Nabakwasi River Canoe Route
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The Ministry of Natural Resources has done all that it can do to ensure that this pamphlet is as accurate as possible, but sometimes errors can occur or nature can change the configuration of routes and features. Persons following routes and descriptions contained in this pamphlet do so at their own risk.
Where there are no obvious portages, rapids should be scouted before running or lining canoes. Canoeists should always have approved life jackets, spare paddles and strong lengths of rope. In rough weather, canoeists should stay close to shore. Medical aid may be far away so take a first aid kit. Always give a responsible person details of your trip including departure and return times and locations so that if you are overdue, it will be easier to locate you. The Ontario Provincial Police should be contacted if you are overdue. Allow for bad weather and it is wise to carry at least 2 extra days of food in case of delay. In the event of trouble, stay to the planned route and practice survival techniques.
This area can experience extreme and rapid changes in weather conditions. The average daily highs for May to September are 15 to 24 degrees Celsius and lows range from 2 to 10 C.
Due to variable topography, the river and lakes on this route and those that flow into it are subject to seasonal water level fluctuations. Dangerous white water may be found in unexpected places during the spring melt or the same areas could become shallow and rocky in the late summer. A wet or dry season may also affect the water levels, so plan your trip accordingly.
No lake or stream is necessarily safe to drink, so always boil your water before using. During periods of heavy rain, the water may become cloudy with suspended particles so it requires filtering or allowing the particles to settle before using.
Bears and other wild animals will do their best to avoid human contact unless tempted by food odours or if their young are threatened. So keep your campsite clean and hang food in a tree away from campsite when not in use to avoid problems. If you are lucky you may observe moose, beavers, ducks, otters, loons or numerous other wildlife. Enjoy ,but please do not tease or disturb them.
This pamphlet should be used only as a guide, it is recommended that you obtain more detailed maps and should also include a compass with your gear. Other maps 1:50,000 topographic series - # 41 P/t 1 and # 41 P/12 1:100,000 series - Gogama These maps may be available for purchase at the local area office. For more information, contact Ministry Of Natural Resources.
NABAKWASI CANOE ROUTE DESCRIPTION - TRIP TIME AND DISTANCE
OPTION # 1 :
FINISH : TOGO ACCESS
TOTAL DISTANCE: 50 KM / TIME: 3 - 4 DAYS
OPTION # 2 :
FINISH: AT START POINT GOGAMA
TOTAL DISTANCE: 62 KM TIME: 3 - 5 DAYS
STARTING POINT - MINISINAKWA LAKE
The route begins at the Minisinakwa Lake access point just before the town of Gogama, located on hwy # 661. There is room to park vehicles at this access point. As you depart from here, head north-east (left) towards two large islands located in the middle of the lake, continue past them until you reach the entrance to the Noble River which heads south-east (right).
DISTANCE COVERED: 5 Kilometres
NOBLE RIVER - DUCKBREAST LAKE
The Noble River starts off wide but soon narrows, about one kilometre from the entrance the river branches off to the south-east (left) or to the south-west (right)which leads to Pensyl Creek, the route continues south-east (left). This part of the Noble River system soon leads to Duckbreast Lake. This lake is shallow and some of the shoreline is lined with bedrock sloping into the water. There is a campsite on the west shore and further along as the lake narrows a large campsite is on the east shore (left side). After this point the lake widens again and a bay opens up to the left and you will pass a smail island of bedrocK and some trees . At the end of this section will be the first portage.
PORTAGE # 1 - LENGTH: 160 METRES
The portage is located on the left shore and the water flows towards the paddler. There is a waterfall further up and due to the direction of flow and its grandeur, these rapids are impossible to line the canoe. It exits onto a small body of water, which is shallow and rocky at this point. The second portage can be seen directly across the water from here.
PORTAGE # 2 - LENGTH - 180 METRES
The portage is located to the right of the rapids and may be extremely wet early in the season. This section of water has many fallen trees obstructing it, making it difficult to line the canoe through it.
Groves Lake is wide at first and has a small island before the lake narrows, the marshy shoreline of this area has caused many trees along the shoreline to die. Near the end of this lake is a large island with a very scenic campsite on it. The slanted rock shoreline is an ideal spot for a picnic or swimming and the large campsite will accommodate a couple of large tents. Another half kilometre from the island is the end of Groves Lake and the portage that connects to Hanover Lake.
PORTAGE # 3 - LENGTH -115 METRES
The portage is extremely steep and exits to a marshy area of Hanover Lake.
DISTANCE COVERED: 14 KILOMETRES
Hanover Lake is long and narrow, some of the shoreline has high rock faces and there are a couple of islands. There is a campsite located half way down the lake.
PORTAGE # 4 - LENGTH 50 METRES
Care should be taken while approaching this portage. Directly below the sign is a beaver damn and the beginning of some fast flowing water . The portage trail is to the left of the sign and the canoes must be lifted up a two foot high ledge. The trail is narrow, rocky, and steep. There is a short paddle across this section of water and you will have to lift the canoes over a section of marsh and beaver dam .Before entering the main part of Londonderry Lake this section of water narrows and a campsite can be found here on the west shore (right).
DISTANCE COVERED: 19 KILOMETRES
LONDONDERRY LAKE - HANOVER CREEK
At the end of this lake is a private camp and to the right of it is the entrance to Hanover Creek. About 200 metres along, the creek splits to the right and the left, make sure you head to the east (left). The creek is narrow, winding and may be very shallow depending on the season, there are many fallen trees and fast flowing water.
PORTAGE # 5 - LENGTH 250 METRES
Located after a bend in the creek, the portage is on the right side, is fairly flat, and bypasses two sets of rapids.
PORTAGE # 6 - LENGTH 200 METRES
Located on the left, it is hilly and rugged and the end of the trail is marshy and wet. It is possible to line a canoe on this section depending on the water level.
PORTAGE # 7 - LENGTH 150 METRES
The entrance is on the right, bypasses a short set of rapids and it is possible to line a canoe on this section.
PORTAGE # 8 - LENGTH 100 METRES
Located on the left, it bypasses a set of rapids with a drop at the end. This may be paddled in high water.
PORTAGE # 9 - LENGTH 30 METRES
Located on the left, this portage bypasses a set of rapids. Further along is a possible spot for camping where an old logging road used to cross the creek. Continue along creek until it joins the Donnegana River which is wider than the creek, it heads to the south and north make sure you head north (to the left).
DISTANCE COVERED: 26 KILOMETRES
DONNEGANA - NABAKWASI RIVER
Heading north, a campsite for 1-3 tents is located 3 kilometres from creek and another kilometre along, the Nabakwasi River flows in from the east (right),continue north 3 more kilometres until you reach the next portage.
PORTAGE # 10 - LENGTH 725 METRES
Located on the right, it heads up hill, then a steep descent and follows the rapids after a large waterfall. There is bedrock sloping into the water where it is possible to resume canoeing but it is recommended to continue along the trail until the final portage sign. Before the next portage there is a campsite on the east shore ; 1-2 tents.
DISTANCE COVERED: 34 KILOMETRES
PORTAGE # 11 - LENGTH 430 METRES
This portage is located on a large island. When approaching it the water heads on both sides, take the right side and the portage is on the left . There are rapids and waterfalls on both sides of the island and the portage cuts diagonally across it. After this there is a small island with fast water on both sides, stay to the left and depending on water levels the canoe may have to be lined on this section.
PORTAGE # 12 - LENGTH 325 METRES
This portage is located on the right after a bend in the river. It bypasses a set of scenic but dangerous rapids and waterfalls, the trail passes a spot to view them, then there is a steep descent to the end where a small campsite is located.
The river is now wider and the flow is slower, the shoreline varies from marsh to very scenic rock outcrops and cliffs. About 6 km up from the last portage is a large campsite on the east shore just before the river narrows between rock outcrops. Just beyond this is a small waterfall flowing down the west shore. A fish sanctuary zone is located in this section with "No Fishing" allowed from May to mid June, please observe the notice signs posted along this route. Further along there are very high rock cliffs on the east shore, then the river will curve around a shoreline of small white birch trees where you will notice wooden planks lining the shore which are remnants of an old lumber mill site.
Further along on the left is a private camp and if you follow the left shore it will take you to the very scenic Togo Rapids where portage # 13 is located for those returning to the starting point of the route.
If you are planning on fishing at the Mattagami Water Access locally known as the Togo Access Point, then follow the right shore instead and about 1 kilometre up on the left shore is the smaller of the two access points, further along is the main Togo Access Point where the end of the route is.
DISTANCE COVERED: 50 KILOMETRES
PORTAGE # 13 -1500 METRES OR 900 METRES
There are 2 choices of portages to take : the trail on the left shore is 1500 metres in length and after the first 200 metres it is flat and easy walking but it totally bypasses the scenic rapids and water falls.
The trail on the right shore in a small bay is the entrance to the shorter but very rugged portage. There are a couple of possible campsites on this trail and it passes along the rapids closely in places .The scenery is well worth the effort on this trail and a look-out spot for viewing a beautiful section of the waterfalls and rapids is located near the end of the trail. Care should be taken while walking on this trail and especially if exploring along the edge of the rapids as these rapids are fast flowing and very dangerous. At the end of the trail there is a short paddle towards a small island where water flows from both sides. Head up the left side and it may be necessary to line the canoe up a very short section of water or lift over remnants of an old bridge .From here continue another 2 kilometres until you reach the last portage around a dam.
PORTAGE # 14 - LENGTH 30 METRES
This portage is to the right of the dam and a large campsite is located here. From here continue another 9 kilometres until you reach the Minisinakwa Lake Access Point where the start and finish point of the route is.
DISTANCE COVERED: 62 KILOMETRES
HAVE A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE TRIP