Canoeing and kayaking in Shawinigan
Lakes and rivers, from dawn to dusk.
By France St-Amant
If you are a fan of water sports, Shawinigan is your destination!
Whether it’s on the Saint-Maurice River, omnipresent downtown and elsewhere in the city, or on various lakes in La Mauricie National Park, you can easily enjoy a canoe or kayak trip. There’s no shortage of opportunities to get in the water in Shawinigan.
Canoeing and kayaking are different ways to discover otherwise inaccessible places or to observe the city from another angle, far from human presence. It’s a privilege to access these unique places that provide a sense of inner peace. It’s an inexpensive activity, which has no impact on the environment and certainly creates beautiful moments and memories when practiced in a small group. Plus, it’s one of the best ways to see wildlife without spooking it.
If you already own your boat, you can use one of the many water access points in Shawinigan. Otherwise, you can rent a boat at La Mauricie National Park, at the 2800 du Parc, as well as at the Parc de l’Île Melville.
The St. Maurice River
Several options are available to enjoy the river. Several docks are accessible along the Promenade du Saint-Maurice (downtown) or the Avenue du Capitaine-Veilleux in the Shawinigan-Sud sector.
You must be careful if you venture far as the river can be rougher offshore when it’s windy. Also, do not venture too close to the dams and especially not when they are open.
Psst! The perfect site to access the water with your own boat downtown is located at the end of 6th rue de la Pointe behind Meubles Jacob’s store.
Follow the shores, especially the one on the side of the Shawinigan-Sud sector towards the east. At the height of the Baie à Giguère, there’s a heronry.
The lakes of La Mauricie National Park
At the national park, you can come with your own watercraft or rent one on site or online. There are 3 rental sites. Lac Wapizagonke is 9.2 km long and has several small beaches where you can stop for a picnic and swim, including that of Vide-Bouteille which is very popular. Lac Edward is also very pleasant to discover. Its beach is a favorite with visitors. You can also treat yourself to the full experience by booking a backcountry canoe-camping trip that’ll allow you to discover the park’s hidden parts.
The lake of Piles
Do you want to navigate in clear and limpid water? It’s to the Lac des Piles that you have to go. Via the marina or by accessing the Baie-Martin beach, you can treat yourself to a superb stroll in an enchanting setting. At Plage Baie-Martin ($), you can enjoy picnic tables and other services.
Psst! On the way back, stop off at one of the restaurants or cafés in the Coeur villageois de Saint-Flore or the Coeur villageois de Saint-Jean-des-Piles. You won’t be disappointed. Promised!
Suggestions based on your interests:
To watch the sunset
Lac-à-la-Tortue is THE sport! For the more adventurous, it’s even possible to sail under the stars. This lake doesn’t present a physical challenge. However, the sunset and the starry sky, magnificent on a clear day, will charm nature lovers who seek relaxation and contemplation. You’ll access the water at the Parc de la Plage-Idéale.
For athletes looking for adrenaline,
A few minutes from downtown Shawinigan, the Rapides des Hêtres offers guaranteed adrenaline for experienced paddlers who want to venture there. To get there, you must use the boat launch located on the Avenue du Beau-Rivage. The latter offers the possibility of practicing free-style kayaking, which consists of surfing waves or rollers and even doing acrobatics. The Rapides des Hêtres is therefore recommended for experienced paddlers.
Experienced kayakers will also be delighted by paddling on the Saint-Maurice River from one of the water access points in the Saint-Jean-des-Piles sector: Parc nautique de St-Jean-des-Piles and Parc des Piles on rue Morin and the Quai municipal Michel-Lépine on rue du Quai.
For an outing that combines a trip on the water and a hike
Lac Wapizagonke in La Mauricie National Park allows adventurers to navigate to a nature trail that ends at the base of the mighty Chutes Waber. It’s possible to rent boats from the Lac Wapizagonke parking lot. It’s recommended to leave early in the morning because this excursion lasts 5 to 7 hours.
For an original family outing
The Aqua Rando (Aqua Trek) in La Mauricie National Park is an activity that can be done alone or with the family on Lac Wapizagonke. It’s an audio-guided activity that invites you to discover the fauna and flora of the lake. Duration: approximately 2 hours and 5 km by canoe or kayak.
Psst ! For a different experience, it’s possible to rent paddleboards and water bikes at Gite du Lac-à-la-Tortue.
Other access to water in Shawinigan
To find out more, consult this map which lists all the accesses to water in Shawinigan.