Whether you are looking for a place to beetle about the lake, explore the dramatic coast or take an extended trip into the Canadian backcountry, our Backroad Mapbooks are your source for canoeing in Canada. Not only do we list all of the parks and recreation areas that are popular with canoeists or kayakers, but we also have a separate Paddling section that includes popular lakes, canoe routes and even rivers that can be explored in a canoe.
On the maps you will see various canoe routes, ocean paddling opportunities and river routes clearly marked on the maps. From access points to portages and notable rapids we try to show it all. In addition to the maps, our writing notes the main features of the routes. So if you are new to an area or are looking for a unique backcountry canoe trip, then let Backroad Mapbooks be your guide.
What to look for
Line Style/Symbol on the maps
Look for these symbols on our maps to find the perfect paddling route.
Symbol in the writing
Look for this symbol in our refernece to see where you can paddle.
Write-up in Reference
Look for the paddling section in our books to find the most popular routes.
Newsletter's Featured Trips For more Featured Trails check out our Blog.
Vancouver Island BC: Clayoquot Sound (Map 13, Inset 20)
From Tofino, a huge, protected area full of bays and inlets and channels lies before you. Head southeast through Browning Passage and down into Grice Bay. Take a short trip to Meares Island or head north for a multi-day adventure, perhaps culminating at the most popular destination in the area, Hot Springs Cove. Depending on how much time you spend exploring Vargas and Flores Islands, it should take two or three days to reach the hot springs.
Eastern Ontario: Barron Canyon Route (Map 46/C7–E7)
The Barron Canyon is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of Algonquin Park. The put-in and parking area for this route can be found at Algonquin Park's Grand Lake-Achray Access Point. Park permits can be purchased at the Sand Lake Gate. This easy route travels along the Barron River, where it travels through the immense gorge. In some areas, the canyon walls rise over 100 metres (330 ft) above the river. The most popular base camp area is on Stratton Lake. There are 19 rustic canoe sites and another 8 trail access sites on the lake. From the put-in at Grand Lake, travel south to the Grand Lake Dam where there is a short portage into Stratton Lake. From St. Andrews Lake, trippers can travel across High Falls and Opalescent Lakes before entering Bringham Lake. Two portages from Bringham Lake bring adventurers to the marvellous Barron Canyon. The river is quite slow through the canyon, allowing time to relax and enjoy the scenery. Visitors can return to the base camp backtracking the same or alternatively, from Opalescent Lake, by travelling in an east loop.
Manitoba: Bloodvein River (Map 57/F4–56/B7)
The Bloodvein River is one of Manitoba's best known rivers and is frequently ranked as one of the best whitewater canoeing rivers in Canada. The Manitoba section alone sports 112 sets of rapids and falls, 51 of which need to be portaged. Along the way, the wild, remote river passes through quiet lakes and wild rice marshes. Anglers will find excellent fishing for pike, walleye, lake trout and sturgeon. Wildlife viewers will find all manner of animals, large and small. Folks with an anthropological or historical bent will find pictographs dating back hundreds of years and archaeological sites that date back thousands of years. The river is generally accessed by air or by water from Wallace Lake or Red Lake. And if the 306 km (190 miles) of paddling the river offers isn't enough, there are thousands of kilometres of rivers and lakes that can be stitched together through Manitoba and Ontario.
Nova Scotia: Liscomb Island (Map 25/E3)
Paddle into the hold of a shipwreck and pass a boulder carved with Captain Kidd's name on this route. The shipwreck of the Fury happened in 1965, but it still one of the largest exposed sunken hulls along the coastline. The stone engravings have never been authenticated as truly being Kidd's, but you can find them about 0.5 km down the Little Liscombe Road on a small point where Gaspereau Brook enters the salt water. The access point is found at the Little Liscomb Government Wharf, which is about 2.5 km (1.2 miles) from Liscomb. The trip can be one or two days, with a total of about 15 km (9.3 miles). Exercise caution on this route as cresting waves can develop in a short time if the wind gets strong. A string of shoals stretch east from the tip of Liscomb Island and you may want to reach the wreck from the more sheltered area around Sonora.
Northeastern Ontario: Missinaibi River Route (Map 50/A6–77/C5)
The Missinaibi is one of Northern Ontario's signature paddles. While much of the river is Grade I and II, there are a number of significant waterfalls and rapids along the way including Thunder House Falls and Hell's Gate Rapids. At Portage Island, the Missinaibi and the Mattagami join together to form the Moose River. It is possible to take-out at the Moose River Crossing (where the trail to Moosonee crosses the river) or continue down the Moose to Moosonee (see Moose River, below). The trip is 556 km (345 miles) from Missinaibi Lake to the Moose River Crossing and will take about three weeks to complete. Between Missinaibi Lake and Mattice (236 km/146 miles) where the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 11) crosses the river, there are a few places to access the river. There are also 28 portages. North of Mattice the river is basically inaccessible by land.