From Arowhon Pines, the paddle south on Joe Lake to Gibraltar takes about half an hour. Beach your canoe, hike to the lop for a beautiful view — it’s well worth the climb!
From Gibraltar paddle south and under a bridge to the Joe Lake Dam — be careful of the current. You may swim and relax at the beach by the dam before making the short portage into Canoe Lake. There is a mystery and legend surrounding the final resting place of Tom Thomson (1877-1917), one of Canada’s renowned landscape artists, who died in Algonquin Park in 1917 under suspicious circumstances. A cairn dedicated to him lies atop a hill overlooking Canoe Lake about a 45 min. paddle from the dam. Stay to the left-hand shoreline to find a small wooden dock. Climb the trail for a spectacular view of the lake and what is reported to be Tom Thomson’s favorite camp spot.
LITTLE DOE AND TOM THOMSON LAKES
Turn right from Gibraltar point and go north, through Fawn Lake into Little Doe Lake. The entrance to Tom Thomson Lake is a little difficult to find — it’s a winding narrow creek — on the left shore. You may have to pull your canoe over a beaver dam to reach this quiet, secluded and magnificent lake.
BURNT ISLAND LAKE
The portage (3/4 mile / 1.2 km) to Burnt Island Lake is at the east end of Little Doe Lake — it is well marked. It takes about an hour to paddle and across two short portages through Baby Joe Lake and down a creek to Little Joe Lake and Arowhon Pines. Please don't attempt to shoot the rapids — you might destroy the boat and miss dinner!
This is a hilly walk through a hardwood forest around the Litlle Joe Lake bay. There is a small creek to pass. Enjoy the view of Arowhon Pines from the edge of the lake (30 minutes each way).
This is a continuation of the yellow trail (markers change colour just beyond the creek). You can choose the level walk to another creek at the south end of Baby Joe for a great view of Arowhon Pines and turn around and come back. This takes about 65 minutes each way. A new part of the white trail follows the shores of Baby Joe to the Burnt Island Lake dam and then up and around to the historic stone chimneys that are all that remains of an old resort, ‘Camp Minnesing’ (1913–1937). You may choose to canoe part way for a round trip of 3 hours, or hike the entire way for a total of 4-5 hours.
This trail winds through an area that was logged a century ago. The Red Trail starts off with a good-sized hill and flattens out as you near the abandoned railway tracks. II leads to the Bear’s Nest Trail, then connects to the abandoned railway portion of the Mizzy Lake Trail. Follow the abandoned tracks at the west end of Wolf Howl Pond to connect with the Arowhon Road for a round trip back to the resort of about 3 hours (7 miles / 11 km). You can also continue along the Mizzy Lake Trail beyond Wolf Howl Pond, adding 6-1/4 miles/ 10 km to your hike. When you return 10 the Bear’s Nest Trail, retrace your route along the Red, Medicine Tree and Yellow Trails back to the resort. This route is about 10 miles / 16 km. Both routes are moderately difficult and long walks — we suggest packing a lunch and plenty of water!
The trail meanders through the woods along the eastern shore of Joe Lake. There are many large rock outcroppings with lovely places to sit and swim overlooking the lake. There are some steep inclines. There is a marked shortcut with an estimated roundtrip time of about one hour. If you hike the full trail you will end up at the old abandoned railway track — turning left takes you back to the Arowhon Road and left again brings you back to the resort. This route is approximately 6 miles /10 km long — about 3 hours.
THE MEDICINE TREE TRAIL
At the woodpile take the yellow trail The first turn off on your right is the Red Trail which does loop around, going by the medicine tree. Fast walkers can do the loop in about an hour, but take some time to sit and admire this large growth White Pine.
Arowhon Pines is located in a remote wilderness area. When enjoying activities that have some risk, especially on the lakes and trails, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN and must pay attention to your safety.
Plan your day early.
Use common sense.
FOR YOUR SAFETY ON THE TRAILS
Our trails are a little more difficult when compared with Park trails and although they are regularly maintained, conditions change in the forest. Stay on marked trails, being careful not to leave one trail marker before spotting the next. Carry the map with you at all times. Wear hiking boots, long-sleeved shirts, pants, insect repellent and carry a whistle with you in case you get lost (available in the office). Moose and deer tracks may appear to be trail; if you follow these you could soon be lost. Start your hike early enough so that you will return before dark, and advise the office of your hiking plans before leaving. If you DO get lost, do not roam through the woods ... signal your whistle, then wait and listen for whistles. When we know you are missing, we will search for you. Sound is the principal factor in finding persons lost in the woods. Do NOT feed any animals. If you encounter a wild animal ... don’t panic, make noises: they will usually be scared off. Do take binoculars and your camera. Dawn and evenings are the best times to see wildlife.
FOR YOUR SAFETY ON THE WATER
Arowhon Pines is at the centre of some of the best and safest canoeing in Ontario. The law requires that there be ONE LIFE JACKET PER PERSON (found in your room) and a BAILING KIT (available by the lake) IN EVERY BOAT. Wear your life jackets at all times. especially in cooler weather. Yellow canoes are light weight and are to be used by experienced canoeists only. Novice and solo canoeists use the aluminum canoes — they are more stable! You are fully responsible for any boat damages that may occur during your care. Watch for changing weather conditions. Should the canoe upset, hang on to it until you reach the shore or help arrives. If the wind blows up suddenly and the lake becomes choppy, the closer to the shore you should be. Never stand up in a canoe.