www.AlgonquinAdventures.com - Tim River to Magnetawan Lake - Gavin Wells
www.AlgonquinAdventures.comTim River to Magnetawan Lake     - by Gavin Wells

Thanksgiving weekend, October 7, 8th & 9th, 2000. Four people in two canoes.

Day 1 - October 7th, 2000

  • Set out at 3:00pm on Tim River.

  • Paddled along the first section of the river to Tim Lake, some snow was falling, might be considered heavy flurries. We soon warmed up once under way.

  • We crossed over the lake, the winds were moderate and only caused a minor slowdown.

  • At the other end of the lake we entered the second section of the Tim River, it was now about 4:00pm, by now it had stopped snowing and was mainly overcast with a brisk wind that made it seem colder than it was. The river was a pleasant paddle for the first section. It was about this time I mentioned to my daughter (Terra) how nice it would be to have a picture of us paddling in a snow squall. The weather did not cooperate and so we moved further down a path of adventure.

  • We encountered a few beaver blockages these were easy liftovers and presented limited trouble.

  • I think it was about 5:00pm when we encountered our first major obstacle caused by a well-constructed beaver dam. We lifted over the dam without a lot of effort, however when we went to put back in on the other side we were a little short of the required water.

  • As we looked for ways to manoeuvre down river, we tried poling but to no avail. We then decided we would keep the canoe loaded and guide it down river with ropes. As we were planning a route we became aware of how soft the area was when my traveling partner sunk up to just above her knees in ice-cold muck, there is no other word to describe it. She was stuck fast and began to sink, I told her to lie down until I could reach her. It took about five minutes to pull her out, fortunately she did not loose her boots although they did look a little different and she was wet, not a good thing when the temperature is around the freezing point.

  • Finally we put in and continued paddling, we had no idea how much further to Rosebary Lake and once there how much further to an open site.

  • The river continued on for some time, this section of the river takes a while to paddle as it meanders constantly until you reach the lake.

  • I would guess we reached Rosebary Lake about 6:15pm and found a suitable site to the left of the river; it was the third one down. We did not want to cross the lake as we were very tired and did not want to fight the wind any longer. Nice site, a little small however it was out of the wind. We were relieved to stand on firm ground. The site is not too large, a good size for two tents and a kitchen area.

  • The first order of business was putting up our tent and getting into dry clothes.

  • By the time this was done it was dark and we needed to have some hot food.

  • Dinner consisted of pan-fried marinated chicken breast along with pan-fried onions, peppers and mushrooms. We had hot tea cleaned up and went to bed.

    Day 2, October 8th, 2000

  • Awoke around 8:00am to the sound of birds chirping and squirrels chucking.

  • Made up some pancakes and we ate like pigs after a very cool night.

  • This was to be our layover day, we spent most of the day on site gathering wood to keep a fire going and stay warm. We gathered enough to have a fire all day and provisions to have one well into the evening.

  • Lunch consisted of soup and bagels. Just as we finished cooking and began to eat we had a major snow squall. We put on our rain gear and continued to enjoy a much needed hot meal.

  • The snow continued on and off all day and into the night, making for a wet ground and cold feet.

  • After a tortilini and tomato sauce dinner we sat by the fire and took the chill out of our bones.

  • Once we were nice and toasty, we retired to our tent.

  • The night was very cool. Boy are we glad we decided to buy fleece liners for our bags prior to the trip.

    Day 3 October 9th, 2000

  • We survived another very cool night and awoke to an ice and snow covered campsite and tent.

  • The sun was shining. This was a good sign.

  • We decided that we would paddle all the way back to Magnetawan Lake and return home today instead of staying on Ralph Bice Lake (old Butt Lake) for the night. This turned out to be an exhaustive day.

  • Set out around 10:30am in the morning for the Tim River, again encountering low water levels. By the time we reached our portage to Queer Lake it was coming on to 3:00pm. On our maps it showed the portage as being just after the 90M portage. Donít get discouraged. It is further than it looks on the map.

  • It took about 1 hour to complete the portage. At the end we decided to have a bite to eat.

  • We got back on the water around 5:00pm and paddled across the lake to the portage into Little Trout Lake. No problem with this portage. It is short and easy. Both Little Trout and Queer Lakes are scenic. To bad we decided to head all the way back. By this time we noticed that we had not seen a sole since the day before. What a great feeling.

  • Continued across Little Trout to Ralph Bice Lake. By now the sun was setting. And what a magnificent sunset it was. The sun set as we paddled on still waters all the way to the next portage into Hambone. By the time we reached the end of the lake, it was dark. Took an extra half hour to find the portage. The signs are not reflective so we had to be. Portaging at night is a lot of fun and can be a little challenging. But by now we all had our sights set on the parking lot as we were getting tired.

  • Once on Hambone Lake, the mist started to form ... adding another element to the night paddling. It surprised us how quickly it came about. By the time we crossed the lake we could not see the other canoe. This really made finding the portage fun. It was then that the wolves started to howl. This was a wonderful experience. Paddling in the dark with mist and wolves howling under a starlit sky. Got to the parking lot and did the normal prayer for the car to start.


  • This would make a great three day trip if you had two vehicles. One at Tim River and one at Magnetawan Lake.
  • The car shuttle takes about 40 minutes (20 minutes each way.)
  • I would suggest the first night on Rosebary Lake, 2nd night on Queer Lake or Little Trout Lake.
  • The paddle down the Tim River would be a lot more pleasurable with water.
  • All in all, I love every trip into the park.

      Gavin Wells