September 28-29, 2012 - Algonquin - Sunday Lake

  • Location: Algonquin Provincial Park, Highway 60
  • Access Point: A14: Logging road at west end of parking lot for Big Pines hiking trail, ~km 40.4 off Highway 60
  • Trip Duration: Two days (one night)
  • Trip Length: ~2 km with 2 portages totalling 300 metres
  • Trip Type: There and back
  • Route: Sunday Lake
 Map courtesy of  Jeff McMurtrie

Map courtesy of Jeff McMurtrie

There was so little travelling via kayak that it is a misnomer to call this outing a kayak “trip”.  It was really just an opportunity to check out Algonquin’s gorgeous fall scenery and attempt to capture it in photographs.  I also only had one night available for the trip, so I had to pack as much as I could into two days.  I took one day off work, got up before 5:00 AM, packed up my car, and headed north (my favourite direction!).  The stunning fall colours were evident even before I got to the park.  I stopped at the Robinson Lake picnic area and again just south of Maynooth, where the light was hitting a stretch of forest beside the highway so perfectly that I had to stop and take some pictures:

 Amazing fall colours off Highway 62, south of Maynooth

Amazing fall colours off Highway 62, south of Maynooth

I got to Algonquin before 9:00 AM, got my permit for the night ($11.75 is an amazing deal!), and headed west towards the Big Pines parking lot.  I enjoyed the fall colours all the way, anxious to get in my kayak and see them from the water.

 Brewer Lake

Brewer Lake

I took a small detour up Opeongo Road before reaching my access point.  I was lucky enough to spot a spruce grouse on the side of the road and an otter family playing in Costello Creek.

 Spruce Grouse on Opeongo Road

Spruce Grouse on Opeongo Road

After my brief side trip, I was at the access point parking area in no time, took a few trips on the portage to get my kayak and all my gear to the water’s edge and I was ready to check out the campsites.  There are three sites on Sunday Lake but I quickly settled on the island site, anticipating that the sunset and sunrise would look good.

 My Sunday Lake island campsite

My Sunday Lake island campsite

There was a frost warning for the night, so I packed my fleece sheet and was hopeful that my three-season tent and sleeping bad would keep me warm enough.  Of course they did!  In fact, I got a bit hot during the night so I had to shed a layer.  I awoke to an absolutely gorgeous scene.  Breathtaking reds and yellows were perfectly reflected in the still water of Sunday Lake.

 The stunning fall scene from my Sunday Lake island campsite… worth waking up early for!

The stunning fall scene from my Sunday Lake island campsite… worth waking up early for!

This trip was a short one, but a good one.  If you’re looking for the next step above car camping, I recommend Sunday Lake.  It’s only a 150 meter portage from parking to the lake and a very short paddle of less than 20 minutes to the first two campsites.  I was the only person staying on the lake, only two groups went by en route to Sproule Lake, and the fall colours were spectacular!