Canadian Canoe Adventures You Don't Want to Miss

Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies
Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies | © Deb MacFadden / Flickr

Canada is known for its incredible wildlife, rugged coastline, and stunning scenery. One of the best ways to see all of these elements is on a kayaking trip. Check out these 10 incredible canoeing adventures across Canada, which range from half-day to weekly explorations.

1. Quetico Provincial Park


Located 160 kilometers (99 miles) west of Thunder Bay in rural Ontario, Quetico Provincial Park receives just 10,000 visitors annually. The park is known for its towering rocky cliffs, over 2,000 lakes, forests, and cascading waterfalls. It adjoins the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota and offers an infinite amount of backcountry canoeing opportunities, which makes it a must-visit for canoe enthusiasts. The 10-day Hunter Island Loop is one popular option.

2. Bloodvein River

Forest, Park

Named after its red granite bedrock, Bloodvein River flows west from Woodland Caribou Provincial Park and Atikaki Provincial Park in northwest Ontario. It ends in Lake Winnipeg’s east side and goes through the boreal forest area of the Canadian Shield. A trip along Bloodvein River can take between nine and 15 days. First Nation people have used the river for transport for centuries, so their petroglyphs and imagery can still be seen on the river’s shoreline cliffs.

3. Canada's Rocky Mountains


Emerald Lake in the Canadian Rockies
© Deb MacFadden / Flickr
There are various kayaking tours to choose from in the Canadian Rockies—take your pick of pristine, glacial-fed turquoise lakes. Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park, and Lake Louise in Banff National Park are just some lakes that offer canoe rentals within the Canadian Rockies. Banff Canoe Club allows you to step back in time and do a voyageur canoe tour along the Bow River. They also do kayak rentals if you want to go on your own journey.

4. Rideau Canal

Historical Landmark

4. Rideau Canal
© PoYang_博仰 / Flickr
Stretching 202 kilometers (125 miles) from Canada’s capital to Kingston, the Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a perfect place to paddle. If you want to tackle it in its entirety, it’s best to set aside six to 10 days and begin in Kingston. The canal is less crowded on the cusps of summer, such as May/June and September/October. There’s also many access points and campsites along the way. For a half-day adventure, kayak from Ottawa’s Dow Lake to Chateau Laurier.

5. French River


Georgian Bay scenery
© Brett Hodnett / Flickr
Ontario’s French River runs 110 kilometers (68 miles) from Lake Nipissing to picturesque Georgian Bay. It’s historically significant in Canada, as it was the first designated Canadian Heritage River. It’s a great canoeing adventure for families and beginner kayakers and is a good idea for a long weekend trip during the summer. Paddle the route used by First Nations, French Explorers, and fur traders.

6. Bowron Lakes Circuit


The Bowron Lakes Circuit was named one of the world’s top 10 canoe trips by Outside Magazine. It includes a chain of lakes and rivers in Bowron Lakes Provincial Park. It’s a 116-kilometer (72-mile) trip, and most people begin by going in a clockwise direction from Kibbee Lake. Experts say it’s an easy adventure to do alone, which can take from six to 10 days.

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