George has one of the biggest, most active paddling clubs in the
province, the Northwest Brigade Canoe Club. They've even put out a
book devoted to paddling in this neck of the woods, Canoe and Kayak
Trip Guide for the Central Interior of British Columbia. Trips
run from flatwater to Class V rapids, but don't expect to find much
more than Class II in this easygoing guidebook. For anyone planning
on spending time in this area, it's a good investment. At the very
least, get in touch with the club for any new information on routes
in the area.
A good canoeing spot near Prince George is Eskers
Provincial Park. A series of tiny lakes linked by portages lets
you experience a day or three of wilderness paddling in close proximity
to Prince George. The only real danger here is getting lost, and with
a bit of preparation even that is pretty easy to avoid. The park is
located about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Prince George on Chief
Lake Road. Simon Fraser himself paddled through this area more than
100 years ago.
Class II is as stiff as it gets along the Crooked River, the
link running through a chain of lakes from Summit Lake, north of Prince
George on Hwy 97, all the way to Williston Lake. Most people only
go as far as Kerry Lake (five hours) or McLeod Lake (two easy days).
The river is best run in early summer, unless you think you might
enjoy walking your canoe for the first 6 miles (10 km); the river
can get fairly low later in the year. Watch for the Crooked River
Canyon Forest Service Recreation Site on your way downstream, which
can be reached only by canoe.
On the east side of Hwy 97 is the Parsnip River, named for
the giant cow parsnips that grow along its banks. The name is amusing,
but the paddling is serious. It'll take you two days to do the 35
miles (57 km) from the old Anzac Mill site to Windy Point, where the
Parsnip crosses Hwy 97 to meet Williston Lake. Tacheeda Lakes Rd is
56 miles (90 km) along Hwy 97 from the John Hart Bridge; the launch
site is 17 miles (27 km) beyond on gravel road.
You can follow part of Simon Fraser's route by paddling the 5 miles
(8 km) of McLeod River that link War and Carp Lakes in Carp
Lake Provincial Park. Once you hit Carp Lake, spend a day exploring,
then a night at a designated campsite on one of the islands that dot
It's recommended that you not put a canoe in Williston Lake,
the largest lake in the area, and indeed, in the province. The lake
is man-made, and the area wasn't logged before it was flooded. Jams,
floaters, and ice-sharpened snags can make this a dangerous lake to
canoe, though that doesn't stop many people. Consider this fair warning.
If you are planning on canoeing Williston, there's a put-in at Finlay
Bay Forest Service Recreation Site at the end of Hwy 39. Instead,
try canoeing down what used to be the Peace River Valley. Now that
it's been flooded, it's called the Peace Reach. Don't expect
to do the reach in a day, though. It stretches 37 miles (60 km) east
to the W. A. C. Bennett Dam.
If such warnings put you off the big lake, try the Dina Lakes Canoe
Circuit, a route through a number of small lakes that should take
about four hours to complete. Access to the lakes is about 12 miles
(20 km) north of Mackenzie. Best time to do the Dina Lakes route is
in early June, once the portages have been brushed out. The longest
portage on this route is about 230 feet (70 m).
Depending on where you put in and how fast you paddle, canoeing the
Murray River near Tumbler Ridge can be a few hours or
a few days. You're going to need someone to drop you off and pick
you up, or leave a vehicle at the end. Follow the Forest Service road
toward Monkman Provincial
Park. There are two bridges over the Murray on the way to Monkman,
or if you can handle the portage down (it's a killer), you can launch
from near the base of Kinuseo Falls. Watch for an old trappers
cabin as you head down the river. The best place to take out is near
the second bridge from Tumbler Ridge along Hwy 29 to Chetwynd. If
you pass the BC Rail shops heading north, you've gone too far. Another
popular put-in point is at East
Pine Provincial Park where the East Pine River flows into
the Murray, 15.5 miles (25 km) east of Chetwynd.
Since the W. A. C. Bennett Dam was built, the Peace River
has lost what spunk it once had. The dam was built at the end of the
roughest sections of the river, and flooded out the entire river valley
for hundreds of kilometres back. The 600-foot (183-m) monstrosity
is a wonder of modern engineering, a half-mile wide at its base; when
the floodgates are opened in early spring, the gushing water is truly
an impressive sight. Past the dam, the Peace flows gently east through
the foothills of the Rockies and on into the Prairies. You could float
east from Hudson's Hope
to Hudson's Bay, with not much more than the occasional weir to worry
about. Shorter trips include a five-day paddle from Hudson's Hope
to Taylor Landing Provincial Park, or 10 days to Dunvegan,
Alberta. Or you could just spend a day canoeing around Taylor Landing
Provincial Park, along Hwy 97, 24 miles (38 km) north of Dawson
||Ecosummer Expeditions, Clearwater
||Ecosummer Expeditions is a world-class leader in Adventure Travel Tours and BC's original sea kayaking outfit since 1976. We specialize in sea kayaking wilderness expeditions, outdoor hiking and backpacking trips, coastal cruises, canoeing, and first nations native culture. We offer guided adventure travel tours and expeditions to Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, Gulf Islands, the Interior BC, and the Great Bear Rainforest, including the Khutzeymateen Valley and Princess Royal Island. Wildlife viewing includes grey whales, orcas, grizzly bears, kermode spirit bears, marine mammals, and rainforest ecology.
||Northern Rockies Vacations, Muncho Lake
||Explore Canada's Northern Rockies and the Muskwa Kechika with one of our incredible tours, including fly-in fishing adventures in the Northern Rocky Mountains, where very few anglers have been before, wilderness log cabin getaways, wildlife viewing safaris, wilderness canoe trips, Liard Hotsprings, and Nahanni National Park. Relax at our magnificent lakeside mountain retreat, close to the land of the Midnight sun.
||Ocean Light II Adventures, Vancouver
||Ocean Light II is a beautiful and spacious 71ft sailboat offering
comfort, a classic natural wood interior, 5 guest cabins, fishing gear,
7 seakayaks, and a 19ft hard-bottom inflatable. Her crew has 34 years
of experience offering natural history and photography tours on the BC
Coast, including Haida Gwaii, and specializing in grizzly viewing tours
in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, and spirit bear and
grizzly tours in the Great Bear Rainforest. We also offer whale
watching and eco tours, from totems to intertidal treasures, rocky
shores to sandy beaches, and spawning salmon to towering trees. We
offer five spectacular adventure trips between May and October, each to
a different region and each highlighting the awe-inspiring beauty of
the beautiful BC coast.
||Ole’s Hakai Pass Fishing Lodge, Hakai Pass
||Experience exceptional fishing for Salmon, Halibut, Red Snapper and Ling Cod in our protected, un-crowded waters in Hakai Pass on the West Coast of BC. Fishing within 5 minutes of our comfortable, clean full-service floating Lodge, everything is taken care off by our experienced, enthusiastic young staff. Fabulous Food, private accommodation, world-class fishing and genuine hospitality are what you can expect from this family-run Fishing Lodge.
||Spirit of the West Kayaking, Quadra Island
||Join our sea kayaking adventures around Vancouver Island, Canada's coastal kayaking paradise. Kayak with Killer Whales, paddle Desolation Sound, experience the remote north Nootka Sound, or kayak from the comfort of our 95 ft Mothership, the Songhee. Our sea kayaking trips depart from our base on Quadra Island in the BC Discovery Islands.