Best of Manitoba Canoeing

Guest Post by John Rivers

Manitoba is known for its beautiful landscape of lakes, rivers, mountains and forests. Manitoba has a lot to offer during the summer months, including hiking, biking and camping. However, sometimes it is best to get away from the trails and relax on the open waters. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a Manitoba local, here are some of the best canoeing destinations for your next visit.

Caddy Lake Tunnels

The Caddy Lake Tunnels route in Whiteshell Provincial Park features man-made tunnels that are perfect for an adventurous day trip or a weekend getaway. The tunnels, located near the Manitoba – Ontario border, were blasted through granite rock when the railways were built creating a perfect spot to explore in your canoe. There are two tunnels that are about 3 miles apart from each other. Be careful, though – if the water levels are too high, you may not be able to paddle under the tunnels. Feel free to bring your own canoe gear or rent some from the Green Bay Resort located right on Caddy Lake. You might also see some campsites along the route. Most of these are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Photo Courtesy of John Rivers

Bird River

Bird River is a great option for an intermediate canoe trip. Paddling experience isn’t necessarily required, but expect to be on the water for around 6 hours. The launch site is at Davidson Lake just near the Manitoba – Ontario border. The current is fairly slow but there are a handful of portages so be prepared for those. The lower portages are steep and can be slippery when wet due to the clay soil. McGregor Falls is a great campsite to consider if you are making this an overnight trip. You can also continue upstream to Woodland Caribou Park, but arrangements must be made to stay in this park by contacting the Red Lake office. Expect a trip full of wildlife and islands on open lakes with access for swimming and fishing.

Bloodvein River

The Bloodvein River is located off of Lake Winnipeg in southern Manitoba. Much of this trip is inaccessible and remote, and is better suited for advanced canoers. However, if you are up for the challenge of a lengthy paddle trip, this river might be your best bet. There is limited access by vehicle, but you can also charter a fly-in. Some paddlers even access the Gammon River first, then paddle down into The Bloodvein. It usually takes over 2 weeks to paddle the entire river, so be sure to plan ahead. There are some rapids along the river, which is where some paddling skills come in to play. Some of the easier rapids can be managed in a touring canoe, but some of the bigger drops have to be portaged. The good news is there are usually campsites found at the portages.

Manigotagan River

The Manigotagan River is a whitewater paddlers dream, located only a few hours north of Winnipeg. This river makes the perfect trip for intermediate canoeists who want to try their hand at whitewater canoeing. Flowing past 32 beautiful waterfalls and several Class I and II rapids, this river allows you to test your canoeing abilities at your own pace since there are portages available at every rapid. Typically completed between 5 and 7 days, this trip crosses four large lakes – Long Lake, Manigotagan Lake, Quesnel Lake and Turtle Lake – and there are several scenic beaches and backcountry camping spots along the way.

Seagrim Lake Chain

The Seagrim Lake Chain is a fantastic beginner canoe trip, even for those who have never been in a canoe or slept in a tent. Located on the southeast side of the province in Nopiming Provincial Park, this two-night trip passes through a series of small to medium-sized lakes with short portages. Scenic cliffs border the calm waters, and several camping spots dot remote beaches and massive outcroppings of rock. Anglers should bring their fishing gear, as pike, bass and walleye occupy the lakes along this route.

Seagrim Lake Canoe Route Section – BRMB Maps Web Map

Canoeing is a great sport whether you are a beginner or advanced paddler, and hopefully, this list helps you come up with a great trip around Manitoba. Of course, there are so many more paddling adventures in Manitoba, but this should give you a good start. It is important to do your research before starting your next adventure, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Be sure to always plan ahead to ensure that you have the best trip possible!

You can easily find your way to the best paddling spots in Manitoba with the help of our GPS MapsBackroad Mapbooks or our new Web Map. No other recreation map lists as many campsites or provides you with the same level of detail. We give you the scoop on portages, campsites, put-ins, take-outs, route descriptions and more!

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