Nym Lake Maligne River Loop

Quetico canoe trip Nyl lake loop

Our Nym Lake Maligne River Loop started from Nym to Quetico and Namakan Rivers confluence it is all downstream but against prevailing winds. From Quetico River back to Nym Lake it is upstream with a tail wind.That is the general wind rule, which was broken by Mother nature more often than adhered to.

We used Canada Mines and Resources topo maps “52B/11” (Pickerel Lake) from about 1986 at 1:50,000 scale. We enlarged each sheet by 100% getting a 1:25,000 scale with detail from the 1:50,000 map. We used Fisher maps from 1953 for campsite locations and portage lengths. Fisher maps are old and some campsites no longer exist while some are located in different areas. Not totally reliable, to say the least.

Quetico parks allows only a certain number of groups per day. We found that they had no info on campsite size so we had to keep our fingers crossed when we got to a site that it would be big enough. Some were not, others were fine. Four campsites in particular were great. One is the next bay over from Beaverhouse Lake ranger station on a sandy beach. Another is in a stand of towering pines about half way up the north shore of Kasakogwog Lake. The last two were on the Maligne river just below he third set of rapids and Twin Falls.These campsites gave us loads of fun. We let the pounding water relieve sore muscles and also rode the current downstream. What fun!!

Some island sites were also very nice but tricky to unload the canoes. The trip up the Quetico River was a nightmare, from the perspective of the portage trails. All of these portages had tree falls that had not been cleared making it both more difficult and dangerous.Two members of our party banged their heads on fallen trees that were horizontal above the trail as they walked under the load of heavy packs, head down. The ranger at Beaverhouse Ranger station told us that this portion of the park was “very remote” and low on their priority list of maintenance (compared to the more popular areas). Indeed, it was more like hacking through a jungle than anything else.

We were fortunate to have a gentle tailwind behind us on Sturgeon Lake. We were very concerned about wind on Lac La Croix so crossed it at 6:00 am. Nonetheless there were some headwinds and chop.

There is a restaurent at the village of Lac La Croix and the food is fine. Note this is on an Indian reservation and no camping is allowed anywhere except in case of emergencies.

The canoeist embarking on this or any other trip in Quetico will be treated to a wide variety of wildlife sightings. We saw moose, bald eagles, otters, turtles etc etc. Fishing was great and the bass tasty. Sure beats freeze dried food.

Distance: 180 km
Duration: 12 days
Loop Trip: Yes
No. of portages: 19
Total Portage Distance: 7045 m
Longest Portage: 1305 m

Start at Nym Lake, P 840 m to Batchewaung Lake (Do not use the 2 shorter and steeper portages into and out of Jump Lake)
Batchewaung Lake/Little Batchewaung Bay/Pickerel Narrows, P 120 m to Pine Portage Bay, Pine Portage Bay,P 540 m to Dore Lake
Dore Lake,P 690 m to Twin Lakes (Deux Rivieres Portage)
Twin Lakes, Deux Rivieres (Low water/leach infested mud bog in late season)
Sturgeon Lake,Sturgeon Narrows, Sturgoen Lake, Maligne River P 260 m (rapids)
Maligne river P 320 m (rapids)
Maligne River Fast water section (Runnable??)
Maligne River P 210 m (rapids)
Maligne River 2 fast water sections (Runnable??)
Tanner Lake P 20 m
Maligne River R 100m (Twin Falls), Wegwagum Bay
Lac La Croix
Namakan River P 240 M (Snake Falls)
Namakan River (Ivy Channel) P 125 m (Ivy Falls), Fast water below falls (runnable??)Three mile Lake Fast water section (runnable ??)

Quetico River P 300 m River
Fast water (upstream- can line or paddle) River P 300m
River Fast water (runnable upstream) P 320 m
Beaverhouse Lake P 120 M
Quetico Lake
McAlpine Creek P 380 m
Kasakokwog Lake
McAlpine Creek P 20 m
Low water carry
McAlpine Lake P 1,305 M (McAlpine Portage)
Batchewaung Bay
Little Batchewaung Bay
Batchewaung Lake P 840 M
Nym Lake

Article by Larry Stein

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