For deep-woods adventure, you can’t beat the 52 miles on the White River between White Lake Provincial Park and Lake Superior in Pukaskwa. There are 18 rapids on the stretch, from class II (easy) to class VI+ (fatal), each with a signed and mapped portage trail so you can skip any you choose. Most paddlers will walk at least half the drops, including the longest, a 1.4-mile mandatory portage around 100-foot Umbata Falls and its hydropower plant.
From White Lake Provincial Park, spend five days paddling through forested canyons and camping on granite ledges beside roaring rapids, before a four-mile lake paddle across Superior. Build in extra days in case winds or surf delay your lake travel.
Looking for more challenge? Run the longer, swifter and more remote Pukaskwa River (go in May or June). Fill any extra time fishing for “jack” (Northern pike), “pickerel” (walleye) and rainbow trout. For that you’ll need an Ontario Outdoors Card ($10CAD) and a separate fishing license ($21-$76 CAD; 800-387-7011; mnr.gov.on.ca/en).
Map Crismar White River Wildwater; $13CAD; (905) 852-6151; chrismar.com
Permit Via Pukaskwa National Park; (807) 229-0801; pc.gc.ca
Guide & Gear Naturally Superior Adventures; naturallysuperior.com
Shuttle McCuaig Marine Services; $110CAD; (807) 229-0193; email@example.com
-Mapped by Steve Howe
- Distance: 83.8
Location: 48.696201, -85.641947
Start the paddling trip from this boat ramp in White Lake Provincial Park.
Location: 48.658356, -85.725584
Location: 48.65699, -85.736863
Portage around the White River Dam.
Location: 48.655088, -85.749064
Kapok Rapids and campsite
Location: 48.654699, -85.755249
End of the Kapok Rapids
Location: 48.64724, -85.762923
Location: 48.642017, -85.766098
Location: 48.639597, -85.769257
Campsite below Fearless Rapid
Location: 48.626351, -85.818553
Location: 48.619736, -85.818281
Jumbo Rapid and campsites
Location: 48.604755, -85.864003
Chicagonce Falls portage
Location: 48.60042, -85.862025
End 650M portage
Location: 48.598182, -85.864211
Location: 48.597412, -85.877124
Location: 48.594915, -85.883093
There's a campsite at the end of the 800M portage.
Location: 48.583553, -85.892812
Baptisimon Chute and campsite
Location: 48.555389, -85.921504
Location: 48.55326, -85.921791
There's an excellent campsite at the end of the 590M portage.
Location: 48.516262, -85.971249
Location: 48.517404, -86.004654
Possible camp on river right
Location: 48.541684, -86.028638
Location: 48.544579, -86.036282
Location: 48.552253, -86.104752
Location: 48.54602, -86.129212
Take the Umbata Falls Portage Trail on river right.
Location: 48.534155, -86.146976
End the 1.4-mile portage at this campsite.
Location: 48.537755, -86.175306
Twin Rapids 1
Location: 48.538776, -86.179036
End 360M portage
Location: 48.539303, -86.18095
Twin Rapids 2
Location: 48.546276, -86.226038
Hook Falls portage and ridgetop campsite
Location: 48.554386, -86.229552
Location: 48.555647, -86.229454
End 60M portage
Location: 48.558216, -86.232903
Follow the Chigamiwinigum Falls Portage Trail.
Location: 48.561615, -86.237301
End of the 700M portage
Location: 48.54589, -86.269571
Location: 48.55302, -86.270654
Excellent campsite on the Superior Shore
Location: 48.590554, -86.290336
Coast trailhead and visitor center