Wild Canoe Adventure on the Seal River

Seal River | Manitoba
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go canoeing on the Seal River

  • Trip Highlight

    Difficult access means the nature here is untouched

  • Trip Highlight

    The river corridor is home to 30 plant species and abundant wildlife

  • Trip Highlight

    Witness natural features such as 300 m wide eskers, as well as drumlin and boulder fields

Unencumbered by dams and largely untouched by human hand, Manitoba’s Seal River offers canoeing opportunities that only a handful of intrepid adventurers experience each year. Spanning for 260 km from its source at Shethanei Lake to Hudson bay, the Seal River allows you to witness some of Canada’s wildest and most pristine landscapes. The river flows through a mix of boreal forests into a transitional subarctic environment and through arctic tundra, eventually reaching the estuary on Hudson Bay. During the course of two weeks, you’ll encounter both short rapids and more demanding, long and technical ones as well as numerous small canyon sections. Apart from canoeing, you’ll spend your days preparing delectable food, breathing in the spruce-scented air, and observing the rich flora and fauna found in the area. And since this canoeing heaven is not easily accessible, you’ll have it all to yourself—it hardly gets better than that!

Season

August

Nearest city

Your adventure starts in Thompson, MB

Duration

16 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

Wild Canoe Adventure on the Seal River

16 days

Head into Canada’s wilderness and enjoy two weeks of guided canoeing on the Seal River in Manitoba. Paddle the Seal River and its series of rapids ranging from easy swifts to more challenging white water as you make your way from boreal forests to a subarctic environment and arctic tundra. Soak up the views of stunning landscapes, revel in meals at campsites, share stories with your fellow canoers, and let your guide organize an unforgettable adventure!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Thompson

After you arrive in Thomspon, Manitoba, you’ll meet your guide who will carry out a gear check. You’ll have dinner and spend the night in Thompson. Get ready because a two week adventure is ahead of you!

An early morning at the airport in Thompson, Manitoba

Day 2: Charter to the Seal River

Kick off the day with breakfast and catch a flight to Shethanei Lake, the source of the Seal River. Once you arrive, you and your guide will set up a camp and review canoe skills so that you can prepare for the upcoming week on this beautiful river.

Two men in a canoe on the Seal River in Manitoba

Days 3-14: Paddle the Seal River

Over the next 12 days, you’ll explore the Seal River which flows through dense boreal forests and the barren and rocky subarctic wilderness. Your guide will navigate your way through the amazing landscapes that surround the river as you deal with long sets of rapids and a boulder-strewn tidal estuary. You’ll also hike to the top of eskers to marvel at the panoramic vistas. Apart from paddling, you will spend your days watching the beautiful wildlife and rarely-found plant species, camping each night on a rocky outcropping or by a sandy esker, eating delicious and filling meals over a wood fire or camping stove and relaxing next to the Seal River.

Canoers on the Seal River in Manitoba

Day 15: Boat shuttle to Churchill

Once you arrive at the tidal estuary, you’ll meet your boat shuttle that will take you across Hudson’s Bay to the town of Churchill in Manitoba. During the ride, make sure you take in the views of polar bears and beluga whales. Once in Churchill, check into your hotel for a hot shower and you’ll be able to have an optional group dinner. Spend the night in Churchill and get ready to depart on the next day.

A canoe on the Seal River in Manitoba

Day 16: Departure

Today is the last day of your adventure. These two weeks have gone by really fast, but you’ve made some memories that will last a lifetime! Get ready to head back home from Churchill and exchange your contact info with your fellow canoers.

People in Cape Merry in Churchill, Manitoba
Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures on the Seal River, Manitoba

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures on the Seal River, MB, please refer to the official website of the Province of Manitoba.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local canoeing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • 14 days of canoeing
    • Accommodations in tents during canoeing days
    • Charter flight to Shethanei Lake on Day 2
    • Motorboat shuttle from the mouth of the Seal River to Churchill on Day 15
    • Transportation of guides, group gear, canoe, etc. to and from trip
    • Meals from breakfast on Day 2 to lunch on Day 15
    • Snacks
    • 17’ prospector expedition canoes
    • Paddles, PFD, helmets, tents, and canoe rescue gear
    • Throw lines and other safety accessories
    • All cooking equipment
    • First aid and repair kits
    • Communications equipment (satellite phone)
    • 5% GST

What’s not included:

    • Transportation before and after the trip
    • Accommodations in Thompson on Day 1 and in Churchill on Day 15
    • Meals not specified under “what’s included”
    • Personal clothing and gear
    • Any additional expenses as a result of delays to the trip and due to your emergency evacuation from the trip

How fit do I need to be?

You need to have a very good level of fitness to participate in this canoeing trip. You should be capable of carrying a heavy load (packs and barrels) or a canoe (75 lb / 34 kg). There will be some mandatory portages which can be in poor condition and will undoubtedly have poor footing and mud. You should be prepared to carry your share of the group’s load. The pace will be fairly brisk but you’ll have time for instruction and coaching along the way. You’ll be paddling and hiking for 13 days.

What if I’ve never gone canoeing before?

In order to participate in this canoeing adventure, you need to have previous whitewater canoeing experience. You don’t need to be an expert, but you should be familiar with all whitewater maneuvers and safety since the rapids range from easy swifts and short rapids to more challenging sustained whitewater with rock, ledges, drops, and large waves. The challenging river trip includes cold-water lake paddling, long and technical sets of rapids, and a boulder-strewn tidal estuary. You’ll also encounter some longer rocky “pool and drop” rapids, a number of small canyon sections

What do I need to bring?

Canoes, paddles, personal floatation devices, helmets, throw lines and other accessories, tents, all cooking equipment, first aid and repair kits, communications equipment, and canoe rescue gear will be provided by your guiding service. Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

    • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed
    • Personal clothing
    • Gloves
    • Sun hat
    • Toque 
    • Rain pants
    • Waterproof rain jacket
    • Pants
    • Jacket
    • Warm jacket
    • Sweater
    • Underwear
    • Socks
    • T-shirts
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunglasses lanyard
    • Running shoes
    • Sandals
    • Swimsuit
    • Bug clothing
    • Lifejacket with whistle
    • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
    • Spare clothes for layering
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Headlamp or flashlight
    • Camera — optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

    • For this group canoeing adventure, the max. client to guide ratio is 5:1. 
    • Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.

Canoeing on the Seal River can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

    • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A deposit of 50% of the total price is due with your booking unless otherwise indicated. Once your guide confirms your booking, your trip departure is guaranteed. Final payments are due 120 days before your trip starts. If you book the trip within 120 days of departure, full payment is due upon booking. Please note that deposits are absolutely non-refundable, and final payments are non-refundable after the final payment date. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

    • If you need to cancel a reservation, please do so in writing (best by email). Once your booking is confirmed, you and your guiding service enter into financial obligations and they cannot refund payments or release you from your contractual obligations. Therefore, it is highly recommended buying cancellation insurance to cover your losses for the case that you can’t participate or have to interrupt your trip “for any reason”.
    • Your guiding service does reserve the right to change guides, particular lodging or the itinerary or venue should unforeseen circumstances (guide sickness, hut or route closing etc.) force them to do so or should the physical condition of the participants, weather or mountain conditions make a continuation as planned too risky. Your guiding service will not be deemed to be in default for any delay or failure to perform their obligations under this agreement resulting from acts of God, the elements, war, acts of government, civil or military authorities, natural calamities, catastrophe, fire, flood, accidents, epidemics, shortage of transportation, or any other like events beyond their reasonable control.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to your meeting point in Thompson, Manitoba, you can fly into Thompson Municipal Airport (YTH) or, if there are no direct flights, into Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG). From there you can fly into Thompson Municipal Airport (YTH), 10 minutes away from Thompson by taxi.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, you will meet your guide in Thompson, where you’ll spend the night, and on Day 2 you’ll take a charter flight to Shethanei Lake. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

On Day 15, you’ll take a boat shuttle to Churchill, Manitoba, where you’ll spend the night and head home after that.

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