Today’s post comes from Evan McCaul, Assistant Superintendent of Wabakimi Provincial Park.
Welcome to all new and returning visitors to Wabakimi!
Located a three-hour drive north of Thunder Bay, Wabakimi is a large expanse of the Canadian Shield, encompassing more than 1,500 km of canoe routes. This park is a hub for exciting paddling experiences and adventures!
Check out the following five top tips to help you plan your trip to the countryside:
1. Know your options to access the park
Camping in Wabakimi Provincial Park is a remote backcountry experience that requires careful planning and an intermediate to advanced level of travel skills.
There are no park facilities or roads within the park.
Visitors can access the park by canoe, train or plane. Many times paddlers will take one mode of transportation into the park and another mode out to facilitate a linear route travel option.
From the Armstrong area: Trail Lake Road, Caribou Lake Road and Pikitigushi Lake provide access to waterways connecting to Wabakimi. Obonga Lake Road provides access to Kopka River Provincial Park, which borders Wabakimi.
From Uppsala: Graham Road provides access to Brightsand River Provincial Park, which connects to Wabakimi.
From Lake Savant: Road 702 and Vista Road have access points that allow canoeists to paddle to Wabakimi Provincial Park.
A Via Rail line runs through the southern part of the park. Trains run through Wabakimi on certain days of the week, which vary depending on the direction of travel.
With reservations and 48 hours notice, Via Rail will drop off or pick up paddlers at “special stops” or mileposts in the park. When making a reservation, Via wants details of the destination (mileage positions) and if you have a canoe, fees apply.
Don’t expect the agent to know the details about the park; Knowing the location of the nearest scheduled stop and the mileage indicators will be a great help.
Advice: Your journey to the countryside begins as soon as you get off the train. At these train stops expect nothing more than an unmarked shuttle trail leading to the lake.
Check online for updated Via Rail schedules:
Tip: The train has a limited carrying capacity for canoes. You will need to confirm with Via Rail that there is space for luggage on board in advance.
|mileage stop||Name||description of the place|
|17.0||Canyon Lake||Remote stop. It is used to access Lake Tamarack. There is no camping at this location.|
|20.2||collins||Collins is a community and regular stop. The stop is on private property; call ahead to camp.|
|24.7||Schult’s Trail||Access to Lake Onamakawash. Follow the trail from the slopes to the campground.|
|32.3||Alderidge Creek (flows from Beagle Lake)||Remote stop, limited camping. North to Lookout River. South to Lake Alderidge. Canoe travel is required to access the campground.|
|34.4||Mirador River||Lookout River Mile Post 34.4 (or at the bridge).|
|37.4||Bald Lake||North to Ballast Creek, east to Lookout River. Canoe travel is required to access the first campsite.|
|44.1||redhead lake||Private campground at 44.1 — no camping.|
|44.4||West Readhead Lake||On the west side of the bridge, just after the traffic light, the trail leads to a new camping area established by park staff in 2012.|
|54.6||Allanwater Bridge||Two commercial camps; Camping and accommodation available. Call Allanwater Bridge Lodge or Wabakimi Fishing and Canoeing Outfitters.|
|62.5||Lake Barrington||Commercial camp; Fees may apply. Please call Barrington Lake Campground.|
|67.1||Flintt’s Landing Camp||Access to Lake Heathcote. Camping is limited and a canoe launching fee may apply. Contact Flndt Landing Camp.|
|67.3||Heathcote Lake||Just after passing the causeway on the west coast. Steep trail, follow the portage north to the campground.|
Flying to Wabakimi is a very interesting option for your trip and can give you access to more remote areas of the park.
Local outfitters and airline services are available to take you to the park and/or pick you up at the end of your trip. They can often also assist with vehicle parking and ground travel.
For information and service providers related to planning flights to the park, please contact one of the area tourism organizations:
2. Plan your route wisely
Please do advanced research on the route you have chosen to travel.
Some areas of Wabakimi are easier to travel to than others, and some areas are used more frequently than others. Always keep in mind that water levels, rapids and transport conditions may vary depending on seasonal weather conditions.
This blog describes the variety of off-piste trips that can be experienced within the park.
Prepare for your next backcountry trip in the Wabakimi waterways by mapping your paddle and transports in advance.
The Wabakimi Park Planning Map is available for purchase and provides details on general route information.
Friends of Wabakimi also offers a number of maps of canoe routes in the Wabakimi area.
Also, be sure to bring detailed 1:50,000 scale topographic maps for accurate navigation.
3. Prepare for seasonal weather
There are a few things to expect during your paddling trip and also a few things to keep in mind.
Summers in Wabakimi Provincial Park are hot and dry, with an average temperature in July of 18.4 °C (65.1 °F).
The main canoeing season usually begins in early June and lasts until mid-September.
Unexpected storms, adverse weather conditions, frost and potentially snow can occur after mid-September.
Always be prepared when going into rural areas for any period of time.
Carry the necessary safety equipment and adequate food, as well as clothing. Always know your limits in the field.
4. Take into account nearby services
Armstrong— 3 hours north of Thunder Bay on Highway 527. The most popular city to access Wabakimi Provincial Park. Armstrong offers basic facilities and services with opportunities to access the park by road, train and air.
Savant Lake 4.5 hours from Thunder Bay to Highway 599. Basic amenities and services are available with access to the park by train and canoe.
First Nations – Whitesand, Namaygoosisagaun, Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, Mishkeegogamang and Eabametoong First Nation surround Wabakimi Provincial Park. Please remember that we are on traditional lands and we must be respectful of any people with treaty rights you may encounter within the park.
Although Wabakimi is a natural park, some tourism service providers may offer barrier-free access to this natural experience.
Boat rentals are also available in some locations through local tour providers in the area.
5. Park registration and regulations
An backcountry camping permit is required for camping and canoeing in Wabakimi Provincial Park.
Permits can be purchased online (two weeks in advance) at the reservation site, at the park office in Thunder Bay, or at local Armstrong vendors.
Your permit must be carried with you at all times in case a park warden or conservation officer requests to see it.
As you take your own canoe trip or are guided by an outfitter, consider how your actions may impact Wabakimi’s natural environment and natural resources.
Various provincial park regulations can be enforced in Wabakimi. These are in place to meet the protection mandate of the provincial parks system and ensure that every visitor has a safe and enjoyable experience.
Start planning your backcountry paddling trip and experience what Wabakimi has to offer!
Wabakimi Provincial Park is located north of Armstrong, Ontario, three hours from Thunder Bay.