Quetico Provincial Park
Quetico Provincial Park
By Ontario Parks
Quetico is a protected, pristine wilderness retreat of international acclaim west of Lake Superior on the Canada-U.S. border. The park's tangled network of lakes once formed water routes travelled by Ojibway and fur traders. Now it is primarily the destination of experienced canoeists seeking solitude and rare glimpses of wildlife by cascading waterfalls, glassy lakes and endless forests. The park is accessible at four points by canoe and two by car (Dawson Trail Campground and Lac la Croix Ranger Station).
The Dawson Trail Campground at French Lake is the only entrance for drive-in camping. The 107 campsites, 49 of which have electricity, are close to comfort stations, showers, a laundromat and other amenities.
Picnic and Day Use - Yes
Electric Sites - 49
Visitor Centre - At Dawson Trail campground
Barrier Free Access
Visitor Centre, Pickerel River Trail, Dawson Trail, laundromat, shower, flush toilet
Friends of Quetico sell park souvenirs at stores in Dawson Trail Campground and Prairie Portage.
Showers - At Dawson Trail Campground
Flush Toilets - At Dawson Trail Campground
Laundromat - At Dawson Trail Campground
There is a playground in Pickerel Beach day-use area at Dawson Trail Campground.
Local outfitters can provide supplies necessary for a canoe trip into the park interior.
Off Season - Self-serve (Cash only - Canadian or U.S. dollars accepted)
These trails are all accessible from Dawson Trail Campground.
Beaver Meadows Trail 2.5 km (1 hour) strenuous
Rough topography and steep slopes are features of this trail as it weaves its way through a variety of forest habitat. The rich diversity of plant life reflects subtle differences in sunlight, soil, temperature, moisture and topography under the forest canopy. (Caution: Terrain is slippery when wet.)
French Falls Trail 2.4 km (1hour) strenuous
This trail is not long but has some steep climbs as it follows the cascades of the French River. This is a picturesque, photogenic trail.
French Portage Trail 5 km (2 hours) strenuous
This hike into the past traces a portage first established by natives and later used by European explorers and fur traders. It was, for a short time, the main route for settlement in the Red River area of Manitoba and for further exploration west. French Portage is still part of a canoe route that connects Windigoostigwan and French Lake. The low-lying terrain is sometimes difficult.
Pickerel Point Trail 1.6 km return (30 minutes) moderate
Sometimes difficult and steep, this trail follows the Pickerel River for a view of aquatic life and riparian plants and animals. Pickerel Point is an excellent spot to see bald eagles, great blue herons, king fishers and ospreys.
Pickerel River Trail 0.8 km (30 minutes) barrier free
The Sheila Hainey Boardwalk along the Pickerel River clips to lowlands along the river's edge through alder, balsam fir and spruce then slowly rises to highlands of pine, birch and poplar. It links the Quetico Information Pavilion at Dawson Trail to French Lake day-use area.
Pines Hiking Trail 10 km return (3.5 hour) moderate
An extension of the Whiskey Jack Trail, Pines takes in a sandy beach guarded by a stand of majestic old-growth red and white pine. Enjoy the solitude of the walk, picnic on the beaches of Pickerel Lake, or venture into the interior. The trail includes moderate to steep climbs. Backpackers can obtain an interior camping permit and hike this trail for overnight camping.
Whiskey Jack Trail 2.5 km (1 hour) moderate
This gateway to Quetico's wilderness begins on a boardwalk that winds through forest-covered lowland thick with mosses, Labrador tea, horsetail, twinflower, bunchberry, pyrola, black spruce and tamarack. The boardwalk gives way to a foot path that meanders through a mosaic of forest habitats. (Caution: Terrain is slippery when wet.)
The park abounds in wildlife with one area boasting four moose per square mile, one of the highest densities in the province. The canoeist stands an excellent chance of seeing moose, beaver, otter, marten and the bald eagle (common in Quetico, but rare elsewhere). There are red squirrels, chipmunks, beaver and mink as well as 90 species of birds nesting here.
Motorboats are not permitted on the lakes and waterways of Quetico Park, except in the Lac La Croix and Beaverhouse area. Only the Lac La Croix Guides are permitted to use motorboats, limited to 10 horsepower motors or smaller, a maximum of four per day, and only on 10 lakes.
At Dawson Trail Campground, visitors can swim at beaches along the shore of French Lake. Of course, visitors to the interior will find many opportunities to take a dip.
Cycling is permitted in Dawson Trail Campground but not on hiking trails.
Quetico is being used more and more for winter camping, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing. There are no groomed trails and snowmobiles are prohibited.
For more information:
Quetico Provincial Park
807-597-2735 (Trip Planning Information Line)