Canada’s 23rd National Park – La Mauricie National Park protects a chunk of billion year old scenic Canadian Shield. It doesn’t have the wow factor of some of the other national parks in Canada but it’s accessible, family-friendly and the lakes and Laurentian foothills are very beautiful. Canoeing in La Mauricie National Park is a particularly good way to experience its beauty – either as a day or overnight trip.
A canoe or kayak trip in La Mauricie National Park
There are two main launch points for a canoeing trip in La Mauricie – Lac Wapizagonke and Lac Édouard.
Both offer easy paddling – at least if the winds don’t blow up and many campsites are within a short distance of the launch site – making it a great option for new paddlers and families. There are also opportunities for extended wilderness trips, starting on either one of these lakes as well – if you’re prepared to do some portaging.
A loop trip canoeing in La Mauricie
If you start on 17 km long Lac Wapizagonke, then you can do a circular canoeing trip in La Mauricie with either seven or nine portages, depending on how much time you have and how many lakes you want to visit. Portages range in length from 0.4 km to 2.4 km.
If you’re very energetic there is one more option in this part of the park – a 4.7 km one way portage to Lac Houle, but there’s no camping once you get there.
Paddling possibilities out of Lac Edouard are numerous as well. If you paddle north, you can explore some of the least visited and inaccessible areas of La Mauricie via a string of long, narrow lakes and a minimum of four portages. You can also paddle south and head for Lac à la Pêche though five portages in excess of a kilometre are required.
Don’t leave the park without seeing more of beautiful Lac Wapizagonke. It’s a long, narrow lake with beautiful outcroppings and plenty of bird life. In addition, it’s the site of 5,000 year old red ochre rock paintings that attest to the presence of native Algonquin people called Attikameks.
What La Mauricie lacks in grandeur, it makes up for by way of offering a peaceful, contemplative adventure that soothes the soul. And the swimming is sublime.
Where is La Mauricie National Park?
You’ll find La Mauricie National Park roughly halfway between Montreal and Quebec City in the Laurentian foothills. From both cities it’s about 165 kilometres away, close to the city of Shawinigan.
In the fall, the area is truly one of the most spectacular in Canada for its foliage display.
Useful information for paddling in the park
Costs are as follows: $8.50 per adult/day, $7.25 for seniors and youth under 17 are free. It’s $16.75 canoe camping/night for 2 people, $26.00 canoe camping/night with firewood and a $19.00 daily fishing fee. (All prices are valid in 2023.)
You can rent a canoe or kayak from LocationCanot right beside the lakes.