After Lake Nipissing and Trout Lake, Otter Lake is the largest lake in the City of North Bay. Once threatened by development, Otter Lake remains a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The trail system, in part, sits on an area which was a rare ecological gift from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to the City of North Bay. Conditions of the gift were that the 500 acre parcel of land was to remain in a natural state and be used as a recreation park. In 2016, the City of North Bay deemed the property surplus but local conservationists banded together and saved the property from sale to private interests. Today, the Otter Lake Recreation Area is a pristine, undeveloped, natural area with interesting geographical, natural and human history (it was once home to the Canadian Sunbathing Association – a nudist colony dating back to 1948).
It is an excellent area in which to hike, canoe, orienteer, and snowshoe. Just 15 minutes from downtown North Bay, it’s possibly the best kept secret of the city. The trails are intermittently marked with a map at intersections. The main trail is dedicated to the memory of Jean-Marc Filion whose efforts helped save the recreation area. There are two access roads to Otter Lake Recreational Lands – the South Access Road (Widdifield Station Road) and the North Access Road (McGruther’s Road).
Trailhead UTM 630196 mE x 5139951 mN
Ownership City of North Bay
Length 4.1 km
Activities Hiking, Mountain Biking, Paddling, Snowshoeing
Amenities Public Beach
Difficulty Easy to Moderate
Level of Development Minimally Developed
Seasons All Season
Rules for Use
- respect and love the land
- keep it clean – pack out your garbage and pick up any garbage that you see
South Access Road – From the HWY 11/17 junction near Seymour Street, head northwest on HWY 11/17. Turn right onto Trout Lake Road and travel for about 15 km (9.3 mi). Turn left at Widdifield Station Road, and about 4 km (2.5 mi) later you will see a sign posted on a tree at the Southern Access entrance. North Access Road – From the HWY 11/17 junction near Seymour Street, head northwest on HWY 11/17. Turn right onto Trout Lake Road for about 12 km (7.5 mi). Turn left at Four Mile Lake Road, and after 8 km (5 mi), right on Chadbourne Drive. McGruther's Road will appear on the right after 3 km (1.9 mi).