Saskatoon (and Saskatchewan) have no end of amazing lakes and rivers to explore. Whether paddling a paddleboard, kayak or canoe - there’s a spot to enjoy close to the city.
Here are four trips to consider heading out on this summer:
Canoeing Pike Lake
Pike Lake is only 20 minutes south of Saskatoon on Valley Road. The park is one of Saskatchewan’s smallest but also quite busy as many Saskatonians head out from the city for the day. It’s the perfect place for a day-trip canoe trip (or a weekend getaway for those that love to camp). The lake is actually an oxbow - a u-shaped lake formed when part of a river is cut off - created by the South Saskatchewan River.
For paddlers, the boat launch is to the first left and down the road as you enter the park gates (it’s well signed). Admission is $10 a day per vehicle or $75 for an annual Sask Parks pass. The lake is long and narrow and perfect for paddling and exploring the shorelines as well as through the lily pads. If you’re lucky, you might spot beavers, turtles and plenty of birdlife.
Paddleboarding from Poplar Bluffs into Saskatoon on the South Saskatchewan River
Distance: 12 kilometres, 2-3 hours,
Poplar Bluffs Conservation Area is also along Valley Road about 10 minutes south of Saskatoon. Accessing the river from the parking lot takes a bit of effort. A path leads to the river but ends in a sandy cliff-side descent to the water below. (However, it’s usually pretty well-trod to get down and is possible to haul canoes, paddleboards and kayaks up and down the steep bank). Often there are sand bars to hop across to reach the main flow of the river but it depends on the time of year and how high water levels are. Directly across is a split in the river around Wilson Island. The paddle back into downtown Saskatoon takes about 2 hours.
Kayaking the Chief Whitecap Waterway
Distance: 50km from Whitecap Dakota First Nation, 100km from Gardiner Dam, 1-3 days
A few years ago I paddle boarded 50km along the Chief Whitecap Waterway from the Whitecap Dakota First Nation on an overnight trip. Since then, I’ve doubled the trip distance in a kayak, starting out all the way south at the Gardiner Dam on Lake Diefenbaker. We slept along the sandy shores of the river for two nights as we sometimes paddled and sometimes drifted back into the city. The trip is perfect for those looking for a big adventure close to home. Even a few kilometres out of the city you still feel like you’re out in the wilderness.
Canoeing the North Saskatchewan River from Borden Bridge to the Petrofka Bridge
Distance: 45 kilometres, 6-7 hours
This is a trip I’ve yet to personally complete but it’s on my list this year as I’ve got my eye on catching and releasing a Sturgeon fish!. The trip starts out 45km from Saskatoon at the Borden Bridge and continues for another 45km to the Petrofka Bridge. It takes about a whole day but leaves just enough time to stop in and grab a tasty meal at the quirky and eclectic The Olive Tree Restaurant and Blacktop Diner on your way back to the city.