If you’re looking for pure untouched Wilderness, look no further than Atikaki Provincial Park. A two-hour drive east of Winnipeg along the Ontario border, and north of Whiteshell and Nopiming Provincial Parks, Atikaki Provincial Park is a dedicated wilderness zone. This means it’s free of logging roads, logging areas, and other significant developments. It is pure wilderness, with endless canoe routes.
You could spend an entire summer canoeing through the park, exploring its different lakes and rivers.
Starting from Wallace Lake, there is a 120-kilometre canoe route that loops through the park, going through most of the major lakes. It even ventures over the border into Ontario’s Woodland Caribou Park.
The length of time this trip takes is 5 to 7 days. When planning for this trip, I initially hoped to complete it in six days, but with a little extra paddling each day, we ended up completing it in five.
Route: Wallace Lake -> Siderock Lake -> Wanipigow River
The first half of day one was easy. The lakes and rivers were nice and calm, and the first portage trail was long, but an easy walk.
As the day went on we started to encounter more obstacles. There was the occasional beaver dam crossing the river, and low areas where we had to avoid rocks in the water.
The end of day one was the toughest part of the trip. We entered an area that had been burnt by a forest fire. The portage trail here was non-existent. Fallen trees were everywhere, making it impossible to know where to go. Thankfully I had GPS to point out the right direction.
Route: Haggart River
The second day had some of the nicest scenery. We left the burnt area behind by the afternoon.
We encountered several waterfalls, and plenty of wildlife, including a garter snake.
Near the end of the day, as the sun started to set, we made our way along the haggard river, with its towing cliffs standing tall along one side of the river, reflecting the setting sun.
We eventually found a flat area amongst the trees to make camp.
Route: Gammon River -> Carrol Lake -> Aikens Lake
Day three, just like day two, included a lot of waterfalls and rapids.
When we canoed through Aikens Lake we encountered a fishing lodge, as well as a float plane.
At the end of the day, I spent some time exploring the forest and climbing among the cliffs.
Route: Aikens Lake -> BroadLeaf -> Leaf Lake
Day four was interesting. Like the past few days, we encountered more waterfalls. We also had a long portage. The portage trail was in good shape, which made the long hike easier.
We had to canoe through thick reads, and a lake covered in lily pads. It would have been cool to see the lily pads while they were in bloom.
Eventually, we ended up making camp on a small island. The island was nice, but the massive amount of mosquitoes was not.
Route: Leaf Lake -> Wallace Lake
Day five was composed of canoeing through a narrow creek. The creek winded back and forth, almost endlessly, and we were lucky if we had a foot of water beneath us.
We did encounter a few nice waterfalls though, which made up for it.
At the end of the day we made it back to Wallace Lake. On our way through, we discovered the Conley Mine site.
During the entire trip, we encountered a lot of wildlife, including half a dozen bald eagles, a garter snake, swans, otters, a mink, and even a timber wolf! Sadly we didn’t see any moose or caribou though.