Discovering Manitoba

Paddling the Scenic Manigotagan River

Amazingly, the sound of your own heart might be all you hear while running these rapids

With its tremendous wealth of waterways and unbridled natural beauty, Manitoba is home to any number of exciting canoe adventures. Whether you are seasoned paddler, or have simply grown tired of circling the lake, take full advantage of the crisp fall weather to challenge yourself and the province’s white water channels before the onset of winter.

The Manigotagan presents just such a challenge while being easily accessed and boasting plenty of camping. One hundred kilometres in length when departing from Long Lake, the Manigotagan carves its way through the billion-year old bedrock of the Boreal Shield Ecozone to Nopiming Provincial Park. Gliding along on its waters, you are surrounded by jack pine and black spruce, regenerating forest cover and any number of watchful eyes – lynx, black bear, Great Gray owl, Woodland caribou….

The trip will take you anywhere from four to seven days. For a full week’s voyage, take Hwy #304 to public access at Long Lake.

For a slightly shorter route in the neighbourhood of four to five days, take Quesnel Lake Rd., 18 km south from Bissett, to Caribou Landing.

The Manigotagan is a medium-grade river suitable for experienced intermediate paddlers. It’s well travelled in comparison to other, more northerly rivers, with relatively easy portages around its rapids. Paddling it is also an exercise in confidence building, as you will have to negotiate modest stretches of white water. Furthermore, the Manigotagan boasts 32 sets of rapids, though 22 of them are run-able.

Unlike many rivers of its kind, the Manigotagan was not overused by trappers or traders. Over 99 percent of the park’s 7,432 hectares are back country (the area is protected from mining, logging and hydro-electric development). Less than one percent of the corridor, or 16 hectares, is classified as recreational development. However, it remains a principal thoroughfare for the resident Ojibway and Métis peoples who continue to trap animals and harvest wild rice in the region.

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