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 and ponds, which is quite a lot 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 November 6, 2021 I have visited 120 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 this goal.  Almost 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.  Don't tempt me...

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. Bass Lake

  6. Beatons Lake

  7. Beitner Lake

  8. Bender Lake

  9. Big Lake

  10. Big African Lake

  11. Big Bateau Lake

  12. Bob Lake

  13. Bond Falls Flowage

  14. Brush Lake

  15. Buck Lake

  16. Bud Lake

  17. Chamberlain Lake

  18. Chief Edwards Lake

  19. Cisco Lake

  20. Clark Lake

  21. Clear Lake

  22. Clearwater Lake

  23. Club Lake

  24. Cougar Lake

  25. County Line Lake

  26. Courtney Lake

  27. Crooked Lake

  28. Cub Lake

  29. Deadman Lake

  30. Deer Lake

  31. Deer Island Lake

  32. Dorothy Lake

  33. East Bay Lake

  34. Echo Lake

  35. Elsie Lake

  36. Erickson Lake

  37. Estes Lake

  38. Fisher Lake

  39. Fishhawk Lake

  40. Florence Lake

  41. Forest Lake

  42. Frog Pond

  43. Fuller Lake

  44. Gasley Lake

  45. Germain Lake

  46. Glare Lake

  47. Glimmerglass Lake

  48. Glitter Lake

  49. Golden Lake

  50. Hager Lake

  51. Hannah Webb Lake

  52. Harding Lake

  53. Hay Lake

  54. Hehe Lake

  55. Helen Lake

  56. Hemlock Lake

  57. High Lake

  58. Howe Lake

  59. Indian Lake

  60. Irish Lake

  61. Jay Lake

  62. Jingle Lake

  63. Killdeer Lake

  64. Kunze Lake

  65. Kvidera Lake

  66. LaCrosse Lake

  67. Lake Gogebic

  68. Lake On-Three

  69. Lake Sainte Kathryn

  70. Lake Thirteen

  71. Lake Twentyeight

  72. Liluis Lake

  73. Lindsley Lake

  74. Little African Lake

  75. Little Nesbit Lake

  76. Little Wolf Lake

  77. Long Lake

  78. Loon Lake

  79. Louise Lake

  80. Lower Dam Lake

  81. Mamie Lake

  82. Marion Lake

  83. Mattie Lake

  84. Moon Lake

  85. Mountain Lake

  86. Morley Lake

  87. Mule Lake

  88. Nesbit Lake

  89. Norway Lake

  90. Paulding Pond

  91. Penegor Lake

  92. Perch Lake

  93. Poor Lake

  94. Prickett Lake

  95. Quiver Lake

  96. Record Lake

  97. Robbins Pond

  98. Robinson Lake

  99. Rock Lake

  100. Rookery Lake

  101. Roost Lake

  102. Sandy Lake

  103. Silk Lake

  104. Skyline Lake

  105. Snap Jack Lake

  106. Spree Lake

  107. Sucker Lake

  108. Sudden Lake

  109. Tanlund Lake

  110. Taylor Lake

  111. Tepee Lake

  112. Thousand Island Lake

  113. Toots Lake

  114. Very Sudden Pond

  115. Victoria Reservoir

  116. Violet Lake

  117. Weary Lake

  118. West Bay Lake

  119. Winslow Lake

  120. Wolf Lake