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Agnes Lake: A twenty-one mile canoe interstate in Quetico, Canada

Quetico Provincial Park Agnes Lake

Agnes Lake, Quetico Provincial Park

Agnes Lake in Ontario, Canada is a gorgeous twenty-one mile lake running directly north-south in the wilderness of Quetico Provincial Park. For adventure travelers who love to canoe, Agnes Lake is a major thruway between the south-central entry point at Prairie Portage and the remote wilderness found in the center of the park.

My Dad and I canoed all twenty-one miles, back and forth, on our way into and out of the Quetico wilderness. On the way up we passed five canoes, and on the way back we encountered four canoes. This means nine other canoes in 42 miles. We saw more combined loons and eagles than people.

Quetico Provincial Park Agnes Lake

A loon swims across the canoe on Agnes Lake in Quetico

When one conjures up thoughts of a twenty-one mile lake they most likely think of jet skis and motorboats, but none of these noisy and pollution making contraptions are allowed up here. In fact, the water is so pure on Agnes that it is safe to just dip your canteen in the middle of the lake and drink away. Cathy, the ranger at Prairie Portage, advised us to rinse soap on the land as Quetico is one of the last pure water sources around. “Let’s keep it that way,” she implored to us as we entered the park.

The most interesting sections of Agnes are the narrows and Louisa Falls. The narrows are about a third of the way up the lake. They are dominated by beautiful boulder strewn bluffs.

Agnes Lake Quetico Provincial Park

Agnes Lake narrows

Louisa Falls lies on the far southern stretch of the lake. The falls make for an ideal outdoor bath and shower. Halfway up the falls there is a deep pool where one can immerse themselves into the crystal cool waters. The water from the top of the waterfall crashes down into the pool, but the cascade is light and one can head under the falls just like a shower.

Quetico Provincial Park Louisa Falls

Traveling Ted cools off in Louisa Falls

The pool is protected by a row of rocks, so it is completely safe to swim in without being ushered over the bottom half of the falls. Caution of course needs to be exercised, especially in times of high water, but playing in the pool of Louisa Falls is pretty safe.

At the north end of Agnes the lake opens up into a huge pathway of water until suddenly ending in a bay with a portage. The portage takes canoeists into the deeper interior of the park including Lake Kawnipi, and the poet chain lakes of Keats and Shelley.

Natural history buffs will also enjoy the lake as they have a treat in store for them. Agnes Lake has six areas listed on the map with Indian pictographs on them. One of these pictures features a canoe. These ancient forms of art suggest Agnes has been a preferred travel route not only for canoeists in aluminum and fiberglass canoes, but also for the Native Americans in hand carved craft many centuries before.

Indian pictographs Quetico Provincial Park

Ancient Native American art forms prove we are not the first to enjoy canoeing Agnes Lake

If this type of trip appeals to you, there are two places one can access the park from the United States that I recommend. If you go through Ely, Minnesota then go through Canadian Border Outfitters.  Read about them here:

Boundary Waters and Quetico vacation begin with Canadian Border Outfitters

If you want to go through Grand Marais then try Voyageur Canoe Rentals. Read about them here:

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters is the key that unlocks Quetico and the Boundary Waters


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12 Responses to Agnes Lake: A twenty-one mile canoe interstate in Quetico, Canada

  1. Nick August 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Looks amazing! I canoed across Scotland last year and that was beautiful, but nothing compared to this wilderness. Nice pictures Ted
    Nick recently posted..A level results 2011

  2. Jeff Titelius August 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    What a nice and refreshing trip this must have been for you and Dad. Love the fact that you keep your hat on in the falls…hope you remembered to take off the fanny pack. LOL! Beautiful pics as well my friend!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..Postcards from Venice, Italy – A Journey Through Mystery and Wonder

  3. Leslie August 17, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Yay Quetico! I never heard about this exciting adventure destination until I read your posts about it on Examiner. Looks like a relaxing place to experience nature 🙂
    Leslie recently posted..How to become a responsible traveler: 5 tips from a local travel expert

  4. chris August 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    fyi, First Nation peoples have strongly requested that Quetico pictographs NOT be photographed.

  5. Nomadic Samuel August 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Ted, this looks like an amazing journey & even more special to share it with your father 🙂 I will have to make more time for travel in Canada when I have the chance.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Stones Steps | Machu Picchu, Peru, | Travel Photo

  6. jade August 25, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    This looks like something I would really enjoy- love that you included a video!
    jade recently posted..Seafood Cook-off and Hushpuppy Recipe

  7. flipnomad August 26, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    i have never canoed on any lake before… the view looks amazing!!!
    flipnomad recently posted..Don’t End Up as a Dead Tourist – 5 Tips to Stay Safe in ‘Dangerous’ Countries

  8. Tom Edwards December 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    This looks amazing. I have mot been to Quetico in years. Your photos make me want to go back for another canoe adventure!

  9. Bret @ Green Global Travel January 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Looks like a lovely day at the lake. Very cool that you can see Native American pictographs there!
    Bret @ Green Global Travel recently posted..Happy New Year! (And A Quick Look Back At 2011)


  1. Native American pictographs in Quetico Provincial Park | Traveling Ted TV - December 24, 2011

    […] felt this way while paddling up Agnes Lake. It is a 22 mile long gigantic lake with hardly any other people on it, yet canoes have been […]

  2. Moonlight falls on Agnes Lake in Quetico Provincial Park | Traveling Ted TV - July 1, 2012

    […] north is post pictures of their beautiful wilderness. This photo depicts moonlight reflecting off Agnes Lake in Quetico Provincial Park. Agnes Lake is a 21 mile long lake leading into the majestic Lake […]

  3. Louisa Falls in Agnes Lake a delightful place to beat the heat in Quetico | Traveling Ted TV - July 18, 2012

    […] Growing up, I had seen hundreds of pictures of my parents and friends frolicking in Louisa Falls in Agnes Lake in Quetico Provincial Park. Unfortunately, all I had seen were pictures because it had been a place […]

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