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Canoeing downriver in Canada

Travel Forums North America Canoeing downriver in Canada

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Canada
1. Posted by janesgarde (Budding Member 41 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Does anyone have any knowledge about renting a canoe on a river in Canada. It looks like the Yukon is the most likely, but are there any other rivers I should take a look at?
There is a trip from Whitehorse to Dawson that takes about 2 weeks, but there is a lake to cross, which takes 3 days, I am told. And that could be hard work - we are not in our late 50's, fit but not looking for punishment.

I would be grateful for any advise,

2. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

There are countless options but companies are quite careful about renting to greenhorns-understandably.

How much experience do you have camping in true wilderness and shooting rapids-or lining boats?

In BC the Bowron Lakes circuit is quite popular and not a strain-the Powell Lakes not as well known but unique-little downstream travel though.

Have you considered a sea kayaking tour?

Kayaks are much less work than a canoe.

3. Posted by janesgarde (Budding Member 41 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hello Sam
You know a greenhorn when you see one! Thank you for your reply.
Sea kayaking doesn't appeal at all, as here in England if we go on the sea we want to be in a sailing yacht. Sorry. Dennis lives for sailing.
Dennis has done white water caneoing in the past, I have no experience, but there are probably courses to be had locally. That would be a good idea, I hadn't thought of it till your mail.
True wilderness, again, no experience, but we do know the great care needed with bears, food and everything in sealed lockers, or hung in trees far away from the tent. Outdoor cooking etc, no problem.
Shooting rapids, once on a river in France, Dennis would be ok, I believe.
Lining boats - what's that? Is it basically pointing the boat downstream? Only guessing.
And kayak versus canoe - again I need to be told whats what.
I will look at the lakes, thank you, Sam.
If you have any other ideas, please get in touch

4. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Lining is using ropes to slowly and carefully lead one's canoe down alongside rapids that can't be navigated or portaged-tougher than it sounds since it involves stumbling through a boulder strewn field while half submerged in cold water all the while under assault by hordes of blood sucking insects.

Canadian Canoe Routes is the place to do research all kinds of info on rivers great & small.

5. Posted by James120 (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi janesgarde,

In Canada i think there are many canoe on a river for renting, but you can choose one from any reseach in the web or by the website that Samsalmon has given to you.

Thank you very much and have a nice trip


6. Posted by janesgarde (Budding Member 41 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi Sam

Are you trying to put me off?
Lining sounds awful! And we don't want to do portage, I've heard that is very hard work.

What would you say is the best time of year to go? Our freinds went in late summer, some nights were cold, they made a good fire each night, but there were no bugs. When do the bears have their young pups?

Thank you for the website, I will have a look there right now,

7. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

What time of year are you planning for this river experience? That would help with answers to your questions.

I can't help with the original request but can answer the bear and cub question. Bears 'hibernate' over winter (usually November - March). Females give birth between January and February while still in a 'hibernative' state. Some mothers will leave the den during this time, but return 'home' quickly. The family emerges from the den around the beginning of March or when the cubs are about 4-8 weeks of age. A warm winter can shorten the hibernation period but normally influences when the moms decide to start the process. The growth rate of her cubs also determines when it's time to leave the den.

The cycle is basically the same for both black and brown/grizzly bears. Brown and grizzly bears are the same animal - just called by different names. Lower 48 states call them grizzlies while Canada and Alaska call them brown bears.

8. Posted by janesgarde (Budding Member 41 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hello Isadora
We are planning to come in the summer, probably August, late summer, when the leaves will have started turning, and those baby bears may not be quite such a hazard - but I fear I may be quite wrong about that, and the Mum bear looks after her cub for a long time. But also there should be less bugs around, and quieter water, I hope.
We are open to suggestions about timing, we can't come before 3rd week in June. We don't want to do portage, we would love to find a river that will take us reasonably gently downstream, and we want to experience that complete wilderness. A trip of btw 1 and 2 weeks would be ideal.

9. Posted by TeflonCDN (Full Member 131 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Your choice of a wilderness trip means alot more preparation and general wilderness skills. There may be no one to help you if something happens. If this is your plan, You may want to consider renting a satellite phone for emergency use.

Have you considered something more civilized, like the Rideau Canal? The canal is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it goes from Kingston to Ottawa. This trip would take 5-7 days. More civilization around gives you a much greater margin for error, less logistical probs because you can always get food or help in the next village, or if the weather is really bad, you can stay in an Inn in one of the many villages along the way. If interested, you can find out more here...

Canoe vs Kayak. A canoe is an open boat. You will want one that is at least 16-18 feet long for a wilderness trip. A kayak is a closed in boat. You would need 2 single seater kayaks or one 2-seater kayak. The sea kayak is much faster then a canoe on flat water but also much less maneouvreable in rapids. For wilderness trips involving more then 1 portage a day, a canoe is a better choice. The process of loading and unloading a kayak is much more difficult because all your gear must be inserted via the cockpit or the small ports provided.

No matter what your final choice, I hope you enjoy your trip!

10. Posted by janesgarde (Budding Member 41 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi Showdogs
Thank you for the link, I will take a look.
We do want to experience the wilderness, but a satellite phone would be a good idea, we were talking anout that last night.
We are fairly resourceful people, DEn is a very practical person. We have done a bit of wild camping and I am going on a canoeing course.
We need a canoe and not a kayak, we have learned that much, but we do have a lot to learn, i know.