At the north end of Hutch Lake is a lovely recreation area. As you drive north of High Level, watch for the small “Hutch Lake Cottage Area” sign about 30 km from town BUT DON’T TURN HERE. About 3 km farther down the highway, turn left at the blue “Hutch Lake Recreation Area” sign and a brown “Watt Mountain Tower” sign. Follow this road for about 1 km again — you’ll see the lake and a creek on your left — and take the first left. [map]

The view from the top of Watt Mountain

If you didn’t turn here, you could follow this road all the way to the top of Watt Mountain for a great view, and eventually it leads to a forestry lookout tower. It takes a while to drive all the way to the tower, but if you’re curious, go for it. It’s fenced all the way around and forestry has a policy that won’t allow visitors to climb the tower, but if you want to see it, make the drive. Be aware that this road can be super-muddy and pot-holey if it’s been raining lately!

Day-Use Area

Upper part of day use area

Once you turn left, follow the road as it curves until you see the day-use area (about another kilometer). Thanks to the caretakers, there is a nice lawn, picnic tables, fire pits, lots of firewood, a sand pile for kids to play in, and super-clean outhouses. Down the hill towards the lake you’ll see the beach, horseshoe pits and beach volleyball.

If you drive past the day use area, you can turn off at the boat launch and dock, both of which are in great shape. There are several piles of gravel there right now, too, because the County is planning on making more campsites in the near future. Which brings us to…

The Campground

Keep following the road for another 2 km to get to the campground. Be careful as it’s a pretty narrow road and if you meet someone on it, you’ll have to move to the very edge of the road. There are 13 camp sites — great for tents and small trailers, but no pull-through ones for those of you with big RVs. You’ll have to back them in. There are lots of trees and walking trails, including a trail down to the water.
It costs $12/night, and the campsite is open from May 15 – Sept 15. It’s very pretty in the fall (see photos below). Please see the Mackenzie County’s webpage (scroll down to Hutch Lake) for more info.

Autumn Photos