Posted by Derek on Sep 3, 2009
Height: 2198 feet / 670 m
GPS recorded height: 2217 feet / 675 m
Lat/Lon: N48 21.283 W90 00.793
Line Parent: Tower Mountain
Key Col: N48 20.675 W90 01.146 (1969ft / 600m)
Clean Prominence: 229ft / 70m
Date Summited: August 20, 2009
Carson Creek Peak is the name given by Brian Back of OtterTooth.com to the fourth highest summit in Ontario. The peak is the second highest point atop a ridge which runs northeast from beyond Tower Mt. and the summit is marked by the Aldina fire tower. Carson Creek Peak is the highest road accessed peak in Ontario.
From Thunder Bay, drive west on Highway 11, and about 4 km before Kakabeka Falls, turn left onto 588 to Stanley. Follow 588 for 35 km through Stanley and Nolalu to the turnoff onto North Sideroad 1.6 km (1 mile) past the junction with Route 593. Follow this well graded dirt road for about 6 km to the intersection with Delints Road. At this point the road jogs left and than immediately right and continues northward in somewhat rougher condition. Keep left at forks at 6.7 km and 8.2 km. After this point the road turns west, and eventually heads south and crosses a small stream at 12.9 km. At 13.7 km, take the right fork and 300 m beyond at the 14 km mark, is a good spot for parking. The road beyond this point continues to get rougher so those with low clearance and 2-wheel drive vehicles should park here. The peak is still 5.9 km away, but it climbs gradually and the travel is entirely along 2-track roads.
17.5 km from 588 (3.5 km from the parking spot), a quad path to Carson Creek Peak branches to the left. The trail heads west –although overgrown it is fairly easy to travel. The trail rounds the mountain to its southern flank and begins to climb gradually northward up to the broad summit. At N48 21.156 W90 00.776, another overgrown track enters from the left which must be taken to complete the remaining 380 m to the Aldina fire tower and the summit.
Carson Creek Peak is a broad and flat summit and covered by dense bush. However, the spot directly under the tower appears to be the high point of land on the summit. The track continues past the summit and down the north side of the mountain and may eventually loop back with the incoming road at N48 20.979 W89 59.904.
00.0 km – Turnoff onto North Sideroad from 588
06.0 km – Intersection with Delints Road
06.7 km – Keep left at the fork
08.2 km – Keep left at the fork
13.7 km – Go right at the fork
14.0 km – Parking for low clearance and/or 2-wheel drive cars
17.5 km – Follow the overgrown track left (west)
19.6 km – Take the overgrown track on the left (heading north)
19.9 km – Summit and Aldina fire tower
This was the first mountain on my Thunder Bay area todo list and I probably picked the worst day to do it on. That morning I departed the Pancake Bay Provincial Park campground (North of Sault Ste Marie) and drove to Thunder Bay, arriving mid-afternoon. It had been raining all day and the skies showed no signs of clearing. Determined to keep to my plan and schedule, I departed Thunder Bay after having a quick lunch and arrived at the North Sideroad turnoff on 588 at 4:20 PM.
The road was in good shape and I was able to drive the 6.0 km to intersection with Delints Road fairly quickly. After the jog at the intersection, the road narrowed and the drive up slowed. Following the route I transcribed from Google Maps’ satellite imagery I navigated past several forks and finally when the road got too rough for my liking, I pulled over and parked. It was 5:00 PM and it was still raining, and I was still 6 km from the summit.
After a bit of thought I decided that I could make good time on the road in, even if it was pouring outside. I donned my rain gear and bravely set out up the road towards the peak.
The road climbed gradually and was an easy walk. I would imagine that more appropriate vehicles could easily make the drive right up to the quad path turnoff at N48 20.979 W89 59.904. Noticing several clumps of bear scat on the road, I pulled my bear bells out from under my pack cover to ensure a noisy hike for the rest of the trip.
Paying careful attention to my directions, as there’s a maze of diverging quad paths everwhere around the summit, I crept closer to my objective. With each new encounter of forked path, the more overgrown the route became. At times the trail was quite slushy and I had to dodge around some swampy bits. Always optimistic I expected to see the fire tower at the summit, but it wasn’t until I was practically on top of it that I finally got my first glimpse of it.
The Aldina fire tower stood before me, amid the fog and the rain. It was in great condition and I saw that the MNR had not bothered to remove the ladder up to the observation box (as is their custom). I took the usual summit photos, fighting to try to keep my camera dry, and waypointed what I felt to be the highest point on the mountain. Just in case, I followed the trail down the backside of the summit to confirm that I really was at the summit. The trail descended and did not appear to gain any elevation.
Returning to the treed summit, I didn’t bother to climb the ladder, as the fog didn’t allow much of a view and the rain would make it an uncomfortable experience. On a clear day there would be good views from the ladder, above the treeline.
The northern route from Boreal Road is visible as a red line on this satellite image with many of the roads in the vicinity highlighted in magenta. The approximate lat/lon for the turnoff from Boreal Road is N48.378883, W90.02153.