Canada is famous for its countless rivers and lakes, making it the perfect destination for canoeing adventures! Sit back in your boat for a relaxing vacation exploring Canada’s vast wilderness while paddling on tranquil lakes. Adventure seekers will also not be disappointed, as exciting whitewater journeys on the wildest North American rivers await!

Our canoe tours range from Snake River in Yukon, to the Stikine in British Columbia, and beyond. Whatever your experience level, we’ve got the tour for you! Choose to combine canoeing with your favorite activities, such as hiking, wildlife watching, or camping for an unforgettable, fun-filled holiday!

Woman canoeing with a lifejacket - back view

Browse canoeing tours in Canada

Canoeing in Canada

All About Canoes

A canoe is a light, narrow vessel with an open top and pointed ends. It is propelled by one or two kneeling paddlers using a single-bladed paddle.

The main difference between a kayak and a canoe is their shape and paddles. Kayaks are closed and have a cockpit to sit in. The paddler's lower body is inside the hull and protected from the water. Paddles have blades on both ends, and movement alternates from side to side. Canoes are open, and the paddler kneels down in the vessel. Canoe paddles have a single blade on them and typically the paddler keeps rowing to one side.

The materials canoes are made of have changed throughout the centuries. Traditional canoes are crafted from bark or carved out of a single piece of wood. The modern ones are now made of molded plastic or fiber reinforced composites. They’re light, durable and designed for high-performance paddling.

Canoes have been around for many centuries. The first ones are more than 8,000 years old! In North America, the first canoes were used by the indigenous people of the Caribbean to travel between the islands and later spread as a popular mode of transport on the mainland. The vessels played a large role in the exploration of the frontier when European immigrants recognized the irreplaceable value of these lightweight vessels.

Throughout history, canoes have been made from animal skins, logs, and tree bark. They were used for transportation, trade, and even warfare. Through the centuries, these paddle boats have always been the best way to navigate North American waterways.

Nowadays, canoes are mostly used for watersports, as they’re fast, easy to maneuver, and light to portage.

Canoe the scenic rivers of Canada for an excellent vacation that combines freedom, remote settings, and adrenaline-fueled adventure. The country was originally founded by voyageurs who paddled their way through its many river systems, mapping out Canada and establishing important trading routes for future generations. Many of our thrilling river canoeing tours retrace the routes of these early explorers in almost every province and territory in Canada.

Canada’s most pristine areas can be accessed on lake canoeing trips. Our paddling tours take you through national and provincial parks, introducing you to a variety of wildlife and scenic landscapes. Your guide will show you how to handle the canoe and teach you both basic and more advanced paddling techniques.

Our canoe trips are often combined with other activities such as hiking and fishing, making for the perfect outdoor adventure.

How to choose a Canoeing Tour

Which canoeing tour is right for me

We offer a wide selection of multi-day canoeing tours across the country, which differ in length, intensity and involve various extra activities. Our tours are crafted for travelers with different levels of experience. Whether you’re a novice paddler or an experienced water sports enthusiast, you’ll find the perfect canoe trip in Canada.

If you’ve never tried canoeing before, our Athabasca River tour in Alberta is a great place to start. The trip includes a couple of days of intense training on quiet waters. This way, you’ll prepare for the upcoming adventures on untamed rivers. The river is full of rapids and strong currents that aren’t dangerous but require constant vigilance. Hence, this 5-day wilderness canoe tour is great for beginners but certainly won’t bore more experienced paddlers.

The Bowron Lakes Circuit offers the ultimate 11-day lake canoeing experience in Canada. The tour is perfect for novice paddlers with a moderate level of fitness. The thrilling route covers six major lakes in British Columbia. It also takes you through a series of connecting streams, rivers and portages. The picturesque Cariboo Mountains make this tour a truly unique experience.

The Kootenay River in British Columbia is an exciting whitewater river that runs through the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains. Its mesmerizing turquoise waters offer an exciting adventure through lots of swifts and easy rapids. This tour is a fun challenge for both new and experienced paddlers.

Experienced paddlers will enjoy our Lower and Upper Stikine River canoeing adventure in British Columbia. The river flows through vast glaciated mountains, icebergs, and hot springs, offering breathtaking views! This unforgettable wilderness tour takes you all the way to Wrangell, Alaska.

One of the most challenging tours is on the Mountain River in the Northwest Territories. Known as one of the best places for wilderness canoeing in Canada, the river has exciting class I - III rapids. With every tide, the Mountain River changes drastically, creating a thrilling whitewater canoeing adventure.

Choose your trip based on location, as our Canadian canoe trips run throughout the entire country. Whether you’re driving up for the weekend from Toronto or flying farther afield to the Arctic, sometimes the place makes all the difference.

History and culture enthusiasts should check out our epic Snake River adventure in northern Yukon. Our three-week tour will take you through the Fort McPherson settlement, a hamlet with a rich Inuit history. You’ll also explore Dawson City, the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush. Paddling through one of the most remote northern rivers, you’ll meet unique wildlife living in the Mackenzie Mountains.

Choose how much time you’d like to spend exploring one of the largest national parks in Canada. Our Algonquin Provincial Park lake canoeing expedition offers a memorable outdoor adventure in the oldest park in Ontario. Spend three to six days enjoying the splendid wilderness, just 3 hours north of Toronto.

Explore the Arctic during a canoe trip on the Clarke and Thelon Rivers. These rivers lie inside the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary, the most remote location on the North American continent. With majestic sights of the pristine and wild Barren Lands, this Arctic expedition is undoubtedly one-of-a-kind.

While most mountain rivers require good canoeing skills, Keele River in the Northwest Territories is open for everyone. This exciting canoeing expedition is a combination of the incredible Mackenzie Mountain scenery, gentle whitewater, stunning wildlife, and great adventures.

Those looking for even more thrills will enjoy our Gold Rush Tour on the Teslin and Yukon rivers. Combining adventurous canoeing and traveling in a van, you’ll experience the excitement of the gold seekers of days gone by.

Combine a canoeing holiday with mountain hiking and revel in the incredible nature around the Yukon River. Get away from popular tourist routes and enjoy the tranquility of the Canadian wilderness. A week of paddling on the mighty river and hiking to stunning creek valleys make for a perfect holiday.

The name of the Big Salmon River in southern Yukon already suggests what the river is famous for. Thousands of salmon spawn in its waters during August and September, making grizzly bears a common sight in the area! The tour is great for fishing, hiking, and swimming enthusiasts.

One of the greatest wild watching tours will take you through some of the most remote areas on earth. Clearwater Horton River is Canada's most northerly mainland river, hosting caribou, muskox, wolves and other Arctic animals. Step into the shoes of the early European explorers and enjoy the unique sights of the Smoking Hills!

FAQ

Still got questions about canoeing? Find the answer here!

There are 8 to 10 people per group.

Most tours are designed for adults, but some are also suitable for families with children and teenagers.

Yes, you can travel solo, a lot of travelers do!

All of our canoeing tours are camping based. You’ll be staying in high-quality expedition tents. On some tours, you might need to bring your own sleeping bag.

An explicit list of what to bring will be sent out to travelers before the tour. In most cases, it includes a recommended clothing and gear list.

Each of the tours has a recommended level of experience indicated. Easy tours require less fitness preparation, while challenging tours suggest that you’ll need a higher fitness level. Most canoeing tours include intense paddling and mountain hiking.

Class I - Easy flat water, small waves, few or no obstructions.

Class II - Easy rapids, clear channels that are obvious without scouting. Some maneuvering may be required.

Class III - Rapids with high, irregular waves. Narrow passages often require quick and accurate river reading.

Class IV - Difficult, with narrow channels obstructed by rocks, steep and narrow drops. It might be hard to determine the course, hence scouting is necessary on most occasions.

Class V - Extremely difficult, long, and dangerous rapids with highly congested routes, which should be scouted from shore.