French River: Wolseley Bay to Dry Pine Bay (4 days / 42 km)

Amazing water of French River Wolseley Bay

The French River is a phenomenal trip for those looking for a relaxed pace, beautiful scenery, and awesome fishing. It’s well suited for families and those heading out for the first time. Campsites are plentiful, well kept, and well marked. Additionally, the navigation and route finding on this trip are relatively straightforward. There are a few rapids that are all CI or CII at low water (summer levels), and can also be portaged really easily if they aren’t your thing.

I highly recommend bringing a fishing rod and taking a couple of casts! Pickerel, bass, and pike are all plentiful, and the muskies might bite as well. The French River area is rich in Indigenous history (the Ojibway name for the French is Amikziibii, which refers to the dense beaver population), as well as voyageur and logging history (watch out for old machinery in the water!). Samuel de Champlain also travelled these waters, although he was unimpressed with what he saw – he referred to the French River as “totally useless for agriculture”; that may have had something to do with the classic Canadian Shield / granite bedrock scenery that makes this area so beautiful. 

Trip Completed: July 2021.

Report Updated: September 2022.

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Wolseley Bay Boat launch (contact Wolseley Lodge for parking - at time of writing, parking was $6.19 per day)

Ending Point: Dry Pine Bay (Loon Landing: $10 per day, per vehicle, bring cash)

Total Distance: 41 km

Duration: 4 days

Difficulty: Beginner

Location: This trip is located in the French River Provincial Park. You’ll need permits for the duration of your stay, however sites are first come first served. As you get closer to Dry Pine Bay you’ll notice more and more motorboat traffic and sites might be taken by motorboaters before you get there.

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: This route can be found in Kevin Callan's Top 50 Canoe Routes of Ontario (it’s the downstream section around 18 Mile Isl...

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