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Lakes of the Ottawa National Forest

I love getting out to explore new places.  Ever since I began my U.P. journey 17 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. Many are quite scenic, and more often than not you'll have them all to yourself.

 

This is particularly true of the Ottawa National Forest, which happens to be one of my favorite places to visit and explore.  The ONF claims to have over 500 named lakes and ponds of all shapes and sizes.  That opened up an interesting line of questions: Are there really that many?!  How long would it take to paddle them all?  Has it been done?  Is it even possible?  If anyone is going to find out, it'd be me. 

Trapper Lake Packraft.jpg

As of May 19, 2024 I have visited 230 different lakes in the Ottawa National Forest.  

I've also paddled on dozens elsewhere in the U.P., but those don't count towards this goal.  I'm probably further along than 99% of the Forest Service's visitors and still have a long ways to go!  To count towards my goal, I either have to paddle on the lake (obviously), swim in it, or snowshoe/ski on it in winter.  Driving by and waving doesn't count.

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 Commercial Forest or USFS land, or Misery Paddle Tour my way in via wetlands or rivers.  Don't tempt me...

Below is 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!  If you need intel on any of these lakes, I'm more than happy to let you know if you're about to make a big mistake and to make waves towards better options elsewhere. Underlined lakes have linked photos on my flickr. Bolded lakes are some of my 'choice' picks.

  1. Albino Lake

  2. Allen Lake

  3. Amber Lake

  4. Anderson Lake

  5. Arc Lake

  6. Balcomb Lake

  7. Banks Lake

  8. Barclay Pond

  9. Bass Lake

  10. Beatons Lake

  11. Bee Lake

  12. Beitner Lake

  13. Bender Lake

  14. Big Lake

  15. Big African Lake

  16. Big Bateau Lake

  17. Bluejay Lake

  18. Bob Lake

  19. Bond Falls Flowage

  20. Booth Lake

  21. Bowstead Lake

  22. Brush Lake

  23. Buck Lake

  24. Buckeye Lake

  25. Bum Lake

  26. Calderwood Pond

  27. Camp Lake

  28. Castle Lake

  29. Chamberlain Lake

  30. Chapman Lake

  31. Chickadee Lake

  32. Chief Edwards Lake

  33. Cisco Lake

  34. Clark Lake

  35. Clear Lake

  36. Clear Lake (Ontonagon County)

  37. Clearwater Lake

  38. Cloverleaf Lake

  39. Club Lake

  40. Coontail Lake

  41. Cornelia Lake

  42. Cougar Lake

  43. County Line Lake

  44. Courtney Lake

  45. Cranberry Lake

  46. Crooked Lake

  47. Cub Lake

  48. Curry Lake

  49. Cutters Pond

  50. Dead River Headwaters

  51. Deadman Lake

  52. Deer Lake

  53. Deer Island Lake

  54. Devils Head Lake

  55. Dinner Lake

  56. Doe Lake

  57. Dorothy Lake

  58. Doyle Lake

  59. Drone Lake

  60. East Bay Lake

  61. East Bear Lake

  62. Echo Lake

  63. Eel Lake

  64. Elbow Lake

  65. Elginor Lake

  66. Elsie Lake

  67. Erickson Lake

  68. Estes Lake

  69. Fisher Lake

  70. Fishhawk Lake

  71. Florence Lake

  72. Foggy Lake

  73. Forest Lake

  74. Foxpaw Lake

  75. Frog Pond

  76. Fuller Lake

  77. Gasley Lake

  78. Germain Lake

  79. Glare Lake

  80. Glen Lake

  81. Glimmerglass Lake

  82. Glitter Lake

  83. Golden Lake

  84. Grass Lake

  85. Grosse Lake

  86. Hager Lake

  87. Hannah Webb Lake

  88. Harding Lake

  89. Hay Lake

  90. Haywire Lake

  91. Hehe Lake

  92. Helen Lake

  93. Hemlock Lake

  94. Henry Lake

  95. Heron Lake

  96. Hidden Lake

  97. High Lake

  98. Hilltop Lake

  99. Hobo Lake

  100. Honey Lake

  101. Houser Lake

  102. Imp Lake

  103. Indian Lake

  104. Interior Lake

  105. Irish Lake

  106. Jay Lake

  107. Jingle Lake

  108. Katherine Lake

  109. Kentucky Lake

  110. Kerr Lake

  111. Killdeer Lake

  112. Kunze Lake

  113. Kvidera Lake

  114. LaCrosse Lake

  115. Lac Vieux Desert

  116. Lake Gogebic

  117. Lake On-Three

  118. Lake Raymond

  119. Lake Sainte Kathryn

  120. Lake Thirteen

  121. Lake Twentyeight

  122. Langford Lake

  123. Liluis Lake

  124. Linda Lake

  125. Lindsley Lake

  126. Little African Lake

  127. Little Castle Lake

  128. Little Duck Lake

  129. Little Langford Lake

  130. Little Nesbit Lake

  131. Little Trail Lake

  132. Little Wolf Lake

  133. Locust Pond

  134. Lois Lake

  135. Long Lake

  136. Loon Lake

  137. Louise Lake

  138. Lower Dam Lake (no longer a lake!)

  139. Lower Holmes Lake

  140. Madelyn Lake

  141. Maggie Lake

  142. Mamie Lake

  143. Markey Lake

  144. Marion Lake

  145. Marsh Lake

  146. Marten Lake

  147. Mattie Lake

  148. McLellan Lake

  149. Mink Lake

  150. Mishike Lake

  151. Misty Lake

  152. Moon Lake

  153. Moraine Lake

  154. Mountain Lake

  155. Morley Lake

  156. Mule Lake

  157. Murphy Lake

  158. Nesbit Lake

  159. Norway Lake

  160. Opal Lake

  161. Orchid Lake

  162. Osprey Lake

  163. Ox Yoke Lake

  164. Pats Lake

  165. Paulding Pond

  166. Paw Lake

  167. Penegor Lake

  168. Pequet Lake

  169. Perch Lake (Iron County)

  170. Perch Lake (Gogebic County)

  171. Pilot Lake

  172. Pine Lake

  173. Pit Lake

  174. Plymouth Lake

  175. Poker Lake

  176. Poor Lake

  177. Prickett Lake

  178. Quiver Lake

  179. Rabbitz Lake

  180. Record Lake

  181. Redboat Lake

  182. Richard Lake

  183. Ridge Lake

  184. Rickles Lake

  185. Robbins Pond

  186. Robinson Lake

  187. Rock Lake

  188. Rookery Lake

  189. Roost Lake

  190. Sand Lake

  191. Saunder Lake

  192. Schneider Lake

  193. Scout Lake

  194. Section 13 Lake

  195. Silk Lake

  196. Sixmile Lake

  197. Skyline Lake

  198. Snap Jack Lake

  199. Spider Lake

  200. Spree Lake

  201. Steusser Lake

  202. Stickley Lake

  203. Still Lake

  204. St. George Lake

  205. Sucker Lake

  206. Sudden Lake

  207. Sun Lake

  208. Syrup (Eagle) Lake

  209. Tanlund Lake

  210. Taps Lake

  211. Taylor Lake

  212. Tepee Lake

  213. Thousand Island Lake

  214. Thrush Lake

  215. Tinsel Lake

  216. Toby Lake

  217. Toots Lake

  218. Trail Lake

  219. Trapper Lake

  220. Twin Pups Lakes

  221. Twist Lake

  222. Very Sudden Pond

  223. Victoria Reservoir

  224. Violet Lake

  225. Weary Lake

  226. West Bay Lake

  227. West Bear Lake

  228. Winslow Lake

  229. Wolf Lake

  230. York Lake

Schneider Lake Kayak.jpeg
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