Powell River is well known for its Forest Canoe Route. This paddling route follows a beautiful chain of lakes with portages inbetween. Not everyone is a canoe enthusiast, but you can enjoy these same lakes by car, truck or ATV. Recently, Wayne and I rode our quads to Nanton Lake and its Forest Service Recreation Site.
Nanton Lake offers wilderness camping with 25 sites that have picnic tables and fire rings along the lake's shore. Each one takes advantage of natural trees and bushes for privacy. It's primitive camping with pit toilets. Bring your own drinking water and enough supplies for the length of your stay. I've seen trailers and small RVs here, but I would recommend getting road advice if you aren't familiar with the area. Each year the Powell River ATV Club heads to Nanton Lake for a weekend of comraderee and off-road trail riding.
A small boat launch with floats into deeper water makes it a good spot for small boats, kayaks and, of course, canoes. Native Cutthroat Trout and Kokanee Salmon give anglers lots of sporting action. If you have a watercraft, you can even enter adjacent Horseshoe Lake without a portage.
To reach Nanton Lake take Highway 101 south from Powell River for 16 kilometres (1o miles) to Dixon Road in the Lang Bay area. Turn left onto Dixon Road. In about a kilometre it will turn into a dirt logging road. Just before you come to Lois Lake, take the Goat Lake Main one-way access road to the left. Stay on Goat Lake Main for about 20 kilometres (12.4 miles). There's a small vertical marker on the right at the entrance road to the Nanton Lake campground. If you are not familiar with the are,a it's a good idea to watch your mileage.
For more information, and to check road access restrictions, you can contact the Ministry of Forests at (604) 485-0700 or visit their office at 7077 Duncan Street in Powell River. Because there is active logging in the area during the week, access is limited to after 6:00 in the evening (this works in summer) or on weekends. Even then, be on the lookout for logging trucks.
The dirt road is usually in good shape (go slow for potholes) during the summer and fall months. Snow in the winter and mucky mud in the spring can limit access for vehicles without four-wheel drive and sometimes chains.
So if you are looking for some wilderness camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking or just relaxing in natural surroundings put Powell River and Nanton Lake on your list of places to visit.
If you want more information about exploring Powell River's backcountry I recommend reading Wayne's books Up the Main or Up the Winter Trail. They are both available online at www.PowellRiverBooks.com