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 Post subject: Whiteshell Canoe Route
PostPosted: March 31st, 2011, 11:33 pm 

Joined: November 8th, 2009, 8:31 pm
Posts: 21
I am planning to go on a canoe trip this spring and was just wondering if anyone had any information at all about this route.

I am planning on starting on Big Whiteshell Lake > Mantario > Indian > Sailing to Caddy Lake.

The whole route appears to be around 60km with about 10km of portages would this be realistic to do in 6 days/5 nights?

Are the portages well marked/fairly easy to find in this area?

Any information or thoughts would be very much appreciated.

PostPosted: April 4th, 2011, 4:49 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 1976
Location: Manitoba
I hope someone else more knowledge adds info.

It is a canoe route, although I'm guess the mantario to Sailing is not used much. I know people do the big whitesell to mantario as well as the caddy end.

Your time line is good, but it is also very dependent on how you trip.



PostPosted: April 4th, 2011, 6:48 pm 

Joined: September 30th, 2008, 9:52 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Winnipeg
Hey PaddlePower. I should have posted my reply. The original poster sent me email directly and I didn't think to post my reply here as well.

I did this route last fall for the first time in 25 years. The portages are reasonably well marked and used. Somewhat less from Mantario to Sailing. Do you expect to do portages in one trip or twoThe reason I ask is if you do two trips over a portage you need to multiply your hike distance by 3.

I think your 10km estimate of the distance for the portages is a little low but the over all distance sounds right. I will dig around a bit to see if I actually wrote down the distance but it is more like 12-14km. You can actually make the trip a loop back up to Big Whiteshell which would save a car shuttle.

You have not identified your paddling skills but 6 days would be lots of time. The first set of portages into Mantario are pretty muddy. A couple of portage notes: Big Whiteshell to Crowduck (the official portage). The crowduck end is a real mess, there are a number of side trails through the bush but all of them are very wet and muddy. If you want to do Big Whiteshell to Ritchie it is just over twice as long. The first third of the portage is usually ankle deep in shoe sucking muck. The rest is nice.

Three Lake to Mantario is shown as just over 1km portage. But due to beaver dam over the last 4 years you can paddle most of the portage. I hope that the beavers continue to maintain the dam or it will be really messy.

Bishoff to Indian Head is the longest portage. It is pretty clear but in the fall last year there was a fallen tree right near the start which hid the actual portage and one of our group stayed on the rock and missed the portage.

Granite Lake to Sailing is mostly high - in the fall it was muddy due to a creek starting to form on the trail on the sailing side. On the Granite side there is a marshland area that I am told you can paddle through if the water is high cutting off part of the portage.

If you go early in the year check with the parks regarding the tunnels under the tracks on the Whiteshell river. You will be paddling against the current to Caddy Lake. There are portages around the tunnels - it has been a number of years since I have done these portages so I don't know what the conditions are like.

I typically don't camp on the Whiteshell river any more, especially over the summer, due to the number of people and the junk they leave behind. When I do stay on the river I tend to take out several garbage bags extra each trip (just tired of that)

Pick up the wilderness map of the park for camp site locations. If the hiking trail is open again next year the camp sites along the trail can have a number of groups at night and adding a canoe group might overwhelm some spots. There are bear boxes and 'Green Thrones' - you have to look about a bit.
- I have stayed at Ritchie Lake (near the portage to one lake).
- There is a camp site at the bottom of the portage on Three Lake (from two). I have not stayed there, it is small.
- On Mantario I have stayed both at the Hiking trial campsite and on the small island in the same bay.
- There is a camp site at the start of the portage from Bishoff to Indian Head. I have not stayed here but that is where the portage starts.
- I know there are a few campsites on the next few lakes but I have only paddled by - no idea what they are like.
– Granite Lake has two campsites to the west of the portage.

The trip is nice and if you are comfortable portaging (and canoeing) then 6 days is lots of time We took 2 nights/3 days when we did it in the fall.The nice thing about this route is after the second portage there is very little garbage left and you dont see many people.

The only comment one of my peers had was the amount of portaging he asked if we could go canoeing next year instead of hiking (tongue in cheek of course). We had a light Kevlar canoe and a heavier ABS boat the ABS boat was not a favourite to carry.

PostPosted: April 5th, 2011, 10:10 am 

Joined: November 8th, 2009, 8:31 pm
Posts: 21
If anyone else is interested in a trip in this region definitely check out burchil's website: ... index.html

Lots of good info there.

PostPosted: September 27th, 2020, 9:47 am 

Joined: September 24th, 2020, 1:01 pm
Posts: 2
Went from Big Whitshell, Crowduck, Richey, One, Two, Three to Mantario. Then cut across to Hop, lake, through Bishoff, Indian lake, Brant Lake and to Sailing lake. Then went north up the Whiteshell river through Litlle Whiteshell lake and back to Big Whiteshell lake. My friend and I did it in 3 days and 2 nights. I stayed on the small island on Mantario lake it’s a very nice campsite with fire pit and picnic table. It is small however. Second night stayed at Sailing lake. Stayed at the campsite on the top of the peninsula across from the portage end from a granite lake. It was big but pretty messy looks like a big group of fisherman stayed here as there was toilet paper and eggshells everywhere. The portages were somewhat easy to find except the one from Bishoff to Indian lake the 1750m one. It’s around the peninsula from where it says on my GPS. There is a campsite there and the portage marker is jammed in the fire pit. Many of the portage markers are damaged or hanging by one bolt or even laying on the ground. In perticular from mantario to sailing. There is a lot of portaging and it is pretty challenging for 3 days. 4 would be optimal. If staying at Mallard falls campsite there is no portage marker from mallard lake into the whiteshell river around the falls. On the portage there is a nice big campsite. The portage is on the right of the falls. Also I would suggest doing this trip in early summer I did in August and mallard lake was very overgrown with wild rice and other marsh. It took a lot of effort to paddle through it.

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