Western Ontario stretches from Lake Superior north to Hudson Bay, far from Ontario’s populated center amid the Great Lakes. The landscape here is dominated by the Canadian Shield—a swath of the earth’s bedrock that was left exposed and gouged by the glaciers 10,000 years ago. The trees that have managed to take root start out thick and tall in Quetico Provincial Park, along the U.S. border, and by Opasquia Provincial Park in the far North, they have diminished to Arctic sizes. Besides these two parks, there are the Woodland Caribou and Wabakimi wildernesses, waterways such as La Verendrye, and countless Rivers & Streams in the Crown Lands that offer paddling for the most adventurous canoe trippers. The farther north you go, the harder it is to reach the parks—with several more accessible by seaplane than by car—but the reward is a wilderness that feels all your own.
PLACES TO PADDLE IN WESTERN ON
Quetico Provincial Park is a wilderness specifically for paddling: over one million acres of the Canadian Shield, free of motorized vehicles, including stunning aquamarine lakes and epic portages, with names like the Delahey Death March and Memory Lane. Although some of your memories may be of ...READ MORE +
Creating the border of Minnesota and Ontario, the Pigeon River meanders and cascades approximately 50 miles (80 km) to Lake Superior. Once an important thoroughfare for the Voyageur fur-traders, it is now a part of several parks: on the Minnesota side, it begins on the edge of the Boundary Waters ...READ MORE +
The park is aptly named, for within its 1.2 million acres (486,235 ha) roams one of the largest groups of woodland caribou south of Hudson Bay. The Bloodvein and the Gammon rivers begin here, before flowing into Atikaki Provincial Park, just over the border in Manitoba. Woodland Caribou Park is a ...READ MORE +
Between Lake Winnipeg and Hudson Bay, Opasquia (pronounced O-pas-q-way) is a designated Wilderness Park amid the vast stretches of unpopulated terrain. It is a non-operating park, which means it does not have any visitors’ facilities and the only way in is by air, but it also means you will find ...READ MORE +
Wabakimi Provincial Park is above all else remote. With only about 700 backcountry visitors a year to its 2.3 million acres (892,000 ha)—as much territory as the Quetico and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness combined—there is less than 1/30th of the crowd. Big lakes abound, but Wabakimi is ...READ MORE +
Ontario’s extensive park system provides many places to paddle in protected wilderness areas, but outside of these reserves countless lakes and rivers fill the Crown Lands. Motors are permitted in these vast public lands, so the paddling is not as serene as in places like Quetico Provincial Park, ...READ MORE +