If you’re hoping to plan some epic canoeing adventures for next summer, make sure the Powell Forest Canoe Route is on your list.
The best time to experience this canoe trip is June through October. This is a 57-kilometre semi-circle, encompassing eight lakes and five portages. Completing the whole route takes about five days, but you can extend or shorten this trip to suit your needs. All of the major lakes within this route can be accessed by logging roads, so you can get on and off the route to complete it in sections. There are also side trips available for the more adventurous paddlers, and you could extend your trip from 57 kilometres up to 150 kilometres.
Take the route counter-clockwise, since the portages are mostly downhill when going this way. Here is the Powell Forest Canoe Route, broken down into sections: Lois to Horseshoe, 8.5 kilometres with a 1.7-kilometre portage; Lois to Khartoum, 14 kilometres; Horseshoe to Nanton, 6.5 kilometres; Nanton to Ireland has a 2.4-kilometre portage; paddle across Ireland Lake for about one kilometre; Ireland to Dodd has a 0.8-kilometre portage; Little Horseshoe to Beaver is about one kilometre of paddling and two kilometres of portage; paddle across Dodd Lake for about seven kilometres; Dodd to Windsor has a 0.7-kilometre portage; paddle across Windsor Lake for about 2.3 kilometres; Windsor to Goat has a 2.4-kilometre portage; paddling from Goat to Eldred is about 5.5 kilometres; paddle across Powell Lake for 28.5 kilometres; Poweel to Inland has a 0.7-kilometre portage; and then across Inland Lake for 5.5 kilometres.
Paddling from Lois Lake to Khartoum Lake is a side trip. Horseshoe Lake to Nanton, Ireland and Dodd Lakes is one route to take, or you can take Horseshoe to Little Horseshoe Lake, Beaver Lake and on to Dodd Lake.
Examples of shortened routes include Windsor Lake to Lois Lake, about three days of canoeing; start anywhere along Goat Lake Main and take the usual route to Inland Lake; or start at the beginning and canoe to Khartoum Lake, about two days’ worth of canoeing.
Conditions along this canoe route are generally mild, paddling on flat water with clear portage paths and frequent rest areas. But you should always be aware of incoming weather conditions, just in case. Powell Lake can get rough in the afternoons. Be sure to bring your cell phone, since they do work for most of the route.
Along the entire Powell Forest Canoe Route there are 20 campsites available, as well as several B&Bs if you get tired of roughing it.
To start your adventure, take the ferry to Saltery Bay and drive north for about 10 kilometres. You’ll see an entrance sign on the right-hand side of the road, across the highway from Loubert Road. After turning right, drive up the hill and about five kilometres in to access the start of the route at Lois Lake Campsite.
It’s not recommended that you start from the north end of the route, because the Windsor-Goat portage is quite steep in this direction.
The views along the Powell Forest Canoe Route are stunning – coastal mountains, fjord-like waters and plenty of wildlife sightings.
If you’re looking for a canoe adventure, add this one to your list. Make sure you set aside ample time to complete the route and take in all the views, and don’t forget your camera!