Lake Temagami – Cross Lake Loop [video]

Temagami is a special place. You don’t have to drive very far north of North Bay to start seeing stands of old-growth white pine along the highway. I remember the first time I drove to Temagami and how I was in complete awe of the stance the trees have over the landscape. It isn’t one tree here or there standing tall above the rest of the canopy, but many.

It was a very last minute decision to head up to Temagami for a weekend canoe trip, so we had very little time to pick out routes on a map. Launching from Access Point 8 on Jeff’s Map on Lake Temagami Access Road (just north of Marten River and south of the town of Temagami) and doing a loop down through Cross Lake seemed like an easy enough route for a quick getaway.

It only took us a few short hours to arrive there and on the way we spotted 2 moose on the side of Highway 11. Those wildlife fences definitely work, because they weren’t able to cross the highway.

Moose kept safe from wildlife fencing along Highway 11.

We launched in late morning and paddled south from the public boat launch into Lake Temagami heading toward Cross Bay. Glad we were paddling south because we had a great tailwind. On Cross bay and into Portage Bay we paddled by 2 areas of pictographs. We met up with a girl’s camp at the 40m portage and were back onto the water to paddle down the South Arm of Lake Temagami into Outlet Bay. From the portage to Outlet Bay we were surfing large rollers and looking behind me, all I could see were lines of whitecaps.

Our route as shown on Jeff’s Map.

It was windy and took all we had to paddle up Cross Lake to a campsite just after Outlet Bay. It was very humid, so we had a quick dip in the water when we arrived. And just a note to say that we both decided to wear our PFDs when we were swimming. At first the idea seemed kind of silly, but there have been so many tragic drownings this year and even though we could touch bottom, the water was really rough and we didn’t want to take any chances. Always best to play it safe.

We had a large snapping turtle hanging out on our site.

I really love snapping turtles. Might be too late in the season, but this one was digging a hole maybe to lay eggs.

We spent most of the afternoon relaxing, filming, doing camp chores and watching an awesome sunset that went from golden to pink!

We love our Badger paddles!
A Temagami sunset.

We broke camp early the next morning because we were paddling up Cross Lake, and if it was going to be anything like the day before, we’d have our work cut out for us paddling against a headwind.

Our Bell Northwind canoe, Singing Wilderness, glowing in the beautiful sunlight.
Packs, check. Banjo, check. All ready for a canoe trip!

To our surprise, the water stayed calm all morning as we paddled up the lake. Temagami is stunning. Look at the tree lines!

View from my canoe.
Another view from my canoe.
And another view from my canoe.
The water is so clear up here!

Our 750m portage from Cross Lake into Cross Bay Lake was pretty much swamp the whole way. And it felt a lot longer than 750m. I spent more of my time bushwhacking to get around the swamps than actually following the portage trail. I also lost one of our fishing poles along the trail, so I had to go back to try and retrace my steps. With a positive attitude I found it!

After paddling around Cross Lake Bay for a while, we finally found a way to the next portage!

Next we had a 295m portage from Cross Bay Lake into Cross Bay, but it took us forever to try and figure out how to paddle to the portage! The west end of this little lake was all logs, stumps and mounds. We tried 3 different routes only to get stuck and have to try and paddle backward out with our canoe just scraping the bottom of the “lake” the whole time. With some intricate maneuvering, we managed to paddle over and around log jams, stumps and mounds to the portage. Did I say our canoe was scraping bottom the whole time? I’d hate to see the state of this “lake” in a dry season!

Back out on Cross Bay we took a campsite and relaxed for the rest of the day!

View from my hammock.

More clear water.

Not much to report on our afternoon except that we swam, fished from shore (wind kicked up, what a surprise), napped, hammocked, and had a few sips from the wineskin.

A little weather system rolled in during the evening with some rain. But another beautiful sunset!

The wind howled all night and I didn’t get much sleep worrying about the paddle back to Access Point 8. We broke camp at the crack of dawn as the waves crashed onto shore. It was dicey in some areas, like coming through the narrows of Cross Bay into Lake Temagami and paddling against a headwind and waves ricocheting off the shoreline. We paddled hard to get behind some islands east of us that broke the wind. That got us halfway across the open lake. When we reached the public boat launch at 7am, my arm muscles were burning.

Happy to see this sign after paddling against a harsh headwind at 5am!

All worth it though, because we had an amazing weekend! I love Temagami and there’s SO MUCH to explore up there!

Here’s a video I made of our trip. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all visual and written content on this website is owned by me under legal copyright and may not be reproduced without my explicit written consent.


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