150 of Canada’s Top paddling spots – we tell you six, you tell us the rest

150 of Canada’s Top paddling spots – we tell you six, you tell us the rest

There is something about paddling any distance in a canoe or a kayak. The sound of the water kissing the sides of the boat, the call of the birds that ripple with the waves and the scenery that changes with every paddle stroke. Its therapeutic, calming and somethings challenging.

You can’t possibly think I’d know all 150 best places in Canada to dip your paddles did you? Canada has 243,797 kilometres of saltwater coastlines, more lakes than the rest of the world combined and thousands of kilometres of rivers and creeks to float. That’s almost 8% of the area of Canada covered by fresh water. With that said, here are a few places to float your boat.

Photo by TofinoPaddle.com

Kayaking the islands off the west coast has to be tops on the list. There are so many coves to slip into, so much shoreline to watch wildlife on and so much to see in the water. I’ve followed seals (okay, tried to follow seals) and watched as eagles float overhead, watching for an opportunity for lunch. And just once have I had the thrill of witnessing a whale swim under my boat. That is both thrilling and really scary! The Broken Islands of Vancouver Island’s west coast, the inlets off April Point are my two favourite spots.

Where else can you canoe 116 kilometres through six lakes, do a few portages, paddle down few rivers and end up back to where you started? It’s the Bowron Lake Circuit in central BC. Imagine waking up and drifting through the morning mist and into the sun. Dangling a fishing line off the back of the boat and catching your dinner. After a good day of paddling pitch your tent on the shoreline and watch the sun set. Slip into your sleeping bag and push “Repeat” for tomorrow. This adventure is for the experienced paddlers who know how to pack a boat full of food and supplies for at least 6 days. Or, if you are new at extended canoe trips there are a few outfitters to help you on your way.

Photo by WetnWild.bc.ca

For those who like their water foaming, you have to toss the kayak into the Kickinghorse River near Golden BC. The rapids range from ho-hum to holy crap or Class I to Class IV with names like Shotgun, Roller Coaster and the Last Waltz. Consider going with a guide or on a rafting expedition first to appreciate (and respect) the river.

The ultimate Canadian paddling adventure is on the south Nahanni River. It is so remote, so pristine and so breathtaking you will never want to leave. Magnificent waterfalls, white water, wilderness and wildlife is what you can expect on any length of the river. Plan two weeks to explore this UNESCO world heritage site as you paddle 260 km of the Northwest Territories.

Photo by Ottawa Tourism

Because it’s Canada’s 150th birthday we can not forget to include the Rideau Canal from Kingston to Ottawa. This might be the busiest route you’ll ever paddle. It stretches 202 km has 47 locks two large watersheds, lakes, rivers and 19 km of man-made canal. It will take you at least 6 days to do.

Walk on the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick then come back a few hours later and kayak around the features that towered over your heads. The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world and you can experience them by paddling around, through and under the famous “Flowerpots.”

So that s a few of our favourite places to paddle. Can you help us discover the remaining 144 best places to paddle in Canada?