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Paddle Lunenburg/Queens

Lake Route 6: McGowan Lake / Dean Lake

Record #: LQR0041
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019
Last Full Update: 07 Nov 2014


Public Bulletin
Neither South Shore nor the Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association own or control the canoe routes, portages or campsites listed in this guide, and assume no responsibility or liability for the safety of those using the canoe routes, walking the portages, or using the campsites. 
lt is recommended that users approach all canoe routes, portages and campsites in a safe and responsible manner. Conditions can change through fluctuating water levels, natural debris, and logging activity. Arrangements must be made directly with the owners of the portages and campsites. 
South Shore and Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association are not liable for any errors or omissions in this guide.


Located In South Shore Region
Where To Find Us
Caledonia, NS
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


Phone 902-275-3490
Contact Chad Haughn, President, LQRCDA

Description & Services

A pretty lake still mostly undeveloped with quiet lily-filled coves. 
Where: Near Caledonia 
Skill Level: Beginner 
Time: Day trip 
Distance: 10 km around lake 
Click map to enlarge 
McGowan Lake is a dammed lake that is now connected to Dean Lake above it. The higher water has flooded back into the low spots around the two lakes creating some stump filled marshes in Dean Lake. But for the most part, both lakes are attractive with few cottages though lots have been subdivided and more can be expected. 
On the west side of McGowan Lake are a few coves filled with white and yellow lilies as well as a few huge beaver lodges. The rock ledges between the two lakes make for an eye catching feature and place to stop and picnic or swim. Likely the narrows here was a short river before McGowan Lake was dammed. For the most part the shoreline is gentle and accessible with a few sandy beaches and islands. Expect to see loons, osprey and terns fishing and maybe hear a beaver. 
Water Safety Notes (See lake notes) 
Points of Interest 
1 McGowan Lake Fish Hatchery - This provincial hatchery raises mostly speckled trout and is well set up for visitors. There is a small indoor interpretive centre as well as parking, washrooms, and a picnic area and trails along Eel Lake. The most memorable part of your visit may be watching thousands of fish thrash around in the outdoor raceways as they get fed. Staff are good natured about answering questions and showing you around. 
2 Dam - This dam is at the end of a pleasant wooded road beginning at the depot. It raises the water level to create power at the station next to the hatchery. 
Access Point One - McGowan Lake Depot 
From Caledonia, travel north up Route 8. About three kms from town, turn right onto Cushing Road. Go 2.4 km and turn right at the T. Take your first left over the bridge. Go past the Fish Hatchery and stop just before the small bridge to the depot by the lake edge. The gentle shoreline here provides easy access. Be careful not to block traffic as this is a working DNR fire depot with trucks and helicopters on the go. A public parking area is 
available a short walk away at the fish hatchery. 
Access Point Two - north end of Dean Lake 
About 9 km north of Caledonia on Route 8, turn right to Albany New and go about 5 kms to a bridge across the Medway River. From here it is about 800 m to Dean Lake. Suggested put in is river left, well below the bridge to avoid a rock ledge that extends across from river right. Access from the right shore would require some strong if not impossible back ferrying to complete the turn. The river soon widens but may only be possible to paddle when the water is high. 
West Branch Medway River(See Canoe Annapolis County, Route 22) The West Branch (rated expert) is mapped and described in Canoe Annapolis County, a similar publication to this one. It connects with this map at Access Point Two. 
The Medway River - River Route 4 
If you are travelling from Dean Lake and wish to continue down the Medway River, exit at Access Point One.A carry of 200m on an easy road surface will get you to Eel Lake. Make a direct line down the road to the west of the hatchery toward Eel Lake. Once past the high voltage area, swing to your left and put in just before a small foot bridge. The first part of the Medway flowing out of Eel Lake is fast with some challenging rapids. Check out the route description and scout on river right. 
For multi-route trips that include this route see Lake Notes. 
For more information 
Peter Rogers, Loon Lake Outfitters, 902-682-2220 (wk) 
Topographic map - Kejimkujik 21 A/6
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information