You are going to start to notice a theme with my camping posts. They will most likely all start out with me telling you about our trip being delayed, meltdowns (mine) and food being left behind. I think we are starting to get better at dealing with travel day stress but for some reason it still doesn't stop us from thinking we can actually get out of the house on time on a Friday night after working all day. We had decided to head North to get away from the overpopulated Southern parks and since it was a 7 hour drive we planned to split the drive up by heading out Friday night and driving 2.5 hours to another park for the night. Insert laughter here. This plan hinged on us leaving the house by 4PM, and leave by 4PM we did not. In fact the packing of the truck had only just begun and we did not pull out of the driveway until almost 6PM.
I don't want to brag or anything but when it's dark and you are tired, admitting defeat and getting a room for the night is a pure genius move.
Halfway Lake is located about an hour north west of Sudbury. There isn't a lot around the park so grab anything you might need when you first get onto Hwy 144. The drive to the park is stunning with its rock outcrops, tall trees and lakes. There is both car camping and back country camping available and we opted for car camping because it was our first time in the area. After navigating the lake I think back country camping would be doable for a someone who has basic experience in the back country.
Top 5 Reasons to Go to Halfway Lake
- The solitude that comes with a northern park. I could hear a squirrel fart it was that quiet.
- The canoeing is fantastic. You could go out on the same lake multiple times and always be exploring new parts.
- Sudbury is a great day trip to give yourself a break, especially if it rains.
- The sites are amazing. Large, private and well maintained.
- You can drink a Black Bear where it was invented (by Me).
Must Have's For Camping at Halfway Lake
Stainless steel drinking glasses
Cast iron pan
Map of stars and constellations
We stayed in the Hawksnest North campground where the campsites are huge and offer a lot of privacy, not that privacy was really needed because the park was pretty much empty during the week. There are a lot of seasonal campers at this park so the weekends are busy but as soon as Sunday night rolls around the park really clears out and only a handful of campers remain.
It is a miracle that our canoe trips don't result in only one adult returning. Because we are total morons, we decided that a large windy lake was the perfect lake to switch up our traditional paddling positions. All the expert canoeist are laughing right now, I can hear you. We had our destination in mind, a small island that I had located on the map. Joe traditionally sits in the back of the canoe to steer but I suggested we switch because I have more experience canoeing and it was windy.
I'm still shocked we made it to the island. Not due to anyone's fault (other than mine) but just that we were so used to our traditional roles in the canoe that we had a hard time not reverting back to those roles. A canoe with two people steering is a recipe for disaster.
- There are several islands and landings that you can explore on Halfway Lake so give yourself at least half a day.
- Bring your fishing gear with you in your canoe and hopefully you will have better luck than we did catching something.
- Be smart and bring safety gear, a map, snacks and water.
The trails at Halfway Lake are designed to allow you to go as far into the woods as you want to. They are loops within loops so you can chose a length that is most comfortable for you. It was a hot day when we set out and Joe had forgotten to bring any sort of sensible footwear so we opted for the shortest route, which took about an hour to complete. The trail is all uphill one way until you reach a lookout and then it is downhill the rest of the loop.
What is really interesting about Halfway Lake is its history. Within the woods we saw first hand the devastation from the 2002 tornado that ripped through the park. Old trees were toppled onto the ground but all around them was new life beginning to take over, showing the makings of a new forest. From the lookout (and from the lake) you can also see the damage that the park sustained during the 2009 fire.
It takes an hour to get to Sudbury, which makes for a really great day trip. We selected what looked like the worst weather day for the week and headed into town to explore Science North and the Big Nickel. There is so much to do at both locations that we had to cut back just to fit it all into one day.
Pro Tip - On the way home stop and grab a pizza for dinner. You have just spent all day back in civilization and are probably exhausted so the last thing you should have to do is fire up the old campfire to make dinner.
Halfway Lake is worth the drive. Even for a smaller park, I still feel like there is lots we didn't get to see and do and we have added this park to our favourites list.
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