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 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 August 15, 2021 I have visited 98 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. Chief Edwards Lake

  15. Clark Lake

  16. Clear Lake

  17. Club Lake

  18. Cougar Lake

  19. Courtney Lake

  20. Crooked Lake

  21. Cub Lake

  22. Deadman Lake

  23. Deer Lake

  24. Deer Island Lake

  25. Dorothy Lake

  26. Echo Lake

  27. Elsie Lake

  28. Erickson Lake

  29. Estes Lake

  30. Fisher Lake

  31. Florence Lake

  32. Forest Lake

  33. Frog Pond

  34. Fuller Lake

  35. Gasley Lake

  36. Germain Lake

  37. Glare Lake

  38. Glimmerglass Lake

  39. Glitter Lake

  40. Golden Lake

  41. Hager Lake

  42. Hannah Webb Lake

  43. Harding Lake

  44. Hay Lake

  45. Hehe Lake

  46. Helen Lake

  47. High Lake

  48. Howe Lake

  49. Irish Lake

  50. Jay Lake

  51. Jingle Lake

  52. Killdeer Lake

  53. Kunze Lake

  54. Kvidera Lake

  55. LaCrosse Lake

  56. Lake Gogebic

  57. Lake On-Three

  58. Lake Sainte Kathryn

  59. Lake Thirteen

  60. Lake Twentyeight

  61. Liluis Lake

  62. Little Nesbit Lake

  63. Little Wolf Lake

  64. Loon Lake

  65. Louise Lake

  66. Lower Dam Lake

  67. Marion Lake

  68. Mattie Lake

  69. Moon Lake

  70. Mountain Lake

  71. Nesbit Lake

  72. Norway Lake

  73. Paulding Pond

  74. Penegor Lake

  75. Perch Lake

  76. Prickett Lake

  77. Quiver Lake

  78. Robbins Pond

  79. Robinson Lake

  80. Rock Lake

  81. Rookery Lake

  82. Roost Lake

  83. Sandy Lake

  84. Silk Lake

  85. Skyline Lake

  86. Spree Lake

  87. Sucker Lake

  88. Sudden Lake

  89. Tanlund Lake

  90. Taylor Lake

  91. Tepee Lake

  92. Toots Lake

  93. Very Sudden Pond

  94. Victoria Reservoir

  95. Violet Lake

  96. Weary Lake

  97. Winslow Lake

  98. Wolf Lake