5 Incredible Canoe Routes
These five Canadian canoe routes offer exhilarating experiences for every level of paddler
As parks begin to open up and the camping season gets underway, we wanted to emphasize that there is no better way to experience the Canadian wilderness at a very safe distance than by going on a multi-day canoe trip. From peaceful lakes with hidden beaches to whitewater rivers cutting deep through canyons, these five canoe routes offer exhilarating experiences for every level of paddler.
Kejimkujik National Park, NS
The Peskowesk Lake System in Kejimkujik National Park, which is roughly 48 kilometres long, is perfect place for novice paddlers to explore by canoe thanks to its calm, flat waters and easy portage routes that vary in distance from 150 metres to 2 kilometres. Both novice and experienced paddlers alike will not be disappointed by the scenery; from crystal clear water and hidden beaches to windswept pines and wildlife, you’ll be treated to incredible views from sunrise to sunset.
Algonquin Provincial Park, ON
With over 2000 kilometers of canoe routes, Algonquin Park offers endless possibilities for paddling. For experienced paddlers, there are several whitewater routes, including the main Petawawa River downstream from Cedar Lake. If a two- or three-day cruise is more your style, head to Grand Lake where you can enjoy views of spectacular cliffs, pine forests and sandy beaches. If you’re up for a paddle-and-portage adventure, journey along the Tim, the Nipissing, and the Crow rivers.
The Bloodvein River, MB
The Bloodvein River in Atikaki Provincial Park is a rugged and pristine whitewater river that flows over 200 kilometres from the Ontario-Manitoba, through the Canadian Shield, and into Lake Winnipeg. Although it’s whitewater, it’s suitable for novice through expert paddlers and is well worth the 8-15 day journey. It was designated as Manitoba's first Canadian Heritage River in 1987, and has remained virtually unchanged since the retreat of the last glaciers 11,000 years ago – you can even still see faint Anishinaabe pictographs along the red granite walls of the riverbed.
The Bowron Lakes Circuit, BC
The 116-kilometre Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit, situated in Bowron Lake Park on the western slopes of the Cariboo Mountain Range, is one of the most diverse and beautiful canoe trips in Canada. The journey, which typically takes between 6-10 days depending on your level of paddling experience, involves six major lakes and two rivers linked by numerous connecting portages. For new paddlers looking for a shorter trip, the west side of the circuit can be paddled in two to four days.
The Nahanni River, NWT
The Nahanni River, located roughly 500 kilometres west of Yellowknife, is considered to be the Mount Everest of paddling in Canada—a majestic and remote natural wonder that has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Nahanni River features a massive waterfall (that’s twice the size of Niagara Falls), spectacular canyons and hot springs, well as other notable highlights, including the Tufa Mounds (limestone mounds formed by geothermal activity) and Pulpit Rock. Because this river is whitewater and can be dangerous, inexperienced paddlers will want to go with an outfitter or guide for this eight-day journey.