Trip Length: 5-6 Days
Permit Required: Man Chain (Quetico #72) entry permit
A little peace and quiet in the Quetico is what you’ll find on Blackstone Lake. Your journey in to Blackstone will give you a variety of paddling and portaging on small and big water.
At Seagull Outfitters, we begin your Quetico journey by giving you a head start tow boat launch to Hook Island. As is standard, all Quetico trips from the Gunflint Trail begin with a stop at the Cache Bay ranger cabin to check in and confirm your permit and pay camping fees. Canadian fishing licenses are also sold at the cabin if you’ve not purchased them prior to the trip. See the Canadian Fishing Guidelines for details to prepare.
The permit you’ll need for Blackstone Lake is the Man Chain permit (#72). At Seagull, if you outfit any part of your trip with us, we handle the reservation process for all entry permits to ensure you get the right one, and as a courtesy to you.
From the ranger cabin, the way to Blackstone Lake is like many other routes through Cache Bay…over the Silver Falls portage. From the cabin, you’ll have to paddle across a large expanse of water that is Cache Bay. Getting your bearings is rather tricky when looking at the far shore two miles away while trying to pick out the 30 yard wide channel that leads to Silver Falls. So the best thing to do, is look at the north shoreline of Cache Bay, and pick out the highest point of the tree tops. Use this as your point of reference to paddle toward, and this will ensure that you don’t miss the entrance. As you get closer, things will become more apparent, and as you near the shoreline, the opening will start to appear just to your left.
Okay once over the Silver Falls portage you’ll paddle through the narrows that open up to Lake Saganagons. Paddle north and turn west to a back bay past a couple islands to where Saganagons narrows and the series of portages begin along the narrow, winding creek that leads to Blackstone. This route is seldom traveled because Blackstone is essentially a destination lake, but the portages are apparent and easily navigable.
Along the creek you’ll have to pull over a couple beaver dams and over a few portages, but the creek is deep and wide enough to paddle the entire way, save for the short beaver dams and obvious portages. This is a very pretty paddle and very quiet and peaceful. Watch for the moose along the way and enjoy the solitude.
You’ll enter from the northeast corner of the lake and once to Blackstone, you’ll more than likely find the lake to yourself. There are a few camp sites on the lake, but the largest and nicest of them is the one on the small island toward the center of the lake just off the point.
Anglers, you’ll find lake trout, smallmouth bass and northern pike on Blackstone itself. But on a couple of the nearby no named lakes between Blackstone and Slate Lakes (south of the creek you paddled in on), you’ll find largemouth bass, which is a rarity in the BWCA and Quetico. So take advantage of the opportunity and explore these lakes on a day trip and enjoy. Portages aren’t marked on maps, but scout it out and you’ll see how to make your way through. When you get to Seagull, we’ll be happy to show you on your maps.
On the south side of the lake, there is a seldom traveled portage that connects Blackstone to Bell Lake. This would be a good hiking and exploring option for a day trip, and with your day packs and an empty canoe, it will make the portage easier to negotiate.
Blackstone will offer you the privacy in which the Quetico Park is known. The island campsite will provide stunning views of the sunset each night, and will give you ample space to spread out.
When you decide it’s time to head back to civilization, you can travel the same creek you came in on, or make your way through the series of lakes that hold largemouth we mentioned earlier. This will take you into Slate Lake, and then you can return to Saganagons and then back out over the Silver Falls portage.
Blackstone Lake can be reached in a day’s paddle from Cache Bay, but you should plan on focusing on getting there instead of dawdling along the way because it will take you between six and seven hours to get to Blackstone from the ranger cabin in Cache Bay. Otherwise, if that’s too much in one day, you can pick one of the fine campsites on Saganagons that first night to get a good jump on Blackstone Creek the next day.
You should plan on at least five days for this trip. Since you’ll be base camping, your days will be spent exploring, fishing, relaxing, etc. So there will be no time schedule, and that’s always nice to have options to be spontaneous on a Quetico canoe trip.
If we here at Seagull can answer any more questions about this route, do send us an email or give us a call, we’d enjoy introducing you to this area.