Experience true wilderness in Quetico Provincial Park

This week’s guest post is from adventure traveler and travel blogger Ted Nelson. His blog Traveling Ted is a must-read for any adventure traveler.

Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada is a true wilderness experience. Many parks and places refer to what lies inside their boundary as wilderness. So much so that it has become cliché. The word “wilderness” is the overused catch phrase of adventure travel much like hidden gem and paradise are to less extreme travel.

Nordhouse Dunes in Maniestee National Forest in MI. If a sign has to tell you it’s wilderness- is it really? Photo/ Ted Nelson

On a hiking trip in the Nordhouse Dunes in the lower portion of Michigan there is a sign on a Manistee National Forest trailhead that tells the hiker they are entering a wilderness area. I have seen similar signs in the Badlands and the Black Hills.

Ted with canoe portaging Silver Falls, Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Photo/Ted Nelson

One will not find any signs upon entering Quetico that they are entering a wilderness area. In fact, there are no signs at all. Since there are no signs to point the way one who enters the canoe country wilderness needs to make sure they brush up on their map skills. There are only islands, lakes, and points that navigators must align on the map to show them the way. There is always a chance that lost canoeists can ask someone for directions: only problem is you might not see anyone else.

Island in Lake Saganagons, Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Photo/Ted Nelson

On this same “wilderness” trip in Michigan our group was serenaded until late in the night by a group of beer drinking college students. Only the eerie call of the loon and if one is lucky the lonely call of the wolf will keep adventure travelers awake in Quetico. On a trip last summer we did not talk to another human being for four days.

Silver Falls, Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada Photo/Ted Nelson

In most wilderness areas the parks will always strongly caution visitors to treat the drinking water. This step is not necessary in Quetico. The only advice they give in Quetico is to not harvest water too near the shore as that is where the mosquito larvae lay. A bottle full of mosquito larvae water is not life threatening and only provides some extra protein. Other than that caveat one can dip their canteen into cool, clear, pure, crystalline water in any lake without treatment.

Freshly caught smallmouth bass, photo Ted Nelson

Where one finds wilderness and pure water they can be sure to find great fishing. Over angling is non-existent in lakes where it takes two days of hard work to get to and motor boats are not allowed. Not many fishermen are inclined to canoe twenty miles and portage multiple times over inhospitable terrain to catch fish. If this adventure is for you, look forward to some tasty walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass.

Looking back at 2nd falls in the Falls Chain, Quetico Provincial Park, Ontari0, Canada photo Ted Nelson

Every place that has a few trees, a river and some lakes thinks they are a wilderness. Every place that does has its own appeal. For me the real wilderness is found in Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. The call of loon, the pure waters, the haunting beauty, and the remoteness keeps me coming back.

  Editor’s note: If you have any experiences in Ontario Provincial Parks you want to share, we’d love to hear about them.

Ted Nelson is entering his fourth decade adventure traveling. He has canoed, hike, and skied all over the U.S. from the Everglades to northern Minnesota and from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians. He has also traveled through Europe and Southeast Asia. Follow his adventures on his blog, Traveling Ted  and follow him on Twitter.


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5 Responses to “Experience true wilderness in Quetico Provincial Park”

  1. Ted Nelson
    March 9, 2019 at 1:18 pm #

    Quetico is a beautiful place and it looks beautiful on your website. Thanks for allowing me to contribute.

    • Billie Frank
      March 10, 2019 at 9:30 am #

      We’re delighted that you agreed to do a guest post. Quetico was the perfect choice. Thanks for the kind words, it does look great. Steve gets the credit for the layout and of course your wonderful wilderness photos provide much of the beauty. My favorites: the island in Lake Saganagons, I love the light and shadow. And the waterfall, you can almost hear it roar. Thanks for your terrific post.

  2. Karen
    March 10, 2019 at 5:19 am #

    I’ve canoed the Boundary Waters in MN, but I remember Quetico as much wilder and wonderful. Thanks for the memories!

    • Ted Nelson
      March 10, 2019 at 8:10 am #

      The Boundary Waters allows 200,000 people a year inside their borders where Quetico allows only 20,000 a year. You are correct Karen, Quetico is much more wilder.

  3. Charles Higgins
    March 10, 2019 at 9:21 pm #

    Gorgeous place..great descriptive photos…

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