7 great Canadian canoe trips

Ecotourism incorporates fun, preserving nature and discovering culture. Here are seven Canadian canoe trips for you and your family to enjoy – bring on the paddling!

By Katharine Fletcher

Bloodvein River, Quetico, Naha Dehé
Bloodvein River, Manitoba
Photography by Katharine Fletcher
Bloodvein River, Manitoba
Why go: This is a classic whitewater paddle for novices or experts, featuring easygoing swifts through to boiling Class IV.

What's remarkable about it: Canadian Shield rocks resembling beached whales line and fracture into the river; aboriginal pictographs on cliffs – plus Bloodvein First Nations lodge and traditional sweat lodges.

Wildlife you'll see: Bald eagles soar and beautiful pink lady-slipper orchids blossom in the woods.

Tips: This is a remote, fly-in trip which demands coordination. You may capsize, so wear your lifejacket and helmet for your dunking!

Planning: Operator Cameron White runs safe, fun trips: redriveroutfitters.ca

6. Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario
Why go: Dramatic big-sky sunsets over lakes dotted with tree-encrusted islands, haunting laughter of loons and the sounds of lake water lapping at your beach. What other reasons do you need to experience Quetico, west of Lake Superior at the U.S. border?

What's remarkable about it:
Jagged rock cliffs – plus red ochre pictographs – further define what some call "the best wilderness canoeing in the world."

Wildlife you'll see: Loons, moose, beaver and herons.

Tips: You can do an easy outing to McAree Lake, or coordinating 13-day trips (Carp Lake-Hunter's Island Loop). Remember your bug spray!

Planning: ontarioparks.com lists outfitters plus park info.

7. Naha Dehé (South Nahanni River) Nahanni National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories
Why go: Nahanni is the iconic Canadian wilderness experience, made internationally famous by Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Bill Mason. The river courses 540 km southeast from the Selwyn Mountains passing through extraordinary canyons (Third and Fourth Canyons are 19 km long, 1,200 m deep).

What's remarkable about it:
It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1976 because of its wilderness ecological significance. Nahanni is legendary for Virginia Falls' 90m drop.

Wildlife you'll see: Grizzlies, woodland caribou, Dall sheep and trumpeter swans.

Tips: Reservations are mandatory, as well as registration and de-registration.

Remember: We are guests of nature, so follow "leave no trace" and other eco-friendly practices.

Planning: nahanni.com; Parks Canada website (pc.gc.ca)


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rare Carolinian forest right here in Canada!



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