Canoeing

With all the attention on mountain hiking and the spectacular fishing that Houston has to offer it is easy to forget that this area also offers some excellent canoe and kayak opportunities. The most well known canoe-tripping destination in the Houston area is the Nanika Kidprice; however it is not the only destination, as you will see in the list below.

Newcombe Nadina

If you want to see both lakes the best way is to launch your canoe at Newcome Lake and paddle across the lake, down the river into Nadina Lake where you will enter into the marsh where there is a campsite. Continue to the Nadina Lake Recreation site this is where you need to have a second vehicle waiting.

Newcombe Lake offers an excellent Island campsite with excellent views and a Latrine. There is another Island campsite that is less developed as well as a location where you can camp on a sand beach (as long as water levels are not covering the beach). Moose and otters as well as many birds can be seen on this lake. As Newcombe Lake narrows into the river it has a charming personality that welcomes you to the river into Nadina Lake. The trip downriver has many beaver dams that are easy to slide over and requires some effort but it is not what most canoe trippers would consider difficult (early season has the best water levels since it can get shallow in later summer). When you enter Nadina Lake you are welcomed by an excellent campsite located on an island in a marsh where the river from Newcombe Lake enters Nadina Lake. This campsite is large, very flat and offers plenty of firewood; a latrine and wildlife viewing along with privacy that would make you think you are in the backcountry. Moose frequent this Marsh in the evening and early morning and it is not uncommon to watch moose from the comfort of your campsite. This marsh is also frequented by many bird species including swans so keep your binoculars handy. As you travel along this shoreline you will see old dilapidated logging camps that are interesting to explore as well as photograph. There is an excellent lunch/rest stop about halfway along the north shore and offers an outstanding rocky point that is a beautiful spot to fish and lounge in the sun. The large drawback of this location is that it offers only one small spot for a small tent and is better used as a lunch stop. At the end of the trip you can either camp at the Recreation site where your car is parked or If you want to seclude yourself a little more there is a campsite that is very close to the Recreation site but is far enough to get some privacy and it offers a sand beach (uncommon in this area).

Many people go to Nadina Lake for the outstanding Rainbow Trout fishing but it also represents an excellent destination for canoe trippers looking for a trip that involves little paddling and no portaging. Launch your canoe at the Nadina Lake Recreation site and the lake will offer many kilometers of shoreline to paddle along with some excellent scenery and fishing.

Morice River

This river is well known for its fishing but it is also a top-notch destination for canoe trippers who have moving water experience. This river can be broken into many smaller trips since it has many access points but for the canoe tripper the river as a whole represents the best experience. Access to start the trip is at the Morice Lake Recreation Site. A short paddle along beautiful Morice Lake puts you into the flow of the Morice River. This river is large and swift but it does not possess violent rapids and is mostly Class 1 with some Class 2. This river has some excellent scenery and has a current that is strong and steady (little paddling). For the quiet paddler there is opportunity to see Moose, Deer and both Black and Grizzly Bears as well as many different bird species. This river has ample water flow for the entire canoeing season but during the prime fishing times you may encounter a lot of fishermen. The Morice River changes names at Houston to become the Bulkley River. If you choose to end your trip at Houston the best pullout is By Mac Park. If you have time your trip could be extended down the Bulkley River to Telkwa or Smithers. The river to Telkwa is Class 1 and 2 but once in Telkwa there are a couple of rapids that are 2+. The section between Telkwa and Smithers is Class 1 but there is a waterfall (Tatlow Falls) that can be paddled around. There is a good pullout in Smithers just downstream of the highway bridge. This river is underutilized as a canoe destination and is very rewarding for a frontcountry river.

A top-notch day trip on the Morice River is the section from Aspen Recreation site to Bymac Park. This float only takes about three hours and has a more remote setting than would be expected for being so close to town.

Atna Lake

Atna Lake is a small lake in the coast mountain range along Morice Lake. This destination is a very stunning setting that is relatively easy to get to. The most difficult part of the trip is to navigate Morice Lake when the wind is calm. Morice Lake is a very large lake that is in a mountain valley and it receives heavy wind and very heavy wave activity. When the wind is calm Morice Lake offers a beautiful 15 kilometer paddle from the Morice Lake Recreation Site to Atna Bay where there is a short portage into Atna Lake. People who visit Atna Lake take home memories that will never fade since this is a very beautiful destination.

Nanika Kidprice

This is the best-known canoe destination in the Houston area and it is well known to canoeists throughout northwest BC. There are published maps of this canoe destination available from the Houston Chamber of Commerce. If you are visiting this area and you want a canoe trip destination then this one is a must consider. Contact the Chamber for a copy of the excellent info map. This route can be summed up as a beautiful mountainous backcountry canoe destination with good fishing and solitude.

Little Bulkley River

This small river is a tributary of the Morice River and it flows through the town of Houston. This river is not suitable for multi day tripping due to its small size and extensive logjams; it does offer some convenient day trips. One trip that is perfect for someone looking for a way to spend a day in Houston is to float from the bridge at the east end of Houston to the bride at the west end of Houston. This small trip only takes a couple of hours and it requires only basic moving water experience, the river does get too shallow later in the summer so check on water levels.

Ootsa Lake

This huge manmade lake offers too many paddling possibilities to cover on this website, therefore a simple overview is presented. This lake is large enough that it covers areas adjacent to many other towns. The area near Houston is best accessed from Andrews Bay Provincial Park. This small-unstaffed park has parking and a boat launch to access Ootsa Lake. From this point many miles of paddling is available and it is very well suited to sea kayaks and canoes. This is a large lake so being wind bound is a possibility to consider and since it is manmade many deadheads line the shore. Andrew Bay Provincial Park is a good access point to use Whitesail Reach to gain entry to the portage leading into Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. The trip from Andrew Bay to the portage is long and some sections offer poor access to the shore because of the deadheads lining the shore. It is possible to paddle this section but not recommended unless you are very experienced and you paddle a kayak or skirted canoe. Most people heading to this destination use a powerboat to get to the portage into Tweedsmuir then continue with their canoe or kayak.

Babine Lake

Babine Lake is the largest natural lake in BC and it has many small settlements lodges and cottage lots. This lake offers a lot of potential to anyone wanting to canoe or kayak on a large lake. Many trips are possible, right from a short afternoon paddle right up to a two-week trip from one end to the other. Lodges are available for those who may not want to tent camp every night. Since Babine Lake is large wind can be a problem but it is not as windy as lakes such as Morice Lake and it is quite common to see Babine in a calm state.

Troitsa Lake

This beautiful lake is a destination place for those wanting to do a little paddling in a beautiful setting without doing a lot of paddling. Access Tahtsa Lake by driving past Sweeney Lake Recreation site until the road ends at the shore of Tahtsa Lake. Paddle east into Tahtsa Reach until you reach the trail to Troitsa Lake (this is marked on the Morice Recreation Map available at the Houston Chamber). This trail is very large and road like and the best way to portage into this lake is to use a canoe or kayak cart especially since it is a fairly long trail.

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