occasional fallen tree across the road, some logging trucks, and will generally shake the fillings out of your teeth. We usually figure 3 hours to get that 75 miles. FRED
 
10/30/2016 11:24AM  
quote jcavenagh: "Deerfoot - Is this access point shown in the latest Wabakimi Maps book, Vol. 4?
Anyone reading this should be aware those maps are the most comprehensive canoe route maps for the whole Wabakimi area."

I don't think this route is published, yet, but I know the Project scouted and cleared the old canoe route from Rocky Island Lake (accessible by Trail Lake Rd) down through Tunnel, Mountain, Vale Creek, Vale and Nameiben to the takeout at an old bridge site over Nameiben River just east of 527 (old bridge no longer there, but the grade and rock cribs are obvious). This is a nice route that would probably best be done by getting a shuttle to the put in and a pickup at the campsite by the takeout. Gravel road to the takeout is in good condition; I think locals use it for fishing for brookies (=speckles) in the Nameiben River. There is also a road that runs west off 527 along the north side of Nameiben, with access to a small landing on the lake via a side road; that road is drivable, also. I was in on the route work from Mountain Lake down to the takeout at 527. Some pretty country, there, and we have some nice campsites mapped. I don't have the GPS specs, though; those would be with Barry ("wabakimiMaps") and Uncle Phil.
 
10/30/2016 11:39AM  
quote jcavenagh: "I think I see it now.
The intersection of 527 and the dead southward road on east side of 527 is at
50.135133, -89.118882."


Yes, you have it. We were there in June and marked the river crossing as: 50.13155, 89-124355. The access road off the southwestward bend in 527 is very distinct on Google Earth heading due south at a bend in 527.

This route info will be in Vol 5, for which the fieldwork is continuing. Publication of Vol 5 maybe a few years off.
 
jcavenagh
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09/01/2017 02:02PM  
Northwest Area of the Park.
Where Hwy 599 crosses Pashkokagon Lake at 50.966644, -90.406494.
Put-in is near the cell tower next to 599 where the river crosses at Pashkokogan.
Then paddle into the park through Pashkakogan Lake, then Shoe Lake and then Takeoff Lake.
Contact North Albany Lodge, they do allow parking at their place and will provide the necessary permits.
 
FOG51
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10/13/2017 02:31AM  
I have heard the rumor that the bridge where Sparkling Lake joins the BrightSands River will be removed in the near future. I know from first hand looking at the bridge it is in need of repair. The top layer of planks is really busted up, when I crossed it Sept 15 I got out my full sized axe I always carry in the truck and pounded down several large spikes that were sticking up abouit 1 inch. If they do remove the bridge you can still get into Wabikimi via Harmon lake from the BrightSands River but it will add at least another 1.5 days to your trip each way. FRED
 
jcavenagh
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10/13/2017 09:43AM  
Thanks, Fred.
Would that bridge be located right near 49.973826, -90.116937?
You know I am all about coordinates! :)
 
10/13/2017 07:57PM  
quote FOG51: "I have heard the rumor that the bridge where Sparkling Lake joins the BrightSands River will be removed in the near future. I know from first hand looking at the bridge it is in need of repair. The top layer of planks is really busted up, when I crossed it Sept 15 I got out my full sized axe I always carry in the truck and pounded down several large spikes that were sticking up abouit 1 inch. If they do remove the bridge you can still get into Wabikimi via Harmon lake from the BrightSands River but it will add at least another 1.5 days to your trip each way. FRED"

We were told the same thing regarding the removal of the bridge. If and when it is removed a reroute of the portage will be necessary. My partner and I crossed it on our way to Lake Nipigon via the Kopka Rv in July.

 
jcavenagh
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11/09/2017 03:20PM  
Another west side access point:
On the 702 Road, just east of Harris Lake.
It looks like a spot to pull in and park at 50.262424, -90.610371.
Then paddle east through Neston Lake, Devizes Lake and into the middle of Heathcote.
 
jcavenagh
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04/25/2018 12:31PM  
WEST SIDE- Sassenach Lake
Take 702 Rd to KM marker 59 (50.470337, -90.261266)
Turn right onto heavily overgrown track.
1.7 km in on that road is the put in point: 50.470851, -90.236903
The 1.7 km road is 4WD only and is very rough.

Per ONT MNR:
Access Point 4 (Sassenach Lk): on 702 ROAD KM MARKER 59 (Turn exactly at Marker)
WPT 040 UTM:0694362 5594499
- Could potentially access with care 4WD truck or walk last 50m over boulder field.
- Launch is 1.7km from 702 road
- Launch WPT 041 UTM: 0696068 5594632
 
04/25/2018 07:02PM  
jcavenagh: "WEST SIDE- Sassenach Lake
Take 702 Rd to KM marker 59 (50.470337, -90.261266)
Turn right onto heavily overgrown track.
1.7 km in on that road is the put in point: 50.470851, -90.236903
The 1.7 km road is 4WD only and is very rough.


Per ONT MNR:
Access Point 4 (Sassenach Lk): on 702 ROAD KM MARKER 59 (Turn exactly at Marker)
WPT 040 UTM:0694362 5594499
- Could potentially access with care 4WD truck or walk last 50m over boulder field.
- Launch is 1.7km from 702 road
- Launch WPT 041 UTM: 0696068 5594632"


That's incredible. Thanks James! I just mapped that on the mapping support. I think from the google satellite image that I'm looking at, that there would have been no way that I could have accurately identified that as the entry point.

It also sounds considerably more rugged than anticipated. I've got a chainsaw :). I might need to through a pick and shovel too!
 
04/25/2018 07:11PM  
My favorite quote of that access point "...likely will damage your vehicle...."
 
jcavenagh
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04/26/2018 10:00AM  
I think MNR is being overly careful with their description. (But good on them for making clear that this is rough terrain and requires it be taken with care.) For example, they indicated that the 702 road is 4WD. That is not the case. I have driven my Prius over that road. While I did keep my speed down around 20-25MPH I had no real issue with obstacles.

I think, from the photos and text, that only the last 50m or so is really treacherous for a vehicle. It appears that at least the beginning of the track is driveable. Maybe the brush has grown in and will scrape the paint, but yes, a saw will handle that. MNR said there are a few spots along that track where a vehicle can pull over and park. But an actual gravel parking area exists about 50m from the water.
 
04/26/2018 11:15AM  
I agree. It does look more accessible even with those somewhat data photos than I orginally thought. I'd hate to drive all the way up there and not be able to find the put-in or have to spend a day cutting my way in. It looks as though that those obstacles don't exist. As you state above, a bit of brush clearing on the way in may take care of it. I've got a CRV with enough clearance to get in to that last parking area (in case you guys need a ride :)
 
goatroti
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04/26/2018 06:07PM  
FYI from Phil Cotton...


Quote:
On https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/backcountry/ I chose Wabakimi as my park and then saw 4 entry points on the map. The entry point labels have little cars associated with them. The map legend says that indicates drive in access.


Shannon Lawr, Superintendent of Wabakimi Provincial Park, has advised me that the access roads indicated on the map you mentioned were established by Ontario Parks to record from which Crown land area visitors who were making interior (backcountry) overnight bookings were planning to access the park and NOT to indicate the existence, number and/or condition of access points with maintained vehicle parking facilities. Shannon also expressed his hope that this map and its legend will be improved by Ontario Parks in the future.
 
jcavenagh
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04/27/2018 11:52AM  
goat - I understand the MNR statement.

I will point out for anyone reading here for info that at Smye lake there is a well maintained gravel parking area large enough for several vehicles.
The track from 702 to the gravel parking area should be taken very cautiously.
That entry point seems to get regular use.
In both 2015 and 2016 there were fresh 4wheeler tracks from the parking to the water.
I speculate that local folks put motorized fishing boats in there frequently.

That doesn't mean the MNR will continue to maintain any particular place or that Sassenach is maintained at all.
 
jcavenagh
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04/27/2018 04:06PM  
I encourage folks to try these drive up access points.
If you don't have the $$ for an outfitter shuttle or fly-in/train options then these access points can make a trip much less expensive.
And the access points described here are all pretty much just 3-6 hours further than the BW/Q from places like Toronto, TC, Chicago.
What I love about Wabakimi is that it is much more reminiscent of the conditions experienced in the BW/Q during the 1960s-70s.
 
Wabawho
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06/12/2018 10:55AM  
Just got back from my Wabakimi solo trip. I used North Albany Lodge south of Pickle lake - entry via Pashkokogan lake.
Of note: 1) You can park your car at North Albany Lodge while out (parking, permit and post trip shower is $12 per day U.S. currency.
2) That portage indicated on Topo map across the road into the southern portion of Pashkokogan is not passable which means you have to paddle the lake (as a solo tripper it took me 5 hours to paddle to the first portage into East Pashkokogan on a day with moderate wind) - so for those looking for solitude from motors you most likely won't get it until the second day of your trip. After that however, I did not see another human for 11 days.
- Hope to may be put up a trip report and some photos in 2-3 weeks
 
jcavenagh
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06/12/2018 03:15PM  
Great info! I can't wait to see your trip report!
 
Majikat
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06/20/2018 08:44PM  
Hello Wabawho

Could you please clarify which portage is impassable. I hope you are not referring to the portage that begins off a sideroad that goes to a tower. (I've heard it called the Tower Road) This road is about 1.5 miles south of North Albany Lodge.
We used this portage in 2011 when we took a 2 week trip into St. Raphael Park (on the west side of Hwy 599).
I was planning another trip there this August, ending at the Tower Road.

Thanks.....Pete
 
Aslowhand
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06/25/2018 09:12AM  
Majikat: "Hello Wabawho


Could you please clarify which portage is impassable. I hope you are not referring to the portage that begins off a sideroad that goes to a tower. (I've heard it called the Tower Road) This road is about 1.5 miles south of North Albany Lodge.
We used this portage in 2011 when we took a 2 week trip into St. Raphael Park (on the west side of Hwy 599).
I was planning another trip there this August, ending at the Tower Road.


Thanks.....Pete"


Hello Majikat

Slightly OT but hope it helps:
We used the 'Tower Road Portage' at the end of a trip in July 2014. After a week with severe storms it had blowdown on the lower section (lakeside of the portage) that made us drag the canoes over/trough fallen poplar trees. We used saw and axe to cut branches off the fallen trees but didn't really clear that portage. A chainsaw would have been very handy. The steep part (on the road side) was okay. The day before we met two canoe travelers. They called it a 'horrible portage'.

André

 
Majikat
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06/25/2018 06:48PM  
Thanks Andre, for the detailed info on the "Tower Road Portage". Good info to have for sure. That was 4 years ago, maybe it's even worse now.

Pete
 
user0317
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08/17/2018 12:36PM  
Has anyone accessed the park via the Ogoki rd from the east side of the park?
 
jcavenagh
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08/24/2018 02:50PM  
user0317 - are you talking about where the road crosses the Ogoki River at 50.768037, -87.869204?
There has been some discussion in another thread about entering through the Ogoki Resevoir. This route requires that you portage around the dam just to the west of the entry point.
It has been done. (not by me)
 
user0317
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08/24/2018 04:02PM  
jcavenagh: "user0317 - are you talking about where the road crosses the Ogoki River at 50.768037, -87.869204?
There has been some discussion in another thread about entering through the Ogoki Resevoir. This route requires that you portage around the dam just to the west of the entry point.
It has been done. (not by me)"


Thanks for the reply. I've traveled around the other dam off Mojikit lake, and traveled down the Little Jackfish river towards the road to the south. Beautiful country and seldom traveled. The fishing was unreal.

The dam off Mojikit is bizarre, as there is no road access to it. It is literally in the middle of nowhere. They must use a helicopter to raise and lower it.
 
joewildlife
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09/25/2018 10:26PM  
Having never been to Wabakimi, I'm posting just to get to get this thread saved in my notifications. Been to Quetico multiple times and have a second trip planned to WCPP, Wabakimi next. I like the idea of a 14 day trip with good fishing and no outposts.
I got a lot of learnin' to do.
But one question...you leave your vehicles at these remote spots with little or no concerns about vandalism/break ins? I'm not opposed to pay for shuttle service, if just for peace of mind.
Joe
 
09/26/2018 09:47AM  
I've never had a problem with parking at the wooded turnouts above Savant Lake. That said, I try to never leave anything visible in the car and/or I cover anything with a throw rug or tarp as needed. Very few folks actually frequent some of the areas that I've been in on the west side. If you come up from the south of the park to do parts of the Kopka, my impression is that it's even more remote and sees fewer visitors. Others can provide more information on their experiences with parking near Armstrong and other EPs. It is worth the adventure though!
 
jcavenagh
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09/26/2018 11:23AM  
The parking spots are pretty remote.
I would bet that no one ever saw my vehicle while it was parked by Smye Lake because no one came within 5 miles of there.
The greater danger is a bear damaging the vehicle if it has any food-like smells inside.
 
lars54
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09/26/2018 05:54PM  
I parked my car at Smye lake this fall for a 3 week solo trip and had no problems.
On a side note, Jim your table was missing from the Flindt lake site, I found it about
a half mile south on a very nice 4 star campsite. On my way back I returned it to
it's proper home.
 
jcavenagh
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09/27/2018 08:38AM  
I tromped all over that other site a couple years ago.
But, I found no good hammock hanging spot so I went back north.
That site did have a lot of blueberries, though.
lars - are you planning to post vids & pics?
I am living vicariously off you guys these days as I am city-bound for the foreseeable future.
 
joewildlife
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09/27/2018 09:07AM  
Great information, and thank you guys for sharing!

I went to WCPP for the first time last June and got a truck shuttle in and a boat shuttle out. I'm told that human theft/vandalism on vehicles is not a problem, but bears have torn up a few vehicles. One vehicle was brand new and had no food odors, seems the bears like the new car smell!
Joe
 
OregonDave
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09/06/2019 05:28PM  
deerfoot: "Southeast entry - last June (2016) the WP opened a route which would be accessed off the railroad going south through Mountain and Vail Lakes and ending just east of Hwy 527 where Vail Creek passes under the highway. ..."

Just did this route, or most of of it. Will post my trip report, also in the FOW Newsletter this fall.
 
09/10/2019 08:36PM  
Nice route and great trip report. Looking forward to doing it again.
 
09/11/2019 10:20AM  
Minor note: Vale Creek and Wabinosh River both flow into Nameiben Lake. Outflow from that lake (which goes under 527 via a culvert and continues to Waweig Lake) is usually called Wabinosh River. We checked out the culvert in 2016 and ran it; going the other way: probably have to land and carry up and over the road.
 
wyopaddler
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07/20/2021 03:05PM  
Hello Wabakimi Paddlers,

I'm considering a Wabakimi trip this coming August. Has anyone used the Vista Road access point? Do you know anyone who does car shuttles? I'm driving but also pulling a canoe trailer so I'm hesitant to park it there for three weeks. Advice?

Also open to route advice too if anyone is willing :)

Thanks, MG
 
07/21/2021 09:29AM  
I know Clem Quenville does shuttles out of Armstrong, but not sure who, if anyone, handles shuttles on the west side. Some possible resources here: Wabakimi outfitters etc
 
dschult2
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07/21/2021 02:19PM  
Get ahold of Rusty Myers or the Four Winds Motel in the link posted above. They will be your best bet for a shuttle.
 
wyopaddler
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07/21/2021 05:13PM  
Thanks for the "Pro Tips. "

 
07/21/2021 05:28PM  
wyopaddler: "Thanks for the "Pro Tips. ""

Update us on what you learn & decide to do!
 
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