Access

The Wabakimi Area can be accessed by road, rail or air from the nearby communities of Armstrong, Savant Lake and Pickle Lake where canoe tripping services, supplies, permits and licences may be obtained from Area Outfitters. Access points can be viewed on the Launch Site map generously provided by Paddling.net.


By Road

No roads lead directly to Wabakimi Provincial Park. Depending on the insertion and extraction points chosen, access or egress by road will involve paddling 1-3 days across Crown land to reach the park. For the sake of security and safety, visitors should leave their vehicles with a licensed tourist outfitter and arrange road shuttles to/from their canoe trip insertion/extraction points.

Two paved secondary highways link the Trans-Canada Highway to the communities that serve the Wabakimi area. Highway 527 begins east of Thunder Bay and leads 240km (150 miles) north to Armstrong; Highway 599 begins in Ignace 250km (152 miles) west of Thunder Bay and leads 137km (85 miles) north to Savant Lake and 157km (98 miles) beyond to Pickle Lake along which St. Raphael, Albany River and Wabakimi Provincial Parks may be accessed.

Several all-weather, gravel forest access roads provide alternate links to area canoe routes. Two such roads lead from Armstrong: the Caribou Lake Road to Little Caribou Lake and Caribou Lake; the Caribou Forest Access Road leads east to popular extraction points on the Pikitigushi River and the Little Jackfish River. South of Armstrong, the Obonga Lake Road leads west from Highway 527 and provides access at several points to Kopka River Provincial Park.

Near Savant Lake, two forest access roads lead east from Highway 599: Road 702 lies north of the CNR northern line and provides access to several canoe routes; Road 701 lies south of the railway and provides access to several routes in that area.

Two all-weather, gravel roads provide access to canoe routes south of Wabakimi. From the Trans-Canada Highway 17 west of Upsala, the Graham Road provides access to Brightsand River, Kopka River and Obonga-Ottertooth Provincial Parks; from Highway 527, 115km north of Trans-Canada Highway 11-17, Highway 811 provides access to the Roaring River and the Gull River.

Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) on-line Road Map 13 and Road Map 16 provide an overview of the roads in Northwestern Ontario that lead to the Wabakimi area from Canada--U.S.A. border crossing points at Fort Frances and Pigeon River.

Not all forest access roads in the Wabakimi Area are open year-round to public traffic. Under authority of the Public Lands Act, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF) may restrict or limit access to all or a portion of a forest access road for reasons of public safety or environmental protection. Such road access restrictions are usually posted with signs. Forest access roads may be closed to protect sensitive fisheries and wildlife management areas or to restrict unauthorized traffic during foresty activities including forest fire suppression. Others may be closed to protect remote resource-based tourism establishments or to maintain a functionally-roadless wilderness when forest harvesting, replanting and tending operations have been concluded in a particular area.

Visitors to the Wabakimi Area should contact the appropriate MNR&F District office to confirm whether a particular forest access road they wish to use is open to public traffic at any given time.

By Rail

One of the most popular ways to access the Wabakimi Area is by train. VIA Rail provides tri-weekly trans-continental passenger service in each direction along the Canadian National Railway (CNR) northern line which crosses the southern part of the park between the communities of Armstrong and Savant Lake. Fares are quite reasonable and there is no charge for canoe packs, however, the surcharge for each canoe is $100.00 per train trip plus applicable taxes.

Dawn arrival   Dawn arrival   Dawn arrival   Dawn arrival

With a minimum of 48 hours notice, VIA Rail will make unscheduled stops for canoeists on request. The only two conditions are that there must be visible evidence of direct access to a navigable waterway or a portage trail at the proposed drop-off location and the train crew must be given the exact mileage to the drop-off or pick-up point accurate to the nearest tenth of a mile west of Armstrong. There is no extra charge for an unscheduled stop. The fare charged for insertion at an unscheduled stop is what would be paid to the next scheduled stop; the fare for extraction at an unscheduled stop is what would be paid from the previous scheduled stop.

Space in the baggage car is limited and during the peak of the canoe season, the demand for this service cannot always be met. Advance reservations are strongly recommended and should stipulate the number of canoes none of which should exceed 18' in length. Loose items such as paddles and fishing rods should be securely lashed below the thwarts and seats as canoes are often stacked one on top of each other in the baggage car.

VIA Rail westbound service departs Armstrong each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; eastbound service departs Savant Lake each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. There is no service in either direction on Monday or Saturday. Westbound service departs Armstrong at 9:31pm and arrives in Savant Lake at 10:18pm; eastbound service departs Savant Lake at 07:07am and arrives in Armstrong at 9:48am. During the summer months, Armstrong is on Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDST); all points west of Armstrong are on Central Daylight Saving Time (CDST).

The following chart lists the popular canoe trip insertion/extraction points with the known mileages along the CNR right-of-way from Armstrong west to Savant Lake.

VIA Rail Popular Insertion/Extraction Points


Mileage
Insertion Point Connecting Waterway(s)
0.0
Armstrong
12.3
Tunnel Lake Wabinosh River, Rocky Island Lake
17.0
Canon Lake Boiling Sand River, Collins River
19.3
Bath Lake Boiling Sand River, Collins Lake
20.2
Collins Collins Lake, Collins River
24.7
Shultz's Trail Onamakawash Lake, Shawanabis Lake
25.7
William's Trail Onamakawash Lake
29.3
Tempest Lake Surprise Lake, Onamakawash Lake
32.3
No Name Lake Lookout River
34.4
Aldridge Creek Kopka River
37.4
Bingham's Trail Lookout River, Baldhead Lake
44.1
Redhead Lake Nemo River
44.3
Redhead Lake Redhead Lake, Nemo River
54.6
Allanwater Bridge Allanwater River, Brightsand River
62.5
Barrington Lake Flindt River, Allanwater River
67.1
Flindt Landing Heathcote Lake, Flindt River
67.3
Heathcote Lake Heathcote Lake, Flindt River
73.2
Beckington Lake Flindt River, Vanessa Lake
76.5
Chivelston Lake Harris Lake, Neston Lake
Savant Lake

By Air

By far, the best way to reach the more remote, less-travelled parts of the Wabakimi Area is by air. Several Area Outfitters offer charter float plane service as well as overnight accommodation, vehicle parking and road shuttles. Most issue fishing licences and camping permits; some rent canoes. A few offer full and partial outfitting as well as trip planning and route orientation.




© 2015-16 Friends of Wabakimi
All Rights Reserved

Website developed, maintained and hosted by Syntaxis On-Line Inc.
(Bill McCarvell, Syntaxis On-Line Inc.)