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Ootsa Lake Circle Tour

Burns Lake, Canada
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Ootsa Lake Circle Tour
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richard c wrote a review Sep. 2020
Vancouver, Canada7 contributions3 helpful votes
The circle tour is 150 kms roundtrip from Francois Lake Southbank Ferry terminal back to the start at the ferry terminal on the North side. Only 60 kms are on paved asphalt and the other 90 kms are on dirt and gravel. Tried doing some research but nothing mentioned this. The road is windy and undulating which makes for a pleasant drive, but you definitely don't want to drive your exotic car there. My old Civic made it with no issues. The speed limit most of the route is 80 km/hr, but I kept my speed around 60 most the time...I just didn't want to stress the suspension on my old car. In total, it took me 2.5 hrs to complete the loop. Side note...I tried to go to Uncha Lake, but I drove about 19 kms on a gravel road to reach a private property where i was greeted by 3 barking dogs. So I never made it to the lake. Goggle maps led me to a dead end, so I wouldn't suggest you try it. I ended up wasting 50 mins doing that useless drive.
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Date of experience: September 2020
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DisneyDarwin wrote a review Sep. 2019
Spring, Texas942 contributions469 helpful votes
While this trip doesn't feature endless jawdropping scenes, it is pretty and there are some nice views along the way. The trip on the ferry is enjoyable, and exploring the countryside and lakeside was fun, too. It's pretty remote with a mix of wild land and ranch country --- we even dodged a few cows on some back roads. A very nice drive on a sunny day.
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Date of experience: August 2019
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Julie C wrote a review Aug. 2017
Terranora, Australia265 contributions63 helpful votes
We had been warned that the unpaved part through the forest was rutted because of the timber trucks, and that the roads were very confusing with no proper markings. So we only did the section between Francois Lake ferry and Burns Lake, which is the tarred part of the road. This was a very beautiful route, past the 3 large lakes. The lake is 2¾ km wide where the ferry goes across. The 60 m ferry can hold 56 cars and 174 people. They count everyone on each trip which takes about 14 -18 min. The ferry guys said that once a skunk came on, and no one was brave enough to shoo it off, but it happily wandered off on the other side. It was interesting to ride the ferry.
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Date of experience: August 2017
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travelsinbc wrote a review Aug. 2009
Vancouver, Canada333 contributions147 helpful votes
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We were very eager to do this route after looking at it on the internet for more information. The Ootsa Lake Circle Tour starts in Burns Lake, where you will go at the intersection from Highway 16, the Yellow Head Highway to Highway 35, and you follow this road, passing a ski club, and then you find yourself at the Francois Lake Ferry Terminal. The Francois Lake ferry runs approximately every 30 min., and will take you along to Southlands, which gives you the starting point primarily for this exciting wilderness route. When you get off the ferry, then you go through some small communities with limited resources, but some of them will have fuel, and will have some food, and then theo ther ones will not have anything. The communities that you will pass through during the journey are Takysie Lake, Grassy Plains, Danskin, and Eakin Settlement. There are also several of key attractions that you would be interested in searching. We however, didn't visit all of them with the fact that you really need to have the full day to attempt all of the attractions, but we were able to get to some of them. The attractions are: The Eagle Creek Fairgrounds, Omenica Ski Club, Chesalata River and Falls, Skins Spillway, the entrance way to North Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, Nadina Mountain Recreation site, Little Andrews Bay Provincial Park, Francois Lake Recreational Site, and many other sites that are also along the way. The best suggestion is to visit the Visitors Center at Burns Lake, and they will be able to hand you a brochure, or you can check the circle tour out including the km markers by visiting the website and typing in "ootsa lake circle tour" and they will be able to show you the different sites as well. When you get to near the end of the circle tour, you will come across the area of trees that were burnt by the Swiss Fire that happened in 1983, and also a couple of saw mills that have a lot of bundles of lumber that are going to be used for a variety of projects. At the end of the tour, you're able to choose whether you would like to head east towards Houston and Burns Lake, or whether you would like to head west to Smithers or Telkwa. Please note that in many of these areas that it is very likely that you will see wildlife, such as bears, moose, deer, wolves, cougar etc. It is very important that you stay in your vehicle, even if you're wanting to take photos of them, and to mind the space. We didn't see any when we were going by, but I did speak to a conservation officer who knows the area well while waiting for the Francois ferry, and he was mentioning that it is very common to see wildlife especially near dusk or dawn, and also in the cooler portions of the day. This is also a route that has little or no fuel, or services such as food around, so you need to be self sufficient, i.e. with enough water, and other resources such as spare tire etc. Hope that you enjoy this route as much as we did.
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