Haliburton Highlands: Blackcat-Nunikani Loop (22 km / 3 days)

Beautiful view of Sunrise in Algonquin Blackcat Lake

This loop is a slightly extended version of Kevin Callan’s Nunikani Loop in his book, Top 60 Canoe Routes of Ontario. The route follows basically the same path, but with a detour through a series of small lakes and ponds into Blackcat Lake; a meromictic lake located in the Clear Lake Conservation Reserve; a world heritage site.

Many of the lakes on this route are stocked with brook trout and splake. You can also find lake trout, small and largemouth bass and other native species. The best time to fish for trout is after ice-out in the spring or late fall when water temps begin to drop again.

This route is well suited for beginners or first-time solo canoe trippers. Big Hawk, Clear, and Red Pine Lakes are cottage lakes, so help is never far away should an emergency arise. This route also has very good cell coverage.

Trip Completed: June 2022

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Big Hawk Lake Marina

Ending Point: Big Hawk Lake Marina

Total Distance: 22km

Duration: 3 days

Difficulty: Beginner


Haliburton Highlands Water Trails, Frost Centre Region

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ 

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: Top 60 Canoe Routes of Ontario, Kevin Callan

Map: The Adventure Maps – Frost Centre

Campsite Reservations: Required. Can be booked starting early January for the entire year online through Algonquin Highland Trails. Select "Frost Center" for the park and "Big Hawk Lake" as the access point. From there, you can choose specific campsites (in this trip report it was #54 and #112).

Permits: Not required to be picked up. Print or save a digital copy of your reservation before departing.

Know Before You Go

Season: Can be paddled all season. Portage trails could be wet in spring and black flies/mosquitos will be out at their usual times. 

This area is dam controlled and water levels can vary greatly depen...

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