Paddle Pukaskwa

Jul 30, 2009
Outside Magazine
Rock Island Lodge

Rock Island Lodge    Photo: courtesy of Naturally Superior Adventures

With sandy beaches and sheltered coves, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on Lake Superior's southwest shore, is a welcoming place to launch a sea kayak. The opposite side of the lake? Not so much, especially the coastline of Canada's Pukaskwa National Park. It's just as pretty but far more rugged, meaning it's harder to find a friendly beach if you get in trouble. Only a handful of kayakers paddle under its steep cliffs every summer, and there isn't a single road for the entire length of the park's 50-mile coastline. In other words, it's one of the wildest places to paddle in North America. You'll want to savor it, like Naturally Superior Adventures' guided eight-day trip does (US$1,560; Because the trip averages a relaxed nine miles per day, there's plenty of time to poke around. Which is a good thing: From red-and-orange-striped basalt formations to woodland caribou on Otter Island, there's a lot to see. Start and end your trip at NSA's Rock Island Lodge (from $95;, near Wawa, Ontario. It's the only hotel in the area with rooms overlooking the lake.