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A Canoe or Kayak Trip in La Mauricie National Park, Quebec

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Canada’s 23rd National Park – La Mauricie National Park protects a chunk of billion year old scenic Canadian Shield. It doesn’t have the wow factor of some of the other national parks in Canada but it’s accessible, family friendly and the lakes and Laurentian foothills are still very beautiful.

"The view down Looking down Lac Edouard in La Maurice National Park"

The view down Looking down Lac Edouard

There are two main launch points for a paddling trip – Lac Wapizagonke and Lac Édouard. Both offer easy paddling – at least if the winds don’t blow up and many campsites are within a short distance of the launch site – making it a great option for new paddlers and families. There are also opportunities for extended wilderness trips, starting on either one of these lakes as well – if you’re prepared to do some portaging.

"Campsite 13 on a side lake connected to Lac Wapizagonke"

Campsite 13 on a side lake connected to Lac Wapizagonke

If you start on 17 km (10.6 mi) long Lac Wapizagonke, then you can do a circular route with either seven or nine portages – depending on how much time you have and how many lakes you want to visit. Portages range in length from 0.4 km (0.3 mi) to 2.4 km (1.5 mi).

"Beautiful aquatic plants in bloom"

Beautiful aquatic plants in bloom

Paddling possibilities out of Lac Edouard are numerous as well. If you paddle north, you can explore some of the least visited and inaccessible areas of the park via a string of long, narrow lakes and a minimum of four portages. You can also paddle south and head for Lac à la Pêche though five portages in excess of a kilometer are required.

"Exploring a section of Lac Wapizagonke"

Exploring a section of Lac Wapizagonke

Don’t leave the park without seeing more of beautiful Lac Wapizagonke. It’s a long, narrow lake with beautiful outcroppings and plenty of bird life. In addition, it’s the site of 5000 year old red ochre rock paintings that attest to the presence of native Algonquin people called Attikameks.

"Looking down Lac Wapizagonke in La Maurice National Park"

Looking down Lac Wapizagonke

What La Mauricie lacks in grandeur, it makes up for by way of offering a peaceful, contemplative adventure that soothes the soul. And the swimming is sublime. You’ll find the park roughly halfway between Montreal and Quebec City in the Laurentian foothills. In the fall, the area is truly one of the most spectacular in Canada for its foliage display.

Useful Information

  • Costs are as follows: $7.80 per adult/day, $3.90 per youth/day, $15.70 canoe camping/night, $24.50 canoe camping/night with firewood, $9.80 daily fishing fee
  • You can rent a canoe or kayak from LocationCanot right beside the lakes.

Do you have a favourite place to paddle in Quebec?

Leigh McAdam


Author Hike Bike Travel

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Rachel M says:

    Canoeing in a serene environment, surrounded by beautiful folliage and breathtaking views of lakes sounds like a great deal. I’m sure it’s also a great hiking place.
    Btw what’s the difference between kayaking and canoeing?

    • @Rachel Canoes usually have an open cockpit – akin to a dugout boat. The paddle has one blade and you sit higher up from the water compared to a kayak. The modern kayak, is derived from the Inuit Eskimo craft. Usually it has a closed cockpit (at least for long trips) and you’re just a layer of fiberglass or plastic away from the water. The paddle has two blades so the stroke is very different.

  • I don’t know, Leigh. In my mind, La Maurice definitely has the “wow” factor. Coming from L.A., I think I’m pretty much in awe whenever I see lakes and beautiful green trees. This looks like a gorgeous camping destination.

  • Eric Haubert says:

    Those are some stunning photos and I am sure anyone will enjoy spending time in a place like that. Thinking about canoe trips the first thing came into my minds was my canoe trips at Algonquin park a few months back. The trip was arranged by the algonquin park lodge which also provided me great accommodation. It was so calm and relaxing feeling those lakes gave me that I want to visit the place more often if time helps. When I see articles like this about various canoe trip locations I love to spend each day of my life in such locations.

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