Swan Lake Canoe Route


 The Swan Lake Route is the most popular of the two systems, covering 60 miles and 30 lakes and connected by shorter portages with access to the 17 mile long Moose River. Canoeing on this system offers not only scenic beauty, but excellent wildlife viewing and good rainbow trout fishing.

For a map of this route visit our Maps site.


From the West Entrance at Canoe Lake (located at mile 3.5 on Swan Lake Road), the most common two day trip heads from Canoe Lake to Spruce Lake and back. From the East Entrance at Portage Lake (located at mile 9.5 on Swan Lake Road), canoeing to Swan Lake and back is a longer, but still popular weekend trip. Both these trips provide canoe system adventure without long portages.

To access the Moose River, travel from the East Entrance to Swan Lake. From Swan Lake to Izak Walton State Recreation Area, plan either an 8-10 hour day or an overnight trip. The upper portion of the Moose River winds through alder thickets and black spruce forest. On the middle stretch, the river broadens allowing paddlers to relax and enjoy the moderate flowing waters. Where the west fork of the Moose River joins the main stem, high banks with white spruce forest make good areas for dry campsites. On the lower stretch of the Moose River before takeout at Izak Walton State Recreation Area, the river meanders into large oxbow bends. Upstream winds make this last stretch "slow going" on most summer afternoons.This canoe route has two entrances: west at Canoe Lake and east at Portage Lake. From either entrance the canoeist can access 30 lakes and the Moose River. The entire 60-mile route can be traversed in less than one week. However, leisurely travel will provide additional days of wildlife viewing, camping, and fishing. The north passage has shorter portages and receives the highest use of the two canoe systems.

Routes with approximate travel times:

North Passage

Canoe Lake via Gavia Lake to Portage Lake

2-3 days

Central Passage

Canoe Lake via Loon Lake to Portage Lake

2-3 days

East Passage

Portage Lake to Swan Lake to Moose River Bridge

3-4 days