For those of you starting off in Ottawa, there are some excellent areas within a couple of hours drive. One of my favorites is a lake called Poisson Blanc. Poisson Blanc is a large narrow lake in Quebec with several islands that make up the provincial park. You can camp on many of the islands, and there are also some smaller more secluded lakes connected by portage.
Poisson Blanc is an incredibly scenic lake, and the surrounding area is very beautiful. Beware of unmarked portages though, as it can be easy to lose the trail and get lost. On my one and only trip up to Poisson Blanc, I was forced to abort our trek to Lac Vert after getting lost between there and Lac O’Hara. Still, with proper gear and an eye for direction, the route is very much navigable, and (I’m told) worth the effort!
Starting at the boat rental at Notre-Dame de Laus, travel south throughout the lake until you reach the portage to Lac O’Hara. There are some smaller lakes on the way to Lac Vert, where we recommend staying at least one night. From there, continue the loop back to Poisson Blanc, and camp out on one of the many islands in the south part of the lake. Travelling back to the put-in takes about a half a day, so leave time in case of wind or bad weather.
- Total Distance: About 30 – 35km
- Number of Portages: 9
- Longest Portage: About 1km
Highlights: Poisson Blanc is a beautiful lake that doesn’t see the large crowds that you get in Algonquin or elsewhere in the area. Lac Vert itself is a beautiful area, and worth the trip out there.
Downsides: The portages are not all well marked, and you can get lost if you’re not careful. The five portages to Lac Vert (from Lac O’Hara) are a definite challenge, including some swampy and buggy areas.