Canada is full of incredible canoe and kayak routes. From remote, mountain-lined lake circuits to stunning sea kayak routes among uninhabited islands and challenging northern rivers that stretch for thousands of kilometres, adventure awaits the intrepid paddler from coast to coast. With the New Year upon us, the BRMB team is getting ready to cross as many of these iconic paddles off our bucket list as possible in 2019. To get you inspired to set out on an adventure of your own, we’ve put together the following list of must-paddle destinations across the country. We hope it will inspire you to get out and make some unforgettable memories in a canoe or kayak!

 

Bowron Lakes Canoe Route, British Columbia

Known as one of the best wilderness canoe trips in North America, the Bowron Lakes Canoe Route features a mix of lake and river paddling leading you through the majestic Cariboo Mountains. The entire circuit stretches for 108 km (67 mi), allow at least 6 days. If time is short, it is possible to do a shorter run of just the western lakes. Either way, you can expect an incredible wilderness experience with well-maintained portages and plenty of backcountry camping spots. Since this route is so esteemed among paddlers, it does see its fair share of traffic and there is a limit on the amount of paddlers that can set out each day – reservations are required prior to putting in.

 

Image via / Cariboo Chilcotin Coast BC Mapbook

 

Maligne Lake, Alberta

Maligne Lake is found in Jasper National Park and is home to Spirit Island, one of the most photographed spots in the world. The rest of the lake is beautiful as well, and it will take you the better of a day to paddle its 22 km (13 mi) length – the further you paddle, the more dramatic the mountain scenery becomes. Paddle-access camping can be found at Hidden Cove, Fisherman’s Bay and Coronet Creek, so you can take your time on the lake and soak in your surroundings over multiple days.

 

Image via / Parks Canada

 

Churchill River, Saskatchewan

Known as the quintessential Saskatchewan canoe trip, this is typically a week-long, fly-in trip that incorporates everything from glassy, tranquil lakes to one of the province's highest waterfalls, the 24 metre (78 ft) tall Nistowiak Falls. While you will certainly want to portage around those, there are plenty of rapids along the route that are suitable for all skill levels, and the trip can be broken up into any number of shorter sections for those not wanting to commit to the entire length. However, we recommend spending as long as possible on this beautiful river in order to enjoy the sights and sounds of Saskatchewan's northern wilderness.

 

Image via / Tourism Saskatchewan

 

Caddy Lake, Manitoba

One of many lakes in Whiteshell Provincial Park that offers excellent paddling, this one stands out for its rock tunnels blasted through solid granite that can be paddled through when the water level is right. With poplar forests lining the shore and plenty of wildlife to keep your eyes out for, this is truly a bucket list paddle. And if you are looking to step your adventure up to the next level, there are numerous nearby lakes that can be paddled or portaged to, or you can even take on the 168 km (105 mi) Whiteshell Park Canoe Route.

 

Image via / tripadvisor.ca

 

Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario

With 645 km² (249 mi²) of backcountry wilderness to explore and 183 paddle-access campsites spread out across over 50 lakes, Killarney Provincial Park offers virtually limitless canoeing and kayaking options. From casual day paddles to extended canoe trips such as 45 km (28 mi) Threenarrows Lake Loop, the 23 km (14 mi)  Killarney Lake Loop and even the 100 km (62 mi) North Boundary Loop, which includes 35 portages, there is something for every type of paddler to cross off their bucket-list here.

 

Image via / Eastern Canada GPS Maps

 

Noire River, Quebec

This beautiful whitewater river originates in the tiny lakes and streams of the Laurentian Highlands, wandering through small ponds and beaver swamps before asserting its full force and leading through 25 different rapids and over several waterfalls and ledges. Considering the number of obstacles, portage distance is usually quite low and you can often spot moose, fox and mink on the shore while beaver, otter and turtles swim the water. The Noir River should be crossed off any whitewater paddler’s bucket list.

 

Image via / blackfeather.com

 

Grand Manan Sea Kayak Route, New Brunswick

Skirting the east side of Grand Manan Island and its archipelago, this fairly difficult voyage spans approximately 40 km (25 mi) and is ruled by the world-famous Bay of Fundy tides. Whales, seals and seabirds can be seen all along the route, while abandoned houses and old lighthouses dot the shoreline. Coastal communities post tide charts to assist with navigating the waters, and there are more than a couple impressive rock formations to marvel at, including the Precambrian cliffs at Fish Head. If a dramatic ocean kayak is on your adventure bucket list, look no further.

 

Image via / New Brunswick Mapbook

 

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia

Found close to Lunenburg, this sheltered coastline seems to have been made for ocean kayaking. The maze of fifty-plus islands has narrow passages lined with golden yellow rockweed that can only be navigated by paddlers, with the greenish-blue stratified slate for which the area is named providing a picture-perfect background to your bucket list East Coast paddling adventure. Looking below, the clear and shallow waters reveal a whole universe of sea life.

 

Image via / Eastern Canada GPS Maps

 

Dildo Run, Newfoundland

Dildo Run is one of Newfoundland's premiere ocean paddling routes, with some 365 islands clustered within a 110 km² (42 mi²) area that are perfect for exploring via kayak. Launching from Dildo Run Provincial Park, there are a number of day or overnight trips to explore, including camping on Gooseberry Island or viewing humpback and minke whales from Dunnage Island. To the north, icebergs can be seen drifting along the coast. In the summer, tide pools are created along the area's rocky shoreline, exposing a variety of marine life. No matter which season you choose, Dildo Run offers a Maritime paddling adventure that needs to be crossed off your bucket list.

 

Image via / capelahaveadventures.ca

 

Alsek River, Yukon

One of the Yukon’s most iconic paddling rivers, the Alsek flows southward from its source at the confluence of the Dezadeash and Kaskawulsh Rivers through the breathtaking glacially formed valleys of the St. Elias Mountains. Glaciers still hang overhead, making for some of the most impressive scenery you will see in your life, and your surroundings only become more majestic as you meander through Kluane National Park, eventually joining with the Tatshenshini River in BC and continuing on to Alaska for a total distance of around 400 km (250 mi). A stunning Yukon wilderness paddle, the Alsek needs to be canoed to be believed.

 

Image via / Northern Canada GPS Maps

 

South Nahanni River, Northwest Territories

The South Nahanni is known as one of the country’s most spectacular paddling rivers, flowing from a group of ponds near the Yukon border all the way to the Liard River some 600 km (370 mi) away. Along the way the river leads you through 50 km (31 mi) long rock gardens, canyons up to a kilometre deep and past Virginia Falls, a 90 metre (295 ft) cascade that dwarfs famous waterfalls like Niagara. For intermediate paddlers who don’t mind spending a week or two in the wilderness, the South Nahanni can be the canoe trip of a lifetime.

 

Image via / Nahanni River Adventures

 

Pond Inlet, Nunavut

Located on Baffin Island’s remote north coast, the community of Pond Inlet gives you access to the beautiful sea kayaking opportunities on Eclipse Sound. Once the thick arctic ice finally melts in mid summer, paddlers can explore the many fjords and bays that line the coastline, with foxes, caribou and bears visible on shore. These are also the summering grounds of the mystical narwhal, with pods of up to 100 of these creatures visible at one time. The abundant wildlife and the rugged arctic landscape make this an unforgettable sea kayaking adventure.

 

Image via / blackfeather.com

 

You can navigate your way through these and many more bucket-list paddles with the help of our Backroad Mapbooks and GPS Maps! We hope we have inspired you to gear up and hit the water - be sure to share your paddling adventures with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to be featured on our feed and win prizes!