French River: Eighteen Mile Island Loop (5 days / 75 km)

Eighteen Mile Island Loop - Day 4 - Haystack Islands

This is a classic Canadian canoe route with historical significance and incredible river scenery. Paddlers on this route travel a key link on the water highway that connects Montreal to Lake Superior and beyond. This canoe route had been used for centuries by the indigenous people of Canada, the early European explorers and the voyageurs involved in the fur trade.

The definitive Canadian Shield topography is made of rugged, glaciated rock dramatically positioned over an ancient fault line filled with water flowing in from Lake Nipissing. It’s simply breathtaking in its sublime natural beauty, especially in the Five Mile Rapids section where burgeoning whitewater paddlers make their way through a series of river drops in the main channel. It’s a bucket-list trip that every canoeist should try. 

Trip Completed: August 2021

Trip Summary

Starting Point: The trip starts and ends on Dry Pine Bay at Loon’s Landing campground and marina. There is a moderate fee for parking and launching.  

Phone: (705) 857-2175      

Website: LoonsLanding.ca 

Ending Point: As it is a circuit route, the trip ends again at Loon’s Landing. Paddlers will portage into Eighteen Mile Bay travel up the north channel against the current and then back down the French River’s main channel. It could be done in either direction, but it is strongly recommended to go clockwise as there are more rapids and stronger current on the main channel where it would be beneficial to be heading downstream.

Total Distance: 75 km

Duration: The trip can be done comfortably in 5 days. 

Difficulty: Beginner. This is an excellent introduction to whitewater canoeing for those who would like a taste of it. Flatwater paddlers can enjoy it, too, as there are portages past all dangerous whitewater. 

Location

This route is on crown land and in French River Provincial Park. 

Refer to the map below for starting point...

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