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Canoeing expeditions on the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan


Discover the rocky shorelines of the historic Churchill River on these canoeing expeditions in northern Saskatchewan. See amazing waterfalls, view wildlife and paddle by some of Canada's most impressive Aboriginal rock art on these tours. 

The Legends of the Shield tour on the Churchill River is a classic Canadian Shield wilderness canoe experience. This large river with ancient connections to Aboriginal culture and early fur trade activity contains some of the oldest rock in the world and forms the stage for the breathtaking boreal landscape of the Canadian Shield. This 5-day trip follows a historic path down a particularly scenic stretch of the famous Churchill River, travelled by trappers, fur traders, and indigenous people for ages. As you journey down river, you'll develop or hone your paddling skills and learn how to use a map and compass to navigate between the river's islands and bays and stay on course in wilderness surroundings. The route presents travel options including paddling tributary streams with portages or establishing base camp and heading out to explore different locations each day. Among the many attractions available are Aboriginal rock paintings and several sets of picturesque waterfalls. 

Canoeing and Painting in the Wild is the perfect trip for the artist looking for an adventurous outlet for their creative impulses.  A secluded wilderness destination in the heart of Saskatchewan's scenic Canadian Shield country is the base for four days of canoeing, painting, relaxing, swimming, hiking and simply soaking up the wilderness ambiance. Free your creative spirit in the land that inspired the rock art painters of ancient times. Join in the ageless tradition of open-air painting and leave with a treasured record of your encounter with northern Saskatchewan's rocky lakes & boreal forests. 

The plan is to take short forays by canoe into the surrounding boreal lakeland to explore sites offering prime wilderness painting potential. The beauty of the area lies not only in the rugged Precambrian landscape, but also the small protected lakes allow beginner canoeists to enjoy  paddling without getting stressed by unruly weather. If artistic endeavours get too intense, relief is available in diversionary pursuits at the camp, like fishing, hiking, or swimming in the pristine, fresh lake waters!

The Nistoyãhk Odyssey canoe trip on the Churchill is an 8-day wilderness canoe trip in northern Saskatchewan's Lac La Ronge Provincial Park. Starting at historic Stanley Mission with a visit to Saskatchewan's oldest church, you'll paddle the famous Churchill River, view Aboriginal rock paintings, explore a Precambrian cave, portage a scenic series of rapids and falls via a marine rail trolley and navigate the northern reaches of vast Lac La Ronge. The final leg of the journey takes you through a series of small secluded lakes connected by portages and winding water lily-filled creeks. The canoe trip winds up with a return to the mighty Churchill and a paddle into Stanley Mission. Listen to the loons, watch bald eagles soar, feel the spray of mighty Nistowiak Falls and capture the glow of the radiant northern lights - just a few of the natural attractions you'll encounter. During your week-long paddling odyssey, you'll benefit from paddling instruction, learn wilderness living skills like how to find your way with map and compass, practice environmental ethics, enjoy hearty meals expertly prepared over an open fire, relax in exclusive pristine wilderness campsites, and listen to tales of the voyageurs.

STARTING AT
$995.00 CAD
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TRIP DETAILS
DESTINATION
EQUIPMENT/CLOTHING
ACCOMMODATIONS
MEALS & DINING
DATES & PRICING
ITINERARY
TRIP TYPE
River Canoeing
SEASON

July to August

DIFFICULTY
Moderate
MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
12
GUIDE INFORMATION

Canoeing guides are certified and experienced.

RESTRICTIONS

Minimum age of 14. Novice to Intermediate – a modest degree of fitness and upper body conditioning will help prepare you for rigorous physical activities like paddling and portaging. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Requirements: Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and rain gear.

The Churchill River

The term river is a bit of a misnomer as it applies to the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan, which is more of a series of lakes connected by fast water channels, rapids and falls. Well established portages around such restrictions allows for ease of upstream and downstream travel by both novice and experienced paddlers. The landscape surrounding the river is typical northern boreal forest of mixed species covering slopes of Precambrian bedrock. The country is rugged and beautiful, and wherever the rock is exposed on shorelines, hills and cliff faces, it forms an elemental part of the wilderness scenery.

Large wildlife such as moose and black bears are rarely encountered. Larger birds like Bald Eagles, American Pelicans and Great Blue Herons are the most common wildlife viewed on northern waterways while the Common Loon can frequently be heard from camp in the evening or early morning.

TRANSPORTATION

Return transportation from Saskatoon by passenger van to canoe trip departure point is provided.

WEATHER

Daytime temperatures in the summer average between 15-25 degrees Celsius (60° - 80° F). Saskatchewan's dry, mid-continental climate typically has warm to hot summer weather with more hours of sunshine than elsewhere in Canada.

REGION
Northern Saskatchewan
PROVIDED EQUIPMENT

Canoes and safety equipment, tents, waterproof pack, and group camping equipment, park and entry fees.

SUGGESTED CLOTHING

Hiking boots, sneakers, warm clothing, rain gear, shorts, bathing suit, and hat. Full packing listed provided at time of booking.

SUGGESTED ITEMS

Camera, binoculars, field guides, daypack, sunglasses, sunscreen, canteen, and insect repellent. 

ACCOMMODATIONS

Comfortable, undesignated wilderness tent campsites along the river.

On the Canoeing and Painting tour home base for the trip is a small, secluded family camp on a small remote lake in Saskatchewan's picturesque canoeing country where you have semi-modern cabin accommodation. 

MEALS & DINING

MEALS & DINING

Careful planning goes into the daily menu. Balanced, nutritious and tasty meals are featured including a complement of fresh fruits and vegetables and are prepared over an open fire by your guides.

Aug 18, 2018 - Aug 22, 2018
$1130.00 / per person - CAD
Legends of the Shield.
Aug 16, 2018 - Aug 19, 2018
$995.00 / per person - CAD
Canoeing and Painting in the Wild.
Jul 29, 2018 - Aug 05, 2018
$1840.00 / per person - CAD
Nistoyahk Odyssey.
PAYMENT INFORMATION
Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.

A 25% deposit is required to hold your reservation.

Balance of payment is due 60 days before trip commencement.
CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS
Deposit of 25% of tour cost required to confirm booking. Balance due 60 days prior to departure. Cancellation of booking prior to 60 days before departure will result in a deposit refund less a $50. administration charge. Cancellation 59 – 30 days prior to departure will result in loss of 40% of tour cost; 29 – 15 days, loss of 75%; 14 days or less, loss of 100% of tour cost. If we cancel a tour, we will refund all booking fees paid, which constitutes full settlement. There are no refunds for unused portions of the tour package after departure.

Aug 18, 2018 - Aug 22, 2018

Day 1

Day 1 will involve travelling by passenger van from Saskatoon to Lac La Ronge where paddling and safety instruction and trip orientation will take place. The following morning, we’ll drive another 80 km (50 mi) north to begin the canoe trip. 

Total paddling distance: 58 km or 36 miles

Day 2

The canoe trip will launch at Missinipe, a small resort and outfitting community on the Churchill River. We paddle downstream on the Churchill to an island campsite where we establish a camp to act as a base for initiating day trips to various locations on the river on Day 3 and 4.

Day 3

Day 3-4, there are options to paddle the Stewart River, a tributary of the Churchill to view the Rattler Creek Aboriginal rock paintings or continue downstream on the Churchill to Robertson and Twin Falls and return to camp via North Falls. Choices will be influenced by prevailing wind and weather and paddling experience and overall energy level of the group.

Day 5

Day 5 involves packing up camp and paddling back to Missinipe around lunch time. After loading the gear and having lunch, we hit the road to Saskatoon with a stop in Prince Albert for a supper break. The trip ends with evening arrival in Saskatoon.

Aug 16, 2018 - Aug 19, 2018

Day 1

Day 1 will involve travelling by passenger van from Saskatoon to WadinBay on Lac La Ronge (about a 4.5 hr drive), where we’ll take a break for a picnic lunch. Then we’ll take a short drive to Lynx Lake from where we’ll launch on the canoe trip to Rainbow Ventures Camp. The paddling trip involves crossing three small lakes connected by two short portages to reach the camp on Sulphide Lake. Once there we’ll settle in and discuss options for the days ahead. If there is time after supper and weather is cooperative, we may do some exploring by canoe for potential painting sites for Day 2.

Day 2

Day 2-3: Both days will be spent exploring the nearby lakes and the Dog River for ideal spots to set up for painting. The relative amount of paddling and painting will be variable depending on weather, preferences of the group, energy levels, etc. Time in camp will also be available for other activities such as swimming, hiking, and fishing or simply relaxing and soaking up the wilderness ambience.

Day 4

We’ll tidy up any unfinished work, have an early lunch, pack up the canoes and head back to the Lynx Lake landing to reload for the trip home. A stop for a restaurant supper in Prince Albert will get us back into Saskatoon by early evening.

Jul 29, 2018 - Aug 05, 2018

Day 1

Day 1 will involve travelling by passenger van from Saskatoon to Lac La Ronge where paddling and safety instruction and trip orientation will take place. The following morning, we’ll drive another 80 km (50 mi) north to begin the canoe trip.

Day 2

The canoe trip will launch at the First Nations community of Amuchewaspimewin, or Stanley Mission, as it is commonly called. We will visit the stately old church and from there head upstream on the Churchill River following a time-worn historic connection between Stanley Mission and La Ronge called the Four Portages Route. Today we will tread the first of the historic four portages and then paddle the length of the enchantingly pretty Hunt Lake to our evening campsite. All our camps on this route are wilderness style (no campground type amenities), situated on relatively unused sites in the boreal forest bordering the waterway or on islands.

Day 3

Day 3, takes us through the 3 remaining portages into the north end of immense Lac La Ronge. The portages are relatively short, ranging from 250 m to 600 m and connect a series of scenic small lakes and winding lily-covered creeks with a small waterfall. Although portaging is physically demanding, it does provide a break from the repetitive activity of paddling. Chances of encountering wildlife are also enhanced by hiking through the forest during a portage in addition to travelling on the water.

Day 4

Day 4 involves avoiding the wind around exposed points of Lac La Ronge and dodging between islands if the weather gets rough. A fine crescent beach for swimming is encountered while crossing the north end of the lake. Evening camp is set up after entering the lake’s exit into the Rapid River drainage channel.

Day 5

We follow the Rapid River channel known in the fur trade days as the Montreal River to the marine railroad portage with hand-powered trolley for transporting loaded canoes around another scenic series of rapids and falls. Continuing downstream, en route, we take a hike up to a unique cavern in a high Precambrian rock outcrop complete with local legends of small human-like inhabitants. Shortly after running a short rapid, camp is established on the lake shore.

Day 6

We paddle to majestic Nistowiak Falls, Saskatchewan’s largest waterfall where masses of frothing water pour into the Churchill River, a spectacular and powerful phenomenon. The entire Lac La Ronge drainage basin funnels through the Nistowiak gorge, amidst a background of dramatic scenery.

Day 7

Depending on progress and weather, this day may serve as a lay-over day to simply relax or take a side trip to Drinking Falls, about 7 km from our campsite on the Churchill River.

Day 8

Following the Churchill River upstream to our destination at Stanley Mission, we portage Stanley Rapids to find one of the most vivid and well-preserved Aboriginal rock art sites of many along the Churchill. Early afternoon finds us loading the van and homeward bound. A restaurant supper stop in Prince Albert en route, brings the trip to a finale at the CanoeSki base in Saskatoon in early evening.