This SUP paradise is located about 40 minutes north of Kingston Ontario, inside Frontenac Provincial Park, where you are surrounded by only nature and wilderness. There are 22 lakes within the park and if you are up for it you can complete a loop of several lakes in one day – or you can just spend your time exploring one.
The water is great for swimming on a hot summer day and you are more likely to see a bald eagle, deer, osprey, loons, and beavers than you are other people. It feels like you are on your own private lake(s). Another great attribute is that there are no motorized boats allowed on the lakes within the provincial park.
Our favourite paddle route below is a loop of 3-5 lakes in a day.
Keep your eyes open for the ospreys, beaver and deer while exploring all the nooks and crannies. Big Clear Lake is exactly what it sounds like, the water is crystal clear, and the reflections are absolutely amazing!
- .Start off in Big Salmon Lake and head towards Lake Labelle which is about 5km of paddling and a 491m portage.
- .Big Salmon is the starting point for all of the backcountry camping. If you are not up for portaging, you can easily spend a whole day on this lake.
- .From Lake Labelle head towards Big Clear Lake. The most direct paddle route is around 800m. You will most likely be by yourself on this lake except for a few a loons that will curiously follow you around.
- .The Portage to Big Clear Lake is 190m however there is a steep hill you will have to climb...But it is worth it! This is the only lake that is not entirely part of the provincial park so there are a few cottages along the shore and motorized boats.
- .From Big Clear Lake you paddle along the coastline approximately 4km until you arrive at the next portage (670m) to Black Lake. If you are only interested in seeing Big Clear Lake you can turn back and head towards Big Salmon Lake via Labelle.
- .Black Lake is the smallest lake you will be on. Keep an eye out for the deer. About a 600m paddle straight across to the next portage (503m) which will take you to Little Clear Lake. Little Clear Lake is great to explore depending on how much time you have. You may even see a bald eagle if you are lucky! If you want a more direct route it is a short 400m paddle to the next portage which is the longest of the day (923m). This portage will take you back to Big Salmon Lake.
- .In total it will be about 15-20km of paddling and 3km of portaging. A great way to explore your world.
First you need to pay for parking at the Provincial Park office and make sure you have the ticket displayed on your dash! After that you will drive 3km down a gravel road and there is a marked parking lot on your left-hand side prior to the boat launch.
There are two launch spots depending on which lakes you want to try. The first launch spot is located next to the main office which will put you onto South Otter Lake.
The second launch spot is at the end of a gravel road headed away from the main office. Follow signs for the boat launch, you will pass a parking lot on your left (about 3km down the gravel road) continue past the parking lot until you end up at the lakes edge where you will see a dock and some benches. This is Big Salmon Lake.
When you are finished unloading head back to the parking lot that you passed on your way in. This is where you will leave your car for the day and there is a short trail through the forest that will take you back to the water.
Things to know
- No permits needed for the waterways; you just need to pay for parking.
- The 5-lake trip is a full day trip. Make sure the day you plan to do this route the weather will be good. There is no cell service once you are at the boat launch so be sure to tell someone where you are going if paddling alone.
- There are no food/drink options at the provincial park. You will need to bring all of your food and drinks for the day so pack your kit in a deck bag or something similar