Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Are you ready for the northwest desert quest?

Do you dream of paddling in the vast wilderness of northwestern Ontario, gliding among moose, caribou and wolves? Can you hear the soft sound of your oar gently caressing endless lakes and rivers, while drops of water slowly fall from the tip of your sword? Does the scent of pine and spruce forests invite pleasant memories of past canoe trips through the countryside and inspire dreams of future adventures?

Imagine it. This is the Northwest Desert Quest.

Campsite by Woodland Caribou Lake, starry night

The search

Wabakimi, Woodland Caribou and Quetico Provincial Parks await you. We invite you to paddle and camp in the backcountry of each of these three great natural parks for a minimum of three consecutive nights each over the next three years.

A paddler’s dream comes true.

2 paddlers at Woodland Caribou

Whether you’re looking for the solitude of paddling through the pines of Quetico, hoping to spot an elusive caribou at Woodland Caribou, or lining up for a lakeside walleye dinner at Wabakimi, Northwest Wilderness Quest has something for you.

Adventure, solitude, nature, escape, new experiences, good memories, friendship, family and many paddling routes to choose from!

Make every hit count

Register your trips online and enter to win a specially designed “Quest” Souris River canoe or unique “Quest” XY Company paddles.

Complete completion of the Northwest Wilderness Quest also entitles eligible participants to receive a specially designed Quest souvenir.

The contest will run from May 1, 2016 to October 15, 2019. Have you started your Quest yet?

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Have you already completed a leg of travel (since May 1, 2016)?

Be sure to register your qualifying ride(s) by May 1, 2017 to make your entry eligible for an early bird prize of an original Northwest Quest t-shirt!

search t-shirts

Share your trip

Let your eyes paint the canvas of your next paddling adventure and your memory (or memory card) record the images.

camper taking photos

Be sure to share your travel and paddling stories with us and others. Tag us in Twitter or Facebook, or hashtag #NWQuest.

Which park will you visit first?

Local outfitting services are available to help you make your Quest dream a reality.

Wabakimi Provincial Park

tent in Wabakimi

This park is located at the end of the highway (Highway 527) in northwestern Ontario, near the town of Armstrong. Here is a vast region of interconnecting lakes, rivers and streams that are a dream for canoeists seeking challenge and solitude. Wabakimi is the second largest provincial park in Ontario and embodies the breadth, diversity and mystery of nature.

Wabakimi is a place like no other. Indigenous people have traveled the park’s canals for centuries and most transportation in the region has evolved from this historical use. The park’s name comes from the roots of Ojibway words meaning “swift waters” or “the sheet is white.”

The park is accessible by canoe, seaplane or rail service, and offers nearly 500 backcountry campsites. Explore the variety and beauty of Wabakimi’s many lakes and rivers to discover the true meaning of the name Wabakimi.

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park

Forest caribou transportation

Woodland Caribou is the third largest wildlife park in Ontario, near the town of Red Lake. Located in the Boreal Forest and known as a cultural landscape, its network of interconnected waterways carves the ancient and eroded Canadian Shield providing endless routing possibilities. Short land transportation allows travelers to access the solace of nature with relative ease.

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Most of the park’s waterways flow into the headwaters of two major river systems; the Gammon and Bloodvein rivers. The Bloodvein River is a designated Canadian Heritage River and has outstanding natural and cultural values, as well as exceptional recreational opportunities.

This is a place where you can glimpse an elusive woodland caribou, hear wolf pups in a nearby den, or watch a moose feed on aquatic vegetation. The park’s informal motto is: “where nature still rules.”

Quetico Provincial Park

Quetico Rower

This vast, internationally recognized wilderness area is located on the Canada-United States border near Atikokan, Ontario. Quetico was originally set aside in 1909 and formally established as Ontario’s third provincial park in 1913. Today, because of this long history of protection, this exceptional landscape remains relatively intact. This is a place where the forces of nature work freely.

Every year, thousands of people from all over the world visit Quetico. Many families share their passion for paddling in Quetico, transmitting this tradition from generation to generation to their children and grandchildren. Known primarily as a wilderness canoeing destination, Quetico offers beautiful, peaceful experiences for paddlers of all ages and abilities.

Quetico is part of a huge transboundary area of ​​protected land in the heart of the North American continent. Known as “The Heart of the Continent Partnership,” cross-border partners work together on projects that promote the economic, cultural and natural health of lakes, forests and communities on the Ontario-Minnesota border. They have recently partnered with the National Geographic Society to create a regional geotourism initiative that includes a helpful map and website of the area.

Register for Northwest Wilderness Quest today!