Missinaibi River: Missinaibi Lake to Moosonee (22 days / 524 km)

The Missinaibi River is a Canadian Heritage River and one of the most iconic rivers in the country. The Upper Missinaibi weaves through the Canadian Shield, with dozens of whitewater rapids to paddle and several canyons and chutes to portage around. The Lower Missinaibi flows straight until it joins the Moose River, where it carves through Hudson Bay Lowlands, gradually widening and it reaches James Bay.

And as the shortest route between Lake Superior and James Bay, the river is full of history, as it was used for transportation for several First Nations and the fur trade.

This trip report covers the entire length of the Missinaibi River - from Missinaibi Lake all the way to the town of Moosonee, located where the river meets James Bay. We completed it over 22 days, however, our route probably could have been done 18 days.

Trip Completed: July 2017

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Lake Mattice

Ending Point: Moosonee

Total Distance: 524 km

Duration: 22 days

Difficulty: Advanced

Location: The Missinaibi River begins at Missinaibi Lake, which is about 60 km northeast of Wawa and the Trans-Canada Highway. It flows north and northeast, passing underneath Highway 11. After more than 400 kilometres, the Missinaibi flows into the Moose River and ultimately empties in the James Bay.

Traditional Territory: The Missinaibi River passes through the traditional territory of Anishinabewaki, Abitibiwinni Aki, Michif Piyii (Métis), Cree and Moose Cree (source).

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: Definitely get a copy of Missinaibi: Journey to the Northern Sky by Hap Wilson. He has illustrations and detailed descriptions of every rapid, plus labels for where all the campsites are.

Maps: Seeing as this is a 524 km long river, there were a lot of maps. We photocopied the sections of the map that had the Missinaibi River onto 8.5 x 11 paper. Then we labelled the order and laminated each one. We still brought all the maps but kept th...

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