Lakes of the Ottawa National Forest

I love getting out to explore new places.  Ever since I began my U.P. journey 15 years ago, I've been digging into new hills, shorelines, waterfalls, and trails.  None has been as prolific as the region's vast numbers of inland lakes.  Lake Superior is great and all, but the interior of the U.P. is full of smaller lakes to explore.  


This is particularly true of the Ottawa National Forest, which happens to be one of my favorite places to visit and explore.  The Ottawa claims to have over 500 named lakes, which is quite a few more than I imagined.  How long would it take to paddle them all?  Has it been done?  And more to the point, is it even possible?  If anyone is going to find out, it'd be me. 

Lake Thirteen fall paddling.jpg

As of July 4, 2021 I have visited 82 different lakes in the Ottawa National Forest.  I've also paddled on several dozen others elsewhere in the U.P., but those don't count towards my goal.  400+ to go!?  I have a lot more than I thought remaining.  Turns out there are all sorts of tiny named lakes out there left to discover.  To count towards my goal, I either have to paddle on the lake (obviously), swim in it, or snowshoe/ski on it in winter.  That last one is easier said than done considering the vast majority of back roads in the Ottawa aren't plowed, making lakes tough to access.

A lot of lakes are completely inaccessible by road even in the summer.  Fortunately I built a packraft so even those lakes can't escape me for too long.  The most difficult lakes will be private ones. Can't really get around that too easily unless I can hike in through CFA or Ottawa land or Misery Paddle Tour my way in via wetlands or rivers.

Here's a list of the lakes I've been to so far.  Hit me up if you've ever visited some of the rarer ones.  

I'm always interested to hear how people got on out there!

  1. Allen Lake

  2. Anderson Lake

  3. Arc Lake

  4. Balcomb Lake

  5. Beitner Lake

  6. Bender Lake

  7. Big Bateau Lake

  8. Bob Lake

  9. Bond Falls Flowage

  10. Brush Lake

  11. Buck Lake

  12. Bud Lake

  13. Chamberlain Lake

  14. Clark Lake

  15. Clear Lake

  16. Courtney Lake

  17. Crooked Lake

  18. Cub Lake

  19. Deadman Lake

  20. Deer Island Lake

  21. Dorothy Lake

  22. Echo Lake

  23. Elsie Lake

  24. Erickson Lake

  25. Estes Lake

  26. Fisher Lake

  27. Florence Lake

  28. Fuller Lake

  29. Gasley Lake

  30. Germain Lake

  31. Glare Lake

  32. Glimmerglass Lake

  33. Glitter Lake

  34. Golden Lake

  35. Hager Lake

  36. Hannah Webb Lake

  37. Harding Lake

  38. Hay Lake

  39. Hehe Lake

  40. Helen Lake

  41. High Lake

  42. Howe Lake

  43. Irish Lake

  44. Jay Lake

  45. Jingle Lake

  46. Killdeer Lake

  47. Kunze Lake

  48. Kvidera Lake

  49. LaCrosse Lake

  50. Lake Gogebic

  51. Lake On-Three

  52. Lake Sainte Kathryn

  53. Lake Thirteen

  54. Lake Twentyeight

  55. Liluis Lake

  56. Little Nesbit Lake

  57. Loon Lake

  58. Louise Lake

  59. Lower Dam Lake

  60. Marion Lake

  61. Mattie Lake

  62. Moon Lake

  63. Mountain Lake

  64. Nesbit Lake

  65. Norway Lake

  66. Penegor Lake

  67. Prickett Lake

  68. Robinson Lake

  69. Rookery Lake

  70. Roost Lake

  71. Silk Lake

  72. Skyline Lake

  73. Spree Lake

  74. Sucker Lake

  75. Sudden Lake

  76. Tanlund Lake

  77. Taylor Lake

  78. Tepee Lake

  79. Very Sudden Pond

  80. Victoria Reservoir

  81. Weary Lake

  82. Winslow Lake