Northwest Quest

Are you ready for the Northwest Wilderness Quest?

Do you dream of paddling the vast wilderness of Northwestern Ontario, gliding past moose, caribou and wolves? Can you hear the gentle sound of your paddle smoothly caressing endless lakes and rivers, drops of water slowly tumbling off the tip of your blade? Does the scent of pine and spruce forests invite fond memories of past backcountry canoe trips and inspire dreams of future adventures?

Just picture it. This is the Northwest Wilderness Quest.

Woodland Caribou lakeside campsite, starry night

The quest

Wabakimi, Woodland Caribou and Quetico Provincial Parks await you. We invite you to paddle and camp in the backcountry of each of these three large wilderness parks for a minimum of three consecutive nights each over the next three years.

A paddler’s dream comes true.

2 paddlers at Woodland Caribou

Whether you’re seeking the solitude of paddling amongst the pines of Quetico, hoping to see an elusive caribou in Woodland Caribou or dropping a line for a lakeside walleye dinner in Wabakimi, the Northwest Wilderness Quest has something for you.

Adventure, solitude, nature, escape, new experiences, fond memories, friendship, family, and lots and lots of paddling routes to choose from!

Make every stroke count

Register your trips online and be entered to win a specially designed Souris River “Quest” canoe or a one-of-a-kind “Quest” XY Company paddles.

Full completion of the Northwest Wilderness Quest also entitles eligible participants to receive a specially designed Quest souvenir.

The contest runs from May 1, 2016 to October 15, 2019. Have you started your Quest yet?

Already completed a trip leg (since May 1, 2016)?

Be sure to register your qualifying trip(s) by May 1, 2017 to have your entry eligible for an early bird draw prize of an original Northwest Quest t-shirt!

quest tshirts

Share your journey

Let your eyes paint the canvas of your next paddling adventure and your memory (or memory card) record the images.

camper taking picture

Be sure to share your trip stories and paddling tales with us and others. Tag us on Twitter or Facebook, or hashtag #NWQuest.

Which park will you visit first?

Local outfitting services are available to help make your Quest dream come true.

Wabakimi Provincial Park

tent at Wabakimi

This park is located at the end of the road (Highway 527) in Northwestern Ontario near the Town of Armstrong. Here lies a vast region of lakes, interconnecting rivers and streams that are the dream of canoeists looking for challenge and solitude. Wabakimi is the second largest provincial park in Ontario and embodies the breadth, diversity and mystery of wilderness.

Wabakimi is a place like no other. The park waterways have been travelled for centuries by indigenous peoples and most portages in the region have evolved from this historic use. The park’s name comes from the roots of Ojibway words meaning “whitewater” or “the sheet is white.”

The park is accessible by canoe, float plane or rail service, and offers nearly 500 backcountry campsites. Explore the variety and beauty of Wabakimi’s many lakes and rivers to discover the true meaning of the name Wabakimi.

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park

Woodland Caribou portage

Woodland Caribou is the third largest wilderness park in Ontario near the Town of Red Lake. Located in the Boreal Forest and known as a cultural landscape, its network of interconnected waterways carve the ancient and weathered Canadian Shield providing endless route possibilities. The short overland carries allow travellers entry to the solace of the wilds with relative ease.

Most waterways in the park feed into the headwaters of two large river systems; the Gammon and Bloodvein Rivers. The Bloodvein River is designated as a Canadian Heritage River, and possesses outstanding natural and cultural values, as well as exceptional recreational opportunities.

Here is a place where you might glimpse an elusive woodland caribou, hear wolf pups in a nearby den or watch a moose feed on aquatic vegetation. The park’s informal motto is: “where nature still rules.”

Quetico Provincial Park

Quetico paddler

This vast wilderness area of international acclaim is situated on the Canada-USA border near Atikokan, Ontario. Quetico was originally set aside in 1909 and formally established as Ontario’s third provincial park in 1913. Today, due to this longstanding history of protection, this exceptional landscape remains relatively undisturbed. This is a place where the forces of nature function freely.

Each year, thousands of people visit Quetico from around the world. Many families share their passion for paddling in Quetico by passing this tradition down through the generations to their children and grandchildren. Known primarily as a wilderness canoeing destination, Quetico provides beautiful and tranquil experiences for paddlers of all ages and abilities.

Quetico is part of a massive trans-border area of protected land at the Heart of the North American Continent. Known as “The Heart of the Continent Partnership,” cross-border partners work together on projects that promote the economic, cultural and natural health of the lakes, forests and communities on the Ontario/Minnesota border. They have recently partnered with National Geographic Society to create a regional geotourism initiative including a handy map and website for the area.

Sign on to the Northwest Wilderness Quest today!