Where to Kayak in Winnipeg

Where to Kayak in Winnipeg: A Guide For All Skill Levels

Being in a city that’s home to wondrous bodies of water, particularly the crossing of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, Winnipegians aren’t strangers to aquatic adventures.

I’ve had my fair share of water excursions, too, and kayaking is one of the many things I recommend to any traveler in the city. What I love about this activity is that its difficulty level can be customized depending on your mood or expertise, or the lack thereof!

The city has calm waters if you just plan on having a laid-back day without much fuss, and you can maybe even have a picnic by the shore after. But if you want to make it a bit more blood-pumping, there are spots for extreme kayaking, too.

Whatever your preference is, let me tell you about some of the best spots for kayaking in Winnipeg to kick-start your next outdoor adventure!

1. Red River

Red River

Of course, it’s just right to kick off this list with the biggest river in the city–Red River! 

We often associate kayaking with being out in the wilderness, away from the hustle and bustle, but this route actually goes through the downtown area so you’ll have a pretty unique view of the city.

I highly recommend starting from Whittier Park as it’s the closest launch-off point to The Forks, the heartbeat of downtown Winnipeg. Before you hop off at the site, be sure to snap some photos as you pass under the iconic Esplanade Riel Footbridge.

A little north of the Whittier route is Kildonan Park; it’s great for picnics and sightseeing as it’s home to a beautiful flower garden. I’d recommend this to families or couples looking for a laid-back launching point.

Overall, the Red River is a fairly calm route for kayaking and only typically sees an increase in the water current once it’s spring up until the early weeks of summer.

2. Assiniboine River

Assiniboine River

Next to the Red River in terms of size is the Assiniboine River. It intersects with the Red River right by The Forks and runs along the western side of Winnipeg.

If you’re planning for a quick morning or afternoon paddle, you can opt for the dock by the bridge at Assiniboine Park and end your route at The Forks for a bite or a refresher.

However, if you’re more adventurous and prefer a longer route, you can actually start from Beaudry Provincial Park, which is about a 15-minute drive outside of Winnipeg.

If you do consider the Beaudry route, I’d suggest making it a one-way adventure. You can go there by bus or taxi and then paddle your way through downtown.

With that being said, this river isn’t too deep, and I highly recommend traversing this route once the current is calm, typically during the late summer weeks up to the early month of fall.

3. Seine River

Seine River

If you prefer more of a challenge, take on the narrow waters of the Seine River. It runs from the Saint Vital/Royalwood area, goes through Central St. Boniface, and then flows into the Red River around Whittier.

For a kayak excursion amidst lush greenery, you can paddle along the trail of Bois-des-Esprits. Occasionally, you might come across various wildlife running through the forest.

For a shorter paddle time, launch your kayak at Morier Park. You’ll enjoy views of the golf course at St. Boniface, the Seine River Parkway, as well as Lagimodière-Gaboury Park before the end of your journey.

Another great launching point along this river is John Bruce Park. You can access this area from St. Anne’s Road.

Same with the Red River, the ideal time to paddle through the Seine is around spring and early summer.

4. La Salle River

La Salle River

La Salle River is pretty narrow, but its slow, calm waters make it an ideal kayaking spot for beginners. It’s in the southern part of the city and flows from St. Norbert up to Curtis, which is an hour away by car from Winnipeg’s center.

It’s a great paddling route for casual anglers, with an abundance of catfish, Northern pike, and sauger fishes along the way.

When the water isn’t too high, I enjoy launching from La Barriere Park. You can paddle to Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park, where you’ll find incredible monastery ruins; it can’t hurt to stop for a photo op here!

Take it from my experience, if you plan to paddle along La Salle, steer clear of using an inflatable kayak. There’s too much rock and irregular surface along this route, and you don’t want to end up carrying your gear and walking the rest of your way.

5. Sturgeon Creek

Sturgeon Creek

If rivers are too intimidating for your liking, Sturgeon Creek and its smooth water is a safe bet. It’s one of the largest creeks in the city so there’s still plenty of distance for you to paddle.

I’d suggest kayaking here if you have little kids or first-time paddlers with you. The gentle current makes balancing a kayak as easy as pie.

You can launch your gear from Sturgeon Creek Park, or just a little up north at Crestview Park Drive. The creek is sandwiched between prairies and tall grass, and the views here are incredible, especially at sunrise!

Do keep in mind that this creek flows into the rapids at Grant’s Old Mill on the southern end, so if there’s an inexperienced kayaker in your group, it’s best to avoid this area and just stay close to your launching point.

6. FortWhyte Alive

This wildlife preserve in Winnipeg is a great spot to kayak especially if you enjoy other outdoor activities. With general admission to the park, you can access their lakes and other trails and only need to pay for kayak rental.

I especially enjoy going here when I’m in an outdoorsy mood since I can also enjoy other things, including cycling and wildlife watching. If you’re coming to Winnipeg in the winter, don’t miss out on skiing and tobogganing with your family here!

7. Oak Hammock Marsh

Oak Hammock Marsh

This area is actually 35 minutes north of downtown Winnipeg, but the view alone is so worth the drive. If you come here in the afternoon, the vast wetland perfectly frames the sunset and makes for incredible snapshots.

Here, you’re free to go on a self-guided tour and enjoy a relaxed paddle amongst ducklings and goslings.

Kayak, Canoe, and Paddleboard Offerings in Winnipeg

1. Winnipeg Canoe & Kayak Rentals

TestInfo
Website  https://winnipegcanoerentals.com/
Location25 Keenleyside Street, Winnipeg, MB R2L 2B9, Canada
OfferingsKayak rentals
Rates$30 to $50 a day for inflatable kayaks

$35 to $50 a day for fishing kayaks

$44 to $59 a day for premium tandem kayaks

$39 to $48 a day for adventure kayaks

$44 to $58 a day for premium touring kayaks

What I love about Winnipeg Canoe & Kayak Rentals is they’ve been a trusted company for over 25 years now. Whenever I go kayaking, I make sure to check with their fleet first because their booking process is truly a breeze.

They have so much gear on hand that you don’t have to call to confirm availability. They’ll be the ones to ring you in case nothing suits your needs.

I strongly vouch for their rentals especially if you’re a big group.

If you’re planning on more adventures after kayaking, they have lazy river floats and motorized rentals, too!

2. WAVPaddling by Wilderness Supply

TestInfo
Website 

WAVPaddling: https://www.wildernesssupply.ca/wavpaddlinghttps://www.wildernesssupply.ca/wavpaddling


Kayak rentals: https://www.wildernesssupply.ca/kayak-rentals-from-30-a-day

OfferingsKayak rentals

Paddling lessons/programs

Rates

$45 per day for a standard polyethylene solo kayak

$75 per day for a kevlar or fiberglass solo kayak

$60 per day for a standard polyethylene tandem kayak

$40 per day for a standard polyethylene whitewater kayak (no inclusions)

$65 per day for a standard polyethylene whitewater kayak (with inclusions)


Note: All rentals (apart from the $40 whitewater kayak) are inclusive of a personal flotation device (PFD), a paddle, as well as foams and straps to secure the gear onto your vehicle. (Tandem kayak rentals include 2 PFDs and paddles.)

I’d recommend WAVPaddling if you don’t like to be restricted on where you launch your kayak. They’ll provide you with safety equipment and tools so you can load the kayaks on your vehicle and bring them to any kayaking spot in the city.

If you’re a complete beginner or a group of friends that like to have a program that’s tailored to your needs, WAVPaddling also offers customized lessons. You can learn how to safely paddle on flatwater or whitewater (or maybe both!).

3. Splash Dash Tours

TestInfo
Website  https://www.splashdash.ca/Canoe.htm
OfferingsCanoe rentals
Rates

$15 for half hour

$20 for 1 hour

$40 per day


Note: Renters are allowed to paddle along the Assiniboine River only.

Splash Dash has a kiosk right at The Forks. They offer canoe rentals inclusive of life jackets.

You are free to paddle solo and create your own adventure. If you’re going on an adventure with your crew, it’s better to call ahead for group rates and make a reservation.

Keep in mind that rentals are available depending on the weather and water conditions. You can call prior to your arrival to check for availability.

4. Allstoke Outdoor Company

TestInfo
Website  https://www.allstoke.ca/
LocationLa Salle
OfferingsPaddleboarding lessons (Intro to Stoke)
Rates

$40 for a lesson and board rental

$30 for a lesson (if you have your own board)


Note: If you have your own board, make sure that you also have your own personal floatation device and leash. You won't be allowed to join if you don't have the complete safety gear.

For a paddling adventure that’s a little bit different from the usual kayaking, paddleboarding is an amazing option.

I took lessons with Allstoke when I was a beginner. I learned all about balancing techniques, proper handling of the board, forward strokes, kneeling, and of course, standing!

I remember the first time I was able to stand up and actually move my paddleboard on the water–it was rewarding, for sure!

5. Wild Loon Adventure Company

TestInfo
Website  https://www.wildloonadventureco.ca/
OfferingsPaddling lessons/programs
Rates$250 for solo/tandem moving water lessons

$150 for moving water rescue lessons

If kayaking is more than just a one-time-thing-on-vacation for you, then you can get serious with this sport by taking a 3-day course with Wild Loon Adventure Company.

Their moving water lessons will help you conquer minor to intermediate-level rapids. You’ll be taught a few maneuvering techniques, too, including eddy turns and back ferries!

Once you’re confident in your paddling skills, you might even be interested in their multi-day adventure! This 2024, it’s an excursion along either Manigotan River or Bloodvein River.

6. Wilderland Adventure Company

TestInfo
Website  https://www.wilderland.ca/
Contact+1204-612-5300
OfferingsGuided canoe tours: https://www.wilderland.ca/canoe

Paddling courses: https://www.wilderland.ca/courses

The canoe tours offered by Wilderland are private and customized to your needs, so it’s ideal for families or group travelers.

There is no standard pricing for their tours as far as I know, so make sure to contact them first to get a quote.

If you only have a weekend or a few days to enjoy kayaking in Winnipeg, their 8-hour introduction to canoeing course might be a good fit! I’d personally choose their 2-day, 1-night course that also includes camping lessons, though.