Temagami: Donald Lake Loop (4 days / 39 km)

David Lake Loop — Donald Lake

A variation of this loop can be found in Kevin Callan’s book, Top 60 Canoe Routes of Ontario. With no official paper map in circulation, planning this route was done with a combination of Kevin’s guidebook, an old copy of Jeff’s map for Southern Temagami and the Ottertooth website. The latter appeared to be most accurate in terms of portage and campsite locations.

The route starts in Kukagami Lake at the Sportsman’s Lodge and loops around through Donald Lake and a series of smaller lakes into Matagamasi Lake before making its way back into Kukagami for the return trip. Most of the lakes on this route are quite large and extra care should be taken in shoulder seasons and high winds when plotting your course. Most portage take-outs are well marked, but depending on the map you are using, they may not be in the same location (I have made considerable effort to accurately mark the waypoints for this trip on the Google Maps route). Expect significant blowdowns in early spring before anyone has had a chance to clear the trails. Portages range in distance from lift-over to 1000 m.

We paddled this route as a ‘Plan-B’ when my paddling partner broke his wrist a week before a whitewater trip and we felt navigating rapids would be too difficult for him. Our criteria for the trip was that it needed to be completed in 4 days, with minimal portaging and staying around 40 km of travel. There are several ways of completing this route, but this one met our requirements the best.

Due to the big, sometimes volatile water conditions, and sporadically maintained portages and campsites, I would recommend at least intermediate tripping skills in all but the most ideal conditions.

Trip Completed: May 2023

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Sportsman’s Lodge, Kukagami Lake

Ending Point: Sportsman’s Lodge, Kukagami Lake

Total Distance: 39 km

Number of Portages: 8

Duration: 4 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Location: Chiniguchi Waterway Provincial Park, T...

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