SK Historic Canoe Route 56
MOOSE MOUNTAIN PROVINCIAL PARK
Length of Trip: Route A - 13-16 kilometres; Route B - 6-8 kilometres
Time Required to Complete Trip: Route A - 6-8 hours; Route B - 4-5 hours
Number of Portages: Route A - 15 (Approximate Total Length - 1.8 kilometres); Route B - 9 (Approximate Total Length - 1.2 kilometres)
Water levels and canoeing conditions on many Saskatchewan rivers and lakes vary from time to time, causing changes in the appearance of the various landmarks described in this booklet, as well as the presence of hazards not described herein. It is the canoeist's responsibility to proceed with caution and alertness, using discretion and good judgment at all times. The information in this booklet is intended to be of general assistance only and the Government of Saskatchewan assumes no responsibility for its use. Canoeists are reminded that they travel at their own risk at all times.
Access to Starting Point:
Cars can be parked in the parking lot south of Ray Lake which can be reached by travelling west from the park entry gate, past the riding academy to the Blue Heron Trail. Follow the Blue Heron Trail north. At a fork in the trail the road to the left will lead you to the parking lot.
About the Trip:
The trip is especially recommended for novice canoeists. Lake currents are rarely apparent, so the trip can be made with equal ease in reverse. The lakes are fairly shallow and sheltered. The trip is excellent for improving canoeing and camping skills before undertaking a long or demanding canoe trip. The route is well marked and the portages are numbered with orange florescent signs. NOTE: Low water levels may affect portage distances.
There is a location suitable for overnight camping. Refer to Portage #10. A camping permit and campfire permit are required and can be obtained from the park office.
The Canoe Trip:
Portage No. 1:
This first portage, which connects Ray Lake to Scott Lake is approximately 45 metres and is in excellent condition.
Portage No. 2:
Approximately 250 metres long, this portage connects Scott Lake with a small slough. This slough leads into a second slough via a swampy narrows. Poling is necessary. The portage is long and rocky, but otherwise in very good condition. A hiking trail intersects the portage at approximately the halfway point. Watch for beaver lodges along both small lakes.
Portage No. 3:
This short, wide, grassy portage is in excellent condition. Approximately 90 metres long, it connects the two smaller lakes with a larger lake, yet unnamed. The shoreline of this winding lake is swampy. Again look for a large beaver lodge.
Alternate Route A:
Canoeists wishing to follow this longer route should go to Portage No. 4A.
Alternate Route B:
Canoeists wishing a shorter trip should go to Portage No. 4B then continue to Portage No. 11.
Portage No. 4A:
Climb along this 250 metre portage across the hiking trail to a small lake with a beaver dam in the middle and extensive beaver action along the south shore.
Portage No. 4B:
This portage is 125 metres long, connecting to Jabe Lake. The wide, moderately long portage ends at an excellent spot overlooking the lake. Continue to Portage No. 11.
Portage No. 5:
This portage 150 metres long leads up and over a ridge separating the two lakes. The path winds through aspen and birch to the top of a ridge from which the next lake can be easily seen.
Portage No. 6:
Approximately 760 metres long, this portage crosses the present hiking trail and follows an old creek bed to the next lake.
Portage No. 7:
Short and simple, this 30 metre portage is a wide and grassy ridge separating these two lakes.
Portage No. 8:
Portaging is necessary in low water years. It may be possible to pole across in spring and early summer.
Portage No. 9:
This portage connects an unnamed lake to the north shore of Gillis Lake. It is a short, easy portage crossing a wide and grassy clearing.
Portage No. 10:
Connecting Gillis Lake to Jabe Lake is a 200 metre portage. It follows an old creek bottom through a grassy meadow and across a dried up beaver dam. There is a campsite here with garbage cans and fire pit for an overnight stay.
Portage No. 11:
This 150 metre portage connecting the south end of Jabe Lake with the west arm of Polaris Lake is in good condition. It consists of an uphill climb directly followed by a downhill slope to Polaris Lake-proceed with caution.
Polaris Lake is clear and spring-fed, bordered by bullrushes. Canoeists will encounter a couple of beaver lodges during the short paddle across flora-carpeted waters.
Portage No. 12:
Approximately 150 metres of relatively level trail leads from the grassy landing point on the south side of Polaris Lake to an ingrown bay on the northernmost end of the large McMillan Lake. The trail is in good condition.
Portage No. 13:
Connecting the northeast arm of McMillan Lake with a narrow bay on the southwest side of McLellan Lake is this 220 metre long portage. It begins inconspicuously at a landing spot lined with bullrushes and continues mildly winding along the bank of a creek.
Once over this portage, canoeists will paddle through a marshy inlet and a stretch of flooded trees to the open waters and an easy paddle on McLellan Lake.
Portage No. 14:
This short portage is approximately eight metres long and in good condition. It connects the southwest arm of McLellan Lake to the easternmost point of a small unnamed lake. An abandoned beaver lodge lying next to the portage provides an interesting stop-over site.
An easy launch and a short, scenic paddle to complete the final leg of the route. To reach the final portage on the east side of the lake requires careful manoeuvring through a very murky bay.
Portage No. 15:
This final portage is 180 metres long and is in good condition. It begins in a weedy area and climbs gradually to the parking lot which marks the end of the canoe route.