Halfway Lake PP (Ontario) Review

Discussion in 'Ontario' started by Canoe2fish, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. Canoe2fish

    Canoe2fish Member

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    We just got in from Halfway Lake PP about an hour NW of Sudbury. This is the furthest North we have camped and it was worth the trip. It is a fairly small park, though the campground is twice the size of Windy lake PP which we explored on the way home (on the same highway, but closer to Sudbury). This park would have been near the top of my list except for a mix of disappointments which knocked it down in rank.

    The drive to the park was nothing short of spectacular. Not rocky mountain spectacular, but for Ontario, a truly beautiful drive. (We also took the MS Chichimaon to Mantoulin and saw the back side of Killarney PP on the way past which is stunning, but entirely too short lived) I enjoyed the remoteness of the park, but be advised, make sure you bring plenty of food and drink with you as there is not a grocery store for about 45 minutes away (1 hour during construction season) There is a small hamlet with a convenience/LCBO about 20 minutes away for the basics. The park store carries very little and was one of the least equipped I've seen (Except for Killarney)

    All of the campsites looked decent and private. There are a small number of non-electric sites located on Raven lake with water view/access, one of which we were lucky to get. Our best site yet, hand down. Almost half of this park is now seasonal, all of which are full, but there were still plenty of vacant sites available. I cant speak to the number of non-seasonal, electric sites as it was not a focus/need of ours. The comfort stations like nearly every other PP we have stayed at were in good repair and well maintained. No shower line ups at all. There are flushable vault toilets with sink facilities throughout the park. The beach in this park is likely one of the biggest attractions. Its long, shallow, well marked and on an eastern shore. Many picnic tables on the beach and a maintained grassy area with a playground for the kids.

    Halfway lake itself is split into two parts. The highway divides it but there is a passage underneath to allow canoes through. Small boats would pass save for the beaver dam that is only partially dismantled. The fishing was decent and there is bass, pike, walleye, perch and lake trout here. Lots of wildlife to be seen and currently, no nuisance bear issues. We saw Bald Eagles, ruffed grouse and heard (but did not see )a Moose. There are 4 hiking trails, but here was one of the two major letdowns for us. If hiking is a prime focus, CALL BEFORE YOU GO. We read older reviews that spoke poorly of interior maintenance (or lack thereof) and it has not changed. All the trails were closed at the start of our visit due to people getting lost. I was vocal about our disappointment but 2 trails were open and newly marked before we left. (Not sure if my complaints had any effect). The other 2 remote trails were going to remain closed due to "forest fire concerns", which I partly understand due to the amount of dry brush here from a tornado 14 years or so ago, and also the fact there was a forest fire here only a few years apart from that) I'm still on the fence on how I feel about the excuse however. I think I lean to the "I call BS" side as I still think it's poor park management and the fact they have a group of teenagers maintaining the trails. I don't buy fiscal woes either as half the park is rented with seasonal sites.

    Disappointment #2 was the fact the Antrim Lake required a portage to get into the main part of the lake. I understand that water levels are low due to such a dry season, however it would have been nice if it been noted or posted that a portage was required in their literature or signage at the gate before I lugged my 85 lb canoe out there to find a non-maintained portage that was only possible with hiking boots and a lightweight canoe. This route was reported to be the most scenic, so a big unhappy face on that one

    Aside from the disappointments, we would return to this park again (but perhaps with a kevlar or royalex canoe) There also appears to be plenty of accessible crown land lakes nearby for exploration, which I hope to do next time. That is, if we make it past Grundy Lake. We did a drive through on the way home and it looks like the best Ontario has to offer. Some truly astounding sites there! That's on next years list....
     
  2. ccptbo

    ccptbo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Canoe2Fish.....this park was, and still on, our list for next year. It won't happen this year but now that I read your review, it's definitely on the list. Hiking and kayaking are big with our family....as are bike trails. Each of the kids have their own kayak and if the portage is small enough, I'm sure they could each tackle their own kayak.

    Great review!! Thank you!
     
  3. bols2Dawall

    bols2Dawall S.W. Ontario

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    actually a buddy from work had his PUP destroyed in that toronado
     
  4. Canoe2fish

    Canoe2fish Member

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    I hope you can make it. You may not have to portage issues if it isn't a really hot dry summer. I don't recall bike trails however the park is big enough with the road system and along the beach park area that riding bikes should be fun for the kids.

    One thing I should mention is that there is a little bit of truck traffic through the night as It is the direct route to Timmins. I did not find it awful however you can hear them for a long time. It's certainly not like Ostler lake!
     
  5. Canoe2fish

    Canoe2fish Member

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    I can't imagine many things that would be scarier than that. there's nowhere to hide when the trees start coming down...that and you can't see it coming
     

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