Lake Wakami Provincial Park is very close to “high ground.” That is, the place where water flows into the Great Lakes and eventually the Atlantic Ocean, or north to Hudson Bay and the Arctic Basin.
It is also a place where the southern forests of sugar maple and yellow birch give way to the trees of the boreal forest. Poplar, white birch, jack pine, balsam fir and black spruce begin to dominate here.
It is common to see bald eagles and ospreys fishing in the productive waters of the lake. Lake Wakami is one of the best Walleye lakes in the Northeast. Wildlife is abundant, as is tranquility.
What to expect when visiting Lake Wakami
Lake Wakami is 15 km long (from north to south) and lies among forest-covered hills. The boreal forest surrounds it, but tall white pines (more common further south) jut out here and there, towering over their neighbors.
The park is quiet. The road to the park does not have much traffic. There are no roads or railways passing by, and there are no lights in the city to hide the stars.
A piece of geological history.
On the east side of the park, on the ridge, where few visitors go, is a reminder of the past frozen in time. After the large glacial ice sheet melted in the area, there were no trees left. It was dry. The winds carried the sand forming dunes: parabolic dunes, like in a desert!
When the climate changed again, these dunes were surrounded by a huge wetland and thin strips of forest grew. Those trees helped stabilize the dunes, “freezing them in time.”
The lake itself is quite large (15 km long) and has several bays to explore. Between the Maple Ridge and Brown’s Bay campgrounds is a boat launch and docks providing access to a beautiful area for boating and fishing.
The size of the lake gives kayakers the opportunity to get into a rhythm and spend days exploring. The park’s backcountry campgrounds offer canoeists an easy base camp from which to view the lake and are surrounded by boreal forest.
The park store sells underwater outline maps showing structures and sandbars. Stop by the front door before heading to your site! The park also offers a free map of backcountry campsites.
Wildlife at Lake Wakami
Wildlife is abundant in and around the park. The boreal forest is known as Ontario’s “songbird nursery,” with plenty of food for parent birds to raise a healthy brood of chicks.
Warblers of many species abound, as do common loons, ospreys, and bald eagles. This is also moose country – keep an eye out for moose on local roads and highways.
As you enjoy Lake Wakami camping, trails or backcountry, it is wise to remember that you are in the natural habitat of black bears. Bears have a keen sense of smell and are attracted to the smell of human food and garbage.
To avoid conflicts with bears, be prepared, informed and aware. Click here for information on how to be Bear Wise.
Camping at Lake Wakami
Camping here is calm and relaxing. The campground is divided into four areas: Birch Hill, Pine Grove, Maple Ridge and Brown’s Bay. Many of the 59 sites are right on the lake, with a pretty shoreline area that’s all yours. Sometimes the resident ducks or foxes come to visit. Remember not to feed wildlife.
Lake Wakami has no power sites or comfort stations. Water taps provide drinking water and there are vault toilets.
The park has laundry facilities for post-camp cleaning. There is a store in the park to buy souvenirs, maps and treats. Supplies and groceries are available in the nearby town of Chapleau.
camping in the countryside
Lake Wakami Backcountry Camps are what would be considered a “semi-remote” experience. You can paddle or motorboat to any of the sites and experience a sense of nature and solitude, while still being close to the main camp.
All backcountry sites are accessible by canoe, kayak, and motorboat. There are no access roads to the campsites. Each site offers something different, from sandy beaches to rocky water shores.
Sites are located around the perimeter of the lake so you can fish from shore, watch wildlife, and experience beautiful sunsets and clear, star-filled night skies. Each site at Lake Wakami is equipped with a fire pit, picnic table, and toilet.
To obtain backcountry camping permits, visit our reservation service or call 1-888-668-7275. Permits are also available at the gate during business hours.
Do not forget: pack it up, pack it up to help us keep Lake Wakami clean and tidy. There is no ban on cans and bottles at Lake Wakami; However, it is good practice to pack food and drinks in reusable or collapsible containers.
Bag out all trash, food scraps, and waste that cannot be burned. Waste facilities are available at the main campsite. You should not leave anything at your campsite when you leave. Don’t bury trash, as wild animals will simply dig it up. Practice leaving no trace camping!
Do you feel like taking a walk?
There are two hiking trails that can be accessed directly from the campsite.
- The Transitional Forest Trail (2.5 km, with an optional 5 km) has forests with trees typical of Great Lakes-St. The Lawrence Lowlands, growing alongside boreal forest species
- The Beaver Meadow Trail (1.5 miles) takes you into the boreal forest, where hikers can discover how the hard-working beaver has altered the landscape.
The park has other trails that provide opportunities to explore the boreal landscape.
One of the trails in the park is a little different. This trail runs through the park’s historic logging exhibit. The exhibit is comprised of log cabins, equipment and vehicles that tell the stories of the Wakami Lumber Company, which operated winter logging camps on and around the lake from the early to mid-20th century.
Linn tractor on display at the Historic Logging Show
Men came to work north every winter, felling the huge pine that dominated the forests here. The exhibition shows the transition from the era of logging on horseback to the era of mechanization.
Wakami Lake Lumber Company Truck
The park has been busy renovating the lumber display, but in the meantime, most sections are open and park visitors can still enjoy the legacy of those early days.
Shhhh…the fishing is very good
The fishing at Lake Wakami is so good that some park staff would like us to keep it a secret.
This is because the walleye fishery here is one of the most productive in northeastern Ontario. Former park staff return regularly for camping and fishing.
Lake Wakami also offers anglers good opportunities to catch pike and whitefish, whether from a boat, canoe or kayak. Inshore fishing at backcountry camps and the surrounding shoreline also produces results.
James Smedley, travel editor for Ontario Out Of Doors magazine, recently fished and camped at Lake Wakami; Look here.
Facilities include a jetty, plenty of dock space and fish cleaning tables at Birch Hill and Brown’s Bay to clean your catch. Some campers leave their boats on their own patch of sandy shoreline if they have a beachfront site.
Rental of boats, canoes and kayaks.
The main campground has boat and motor rental packages, available by the day or week, for use on Lake Wakami to access the remote campsites.
Recreational canoes and kayaks are also available for use in the park. Call ahead (705-864-3137) to reserve a boat and motor as they are in high demand.
Do you bring your own boat?
While docks are available for loading boats and canoes, daily fees apply for leaving your boat docked. Call ahead (1-705-864-3137) to reserve a boat slip, as they are also in high demand.
Does oceanfront camping, great fishing, and abundant wildlife sound good to you?