Rock Art & Bannock — Churchill River Canoe Trip


Stanley Rapids rock painting on the Churchill River

Famous rock painting at Stanley Rapids, Churchill River  ©canoeski

This Churchill River canoe trip will focus around the native Cree community of Amuchewaspimewin or Stanley Mission, as it is commonly called. A landmark historic attraction in the town is the Holy Trinity Anglican Church located on the banks of the Churchill River and open to visitors. It is a designated National and Provincial Historic Site representing the oldest church in Canada west of Manitoba’s Red River. We will canoe the Churchill River in the vicinity of the community, but our campsites will be wilderness style in the boreal forest bordering the river or on islands.

Downstream of Stanley Mission are the most famous rock paintings on the Churchill River near Stanley Rapids. Here distinguishable human and animal figures along with other mysterious symbolic and graphical figures are vividly displayed on a shoreline Precambrian rock outcrop. A half-day canoe trip from the rock art site is a major scenic highlight – majestic Nistowiak Falls.

Circling round to the north of Stanley Mission, more rock art sites are encountered travelling upstream on Mountain Lake toward Twin Falls. Fishing is usually productive at the base of the waterfalls. Our menu, however, will feature bannock – a dietary staple of ancient travellers and canoe trippers of more recent times. Tasty homemade spreads are included to complement the bannock.

On the river chances are good of encountering wildlife in the quieter areas, especially birdlife such as bald eagles, pelicans and great blue herons. A return paddle downstream on the Churchill River to Stanley Mission brings the canoe trip to an end.

Trip Details
Duration: 6 days, 5 nights
Scheduled Dates: Aug 16 – 21, 2024
Custom departure dates for groups can be arranged.
Geographic Area: Churchill River – Lac La Ronge Provincial Park, northern Saskatchewan, Canada
Nearest Communities: Stanley Mission
Paddling Venue: Lake & river flatwater
Adventure Rating: Novice to Intermediate – a modest degree of fitness and upper body conditioning will help prepare you for rigorous physical activities like paddling and portaging
Minimum Age: 14
Paddling Distance: 75 km (47 mi.)
Accommodation: Wilderness camping in nylon tents
Price per Person: $1625 plus 5% GST

Booking Info


Day 1 involves travelling by passenger van from Saskatoon to Lac La Ronge (about 4.5 hours) where paddling and safety instruction and trip orientation takes place.

Day 2, we spend the morning driving another 80 km (50 mi) north to launch the canoe trip at Stanley Mission. Heading downstream on the Churchill River, we first stop to visit the stately old church. Next stop is the rock art site above Stanley Rapids where there is a pull-over roller portage around the rapids and an island campsite for the night.

Day 3 involves continuing downstream to Nistowiak Falls, hiking the portage trail to the top of the falls, spending time photographing and enjoying the immensity and grandeur of the surroundings. We camp on the river well below the falls.

Day 4, we return upstream on the Churchill River to Stanley Mission and set up camp north of the community as we head up through the islands in Mountain Lake.

Day 5 is spent paddling up Mountain Lake and navigating the scenic maze of islands and channels leading to Twin Falls. Camp is established on an island well below the falls with time for swimming, relaxing or fishing.

Day 6 is a return trip back through the islands and narrows into Mountain Lake and downstream to Stanley Mission to board the van and return to Saskatoon late evening.

Package Includes:

  • Canoeing and safety equipment
  • Nylon tents
  • Waterproof packs for personal items & clothing
  • Park entry & camping fees
  • Nutritious meals prepared over an open fire
  • Certified instructor/guide
  • Return transportation by passenger van from Saskatoon

Prices shown in Canadian Dollars; applicable taxes extra
Advance booking required, subject to availability

To book your space on this trip, please see Registration

Packing List, Liability Waiver and Detailed Trip Info – contact Cliff Speer 306-653-5693 or

Rock Art & Bannock Trip Tales

Paddling the Churchill River – A Dream Come True!  by Robbie Gamble, August 2012
Dreaming of paddling the famous Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan, Robbie finally cast the die in her 60th year! Everything conspired to fulfill her dreams to overflowing – stunning scenery, fabulous weather and terrific paddling companions. Read her glowing account along with lots of cool photos…>>>

Peaceful Canoeing, Relaxing Swims & the Best Outdoor Cooking  by Tim Weinhandl, July 2007
While urban folk were sweltering in record temperatures in July 2007, the hot, calm days on the river were a canoeist’s dream come true. “Canoeing on glassy waters and enjoying evening swims left us relaxed and more in touch with ourselves”, writes Tim …>>>

Outdoor Newbies Discover Fresh Bannock & Awesome Rock Art  by Tammi Hensch, July 2007
Similarly, Torontonian Tammi Hensch reflects on great times on the trip with her Saskatoon girlfriend, taking in “refreshing swims, amazing outdoor food, and awe-inspiring rock art,” she writes …>>>