Temagami has long been known for its 2,400 km of interconnected canoe routes. Sparkling lakes, tall pines, rocky ridges and great campsites have made Ontario’s high ground the third most popular canoeing destination in the world. The current day canoe routes are based on the original trail and portage system built by the native peoples whose history can be traced back more than 5,000 years. Native pictographs and petroglyphs are area features.
You can step out of your canoe and into an old growth forest hike. Climb a trail to a lookout and then climb an old fire tower for an even more distant viewscape.
Camp beneath, or above, cascading waterfalls or on a quiet lake where the loons gather. Expect to see moose, bear, eagles, osprey, beavers, otters and a variety of other wildlife. Local fish species include pike, bass, walleye and trout.
The 10,000 sq. km Temagami District contains several Provincial Parks, Conservation Reserves and open Crown Land. Permits are required when camping within one of the parks but interior campsites cannot be reserved. Local Outfitters offer canoeing and backpacking equipment rentals, complete outfitting packages, shuttles to access points, accommodations, maps, guide books, fishing licenses and park permits. Lake Temagami is home to several youth camps offering canoe out-tripping programs.
During the last decade Temagami has seen the development of the 134 km Ottawa-Temiskaming Highland Trail (OTHT). This remarkable trail, which follows the shoreline of the Ottawa River and Lake Temiskaming before heading northwest over high ground to Hwy #11, is quickly making Temagami a destination for backpackers. The average walking distance between access points is about 20 km. There is fly-in service to accessible points along the Ottawa/Temiskaming shoreline.
The OTHT features majestic lookouts, big trees, sandy beaches, log cabin ruins, wetlands, abundant wildlife and frequent excellent campsites. You can day trip or do an overnight from any access point, hike between access points or go end-to-end. All campsites have good water sources and much time has been spent leveling tent sites and building proper rock-ring fire pits. The trail is well signed and marked with white painted blazes on the main trail and blue blazes for side trails. The surface is rugged (unimproved) with many steep grades and some side-hill walking so you’ll need to be in shape and/or go slowly. Creeks and streams must be forded. The only bridge crossing is at the Matabitchuan River. Volunteers are maintaining the trail but you should always expect a few blowdowns. The end-to-end journey takes 8-10 days. There are also several smaller hiking trails, including Temagami’s White Bear Forest, which make for excellent day trips.
Article by Les Wilcox