Women & Waves – Churchill River Canoe Trip

Trip Overview

Swimming in the Churchill River, northern Saskatchewan

Taking a refreshing plunge in the Churchill River

This all women’s trip is a one-of-a-kind wilderness adventure combining canoeing, music, and massage. For five days you will ride waves of water, listen to waves of sound and feel waves of relaxation with experienced women guides, a massage therapist and a musician. The venue is northern Saskatchewan’s famous historic Churchill River, paddled by canoeists worldwide and long before by First Nations inhabitants and early explorers and fur traders.

Our canoe route, all of which is flat water paddling, will follow a small portion of the Churchill River System, taking in picturesque water falls and Aboriginal rock art along the way. The route presents a diversity of scenery and waterways, ranging from large lakes broken up by numerous, attractive rock-studded islands to small winding, water lily-filled streams.

Overall the program will enable you to learn wilderness travel skills adapted to Canadian boreal waterways while offering an inspiring mix of physical exertion and relaxation. We provide a supportive environment in the company of skilled, outdoor women leaders to help everyone strengthen their confidence and skill in canoeing and wilderness camping. Along the way, you’ll get acquainted with a little of the history and culture associated with the Churchill River. In the process, we hope to recapture a sense of place and connection to the land. You should be able to cast off the cares of daily life and come away with a feeling of renewal and personal enrichment.

Paddling distances per day are reasonable (12-15 km/7-9 mi) to allow time to relax, socialize and soak up the wilderness ambience. Also, this should allow ample time in camp for our resource team to share their talents and skills in music and massage. Some previous paddling experience would be an asset but is not essential. Upper body conditioning would be the best pre-trip fitness preparation to enhance your enjoyment of the trip.

Trip Details
Duration: 5 days, 4 nights
Scheduled Dates: Note: this program not available this season
Geographic Area: Churchill River – Lac La Ronge Provincial Park, northern Saskatchewan, Canada
Nearest Communities: Missinipe & La Ronge
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: 50 km (30 mi.)
Accommodation: Wilderness camping in storm-proof nylon tents
Price per Person: N/A

Booking Info


Day 1 will involve an early morning departure, travelling by passenger van from Saskatoon to Lac La Ronge (approx. a 4.5 hour drive), stopping en route for a picnic lunch. For the balance of the afternoon/evening, paddling and safety instruction and trip orientation will take place at the provincial campground. Facilities there for overnight tent camping have flush toilets & a shower house with hot water.

Day 2, we drive another 60 km (36 mi) north to launch the canoe trip at Missinipe, a small resort and outfitting community on the Churchill River. We paddle downstream on the Churchill to establish a camp to act as a base for initiating day trips to various locations on the river on Day 3 and 4. Balance of afternoon/evening spent on swimming, relaxing, and eco-programming activities (including music/massage) with our resource team as weather permits.

Day 3-4, there are options to paddle the Stewart River, a tributary of the Churchill to view the Rattler Creek Aboriginal rock paintings or continue downstream on the Churchill to Robertson and Twin Falls. Choices will be influenced by prevailing weather and paddling experience and overall energy level of the group. Balance of afternoon/evening spent on swimming, relaxing, and eco-programming activities with our resource team as weather permits.

Day 5 involves packing up camp and paddling back to Missinipe around lunch time. After loading the gear and having lunch, we hit the road to Saskatoon with a restaurant stop in Prince Albert for supper. The trip ends with evening arrival in Saskatoon.

Massage after a day of canoeing the Churchill River

Massage after a day’s paddle: heaven on earth!

Package Includes:

  • Canoeing and safety equipment
  • Storm-proof nylon tents
  • Waterproof packs for personal items & clothing
  • Park entry & camping fees
  • Nutritious meals prepared over an open fire
  • Experienced women guides
  • Massage therapist and musician
  • 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 (trip not available this season)

Packing List, Liability Waiver and Detailed Trip Info – contact Cliff Speer 306-653-5693 or cliff@canoeski.com

Sask Tourism Video – All Women’s Canoe Trip in Northern Saskatchewan
See a slice of the 2011 Women & Waves trip – “an enticing combination of physical challenge and relaxation” with canoeing, music and massage on the Churchill River.

Women & Waves Trip Tales 

Trip Tales from the August 2011 trip (2 stories)

Paddling Exhilaration on the Churchill River by Sheila Nykwist, August 2011
Sheila on Women & Waves canoe tripCalgary TV host/producer Sheila was stepping out of her comfort zone on this women’s wilderness canoe trip on the Churchill River. It turned out to be not so scary, but exhilarating! “A time to get back to nature, to appreciate the simple things like waking up to dewy freshness, a refreshing swim in cool, clean water, delicious meals prepared over the fire, the healing hands of a professional masseuse, and singing with friends,” she remarks about the trip…>>>

An All-Female Adventure on the Amazing Voyageur Waterway by Jan Walker, August 2011
Jan on Women & Waves tripJan, a Fort Macleod artist and hearing technician, found the Women & Waves trip exceeded her highest expectations. “To be actually paddling the Churchill River, that amazing waterway of the voyageurs is so remarkable…It’s a special opportunity to bond and grow, relax and enjoy the pristine wilderness or just hang out together”, she reflects on the all-female adventure…>>>

Women & Waves by Kelly Warden, August 2005
Kelly WardenKelly celebrated her 50th birthday in the company of her 3 daughters on this all women’s canoe trip and turned her journal into an intriguing personal odyssey. Follow her account of challenging her comfort zone, handling difficult water, experiencing personal growth and having fun…>>>

Exploring the Churchill River: An All Women’s Canoeing Saga by Gail Streberg, August 2004
Gail Streberg“A friend told me that there would be only one problem coming on this canoe trip — I would love it so much, I would have to keep coming back!” writes Gail of her experiences on the Churchill River Women & Waves canoe program. Enjoy her enthusiastic account>>>

Media Stories on Women & Waves Canoe Tour

Saskatchewan’s Perfect Paddles by Amy Jo Ehman
Pure Canada – Canadian Tourism Commission’s On-Line Travel-Lifestyle Magazine June 2009
Story Line: Freelancer Amy Jo Ehman profiles northern Saskatchewan’s canoeing paradise, including CanoeSki’s “popular Women and Waves expedition, complete with massage therapist and resident songstress,” on the historic Churchill River.

There She Goes by Zosia Bielski
The Globe and Mail April 11, 2007
Story Line: From wilderness canoeing and rafting the Grand Canyon to hiking the Swiss Alps and trekking through Bhutan, the demand for women’s’ adventure travel is burgeoning. In her feature article, Globe and Mail journalist Zosia Bielski profiles the CanoeSki Women & Waves Churchill River canoe trip as her story lead on the growing demand for women’s outdoor adventure travel. She highlights the on-board massage therapist and camp musician as part of the draw for this popular program. She interviews a raft of women’s’ travel companies, concluding that “Today’s female-only tour operators cater to like-minded women seeking camaraderie, self-realization and fun in exotic and challenging locales.”

Women on Waves by Amy Jo Ehman
Saskatoon Star Phoenix September 25, 2004
Story Line: A light-hearted recounting of the adventures of 10 women on a 5-day guided expedition on the Churchill River, with an on-board massage therapist and an unwelcome visitor in camp! “I’ve been on canoe trips before, but never one like this,” remarks Saskatoon freelance journalist Amy Jo Ehman. She’s impressed with all-inclusive features of this fully outfitted and guided trip for women only, but it doesn’t come with stern paddlers, so she has to learn the J-stroke! The first day of steering a wayward canoe and she is more than ready for a massage. Under expert hands, she says, “…the silent scream in my muscles is involuntarily released through my vocal chords. I give a wail that echoes farther than the call of the loon…” After a couple of days of paddling to scenic spots along the route, another natural feature appears on the scene, not so attractive as the water falls & rock art, but one to make the trip even more unique – a four-footed black scavenger! Read the story to find out how the women cope with the unwanted adventure of a bear encounter!

Paddling to a Life Renewal – Women are Immersed in Canoeing’s Natural Rhythms by Kathi Diamant (this original article re-published on the women’s on-line travel site Journeywoman under the title She Canoes in Canada)
San Diego Union Tribune, U.S.A. June 9, 1996
Story Line: CanoeSki’s first all-women’s wilderness canoe trip on northern Saskatchewan’s Churchill River complete with women guides, professional massage therapist and musician-chef. A massage therapist and musician provide the off-water waves of relaxation and sound to soften the daily physical rigor of paddling and portaging on this women’s only wilderness canoeing expedition. On the challenge side, Kathi Diamant, the California journalist notes, there is the wind and rain, learning to steer a canoe, carrying the canoes and packs, pitching tents and collecting firewood – basically all the grunt work that the absent men would have assumed. She sums up the group response with a quote from one of them: “Concentrating on survival, I got to live in the moment, close to the elements, responding to nature. It truly was a genuine physical and spiritual renewal.”