Province/Territory: Saskatchewan

Paddling the True North

  • 100,000 lakes
  • 59,000 sq-km of water
  • 03 billion years in the making

A loon calls. A boreal chorus frog answers back. These, and the swooshes of your paddle as you kayak across one of Northern Saskatchewan's clearwater lakes, are the only sounds heard. It has been days since you last saw a paved road or a motorized vehicle. Surrounded by boundless nature, you ply waterborne routes first explored by aboriginal peoples millennia ago, then again by fur traders before Canada was born, and now by you.

Northern Saskatchewan is a kayak and canoe utopia — with picturesque lakes located only a few hours' drive from a major urban centre. In fact, it is said the province is home to 100,000 waterbodies, and this number may actually be conservative. The expansive Precambrian Shield harbours uncountable waters that blend together to form a labyrinth of paddling pathways; a virtual inland sea to discover for days, if not weeks. Each night, tent under the stars on a rocky islet, or reserve a luxury eco-cabin and enjoy five-stars while you stare at a billion more. It is a paddling paradise where time stands still — even as you move on ever-forward.

Why you should visit
  • Embark on a guided or self-guided paddling adventure along the Churchill River, cross-provincial route of fur traders and aboriginal peoples for hundreds of years.
  • Camp at Lac La Ronge or Prince Albert Provincial Park, exploring local lakes each sunny day and dining on fresh-caught northern pike and walleye every fire-lit night.
  • Book a stay in a luxury lakeside eco-lodge and escape the workaday world for a weekend — or a week.
  • Learn outdoors skills from an experienced guide while on an eight-day-long canoe trip along the rough-and-tumble Fond du Lac River.
  • Visit the world’s most northerly sand dunes at the remote Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park, on the shores of 7,850-sq-km Lake Athabasca.
  • Spot boreal mammals such as beavers, black bear, moose and lynx; as well as birds such as loons, elder ducks and great grey owls.

Weather

  • Kayak and canoe season in Northern Saskatchewan generally runs from June through September. July and August are the warmest months, with daily average temperatures of approximately 16 to 17 degrees Celsius. June and September’s days average about nine degrees Celsius, with cool nights.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada’s Canadian Climate Normals Website.
Visitor information
When to go
  • In late June and early July, northern locales see more than 17 hours of daylight.
  • During paddling season, Aurora Borealis is most often visible in September.
  • July and August are the most popular months for paddling.
Need to know
  • Prince Albert is a full-service city with all amenities.
  • Most northern lake locations have limited or non-existent cellphone coverage.
  • Kayaks and canoes can be rented in Prince Albert, La Ronge and Meadow Lake.
  • Kayaking and canoeing are physically demanding sports.
  • View the regulations and licensing system for recreational fishing.
Getting Here