Churchill River Highlights
In Saskatchewan’s northwest, the mighty and majestic Churchill River begins its 1,600-km journey to Hudson Bay as a slow and lumbering expanse of water in Peter Pond and Churchill lakes near the small Saskatchewan community of Buffalo Narrows.
Lakes, Falls and Rapids in the Boreal
As can be easily seen on the map, the river is more a series of interconnected lakes. Yet, looks can be deceiving. Pristine lakes are a big part of the Churchill River; but, so too are the countless falls, rapids and ledges that cascade between lakes and course through the undulating, rocky and rugged Precambrian shield. Throw in huge areas of spectacular boreal wilderness and a rich and storied history and you begin to see why adventurers from around the world consider the Churchill River basin in Saskatchewan home to some of the finest canoe country that North America and the world has to offer.
The Churchill is but one of hundreds of rivers in Saskatchewan that lure canoeists each summer, yet, for the uninitiated and those who return year after year, the waterway offers paddlers of all experience levels a little bit of everything. All points along the river offer fabulous trip options; however, one of the most popular sections is the part that flows along the northern edge of giant Lac La Ronge Provincial Park. Here, the river can be accessed where Highway 102 crosses over Otter Rapids, near the small community of Missinipe, and at Stanley Mission.
One of the river’s most indelible landmarks is Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Stanley Mission. With its brilliant white steeple, stained glass windows and time-worn pews, the church, Saskatchewan’s oldest building, has stood tall on the riverbank since the mid-1800s. Downstream from the church is Nistowiak Falls, one of Saskatchewan’s highest waterfalls with a drop of 24 metres, which connects the Churchill River with the higher-level waters of Iskwatikan Lake.
Plan your water adventure
If you are a seasoned canoeist looking to plan your own trip, GoTrekkers online shop has topographic maps and a large selection of documented canoe routes in Saskatchewan.