Kopka River Provincial Park is immediately south of Wabakimi and flows from west to east, eventually emptying into Lake Nipigon. The Kopka is one of the most interesting, varied and exciting trips in the area. It combines pristine lakes and scenic rivers, dramatic falls and a good number of rapids. Many of the rapids can be run in the right conditions or lined. As well, a few of the portages are quite challenging and require a good degree of competence. The scenery is typical of the Canadian Shield, a gently rolling terrain with impressive granite outcrops, ridges and lakes. To the west the landscape is mostly characterized by high smooth rock formations with spruce and jack pine forest. Further east, closer to the Nipigon basin, the rocky terrain appears more rugged and the forest becomes a mix of both coniferous and deciduous trees.
Access to the river is gained either from the CN Rail line, the Graham Road to the West or by float plane to the headwaters at Redsand Lake or any one of the other lakes along its course.
The Kopka River I – a shorter trip
If you want to paddle the Kopka but are short of time, start at Aldridge Creek (mile 34.4 on the CN rail line). This is a 7 or 8 day trip and follows Aldridge Creek south to Beagle, Laparde and Aldridge Lakes, portaging to the Kopka at about its halfway point. You will then paddle the second half of the Kopka River to the take-out at Bukemiga Lake on Highway 527. The maps for this shorter eight day route are listed on the Map Sets page.
The Kopka River II – the whole thing
For the more adventurous among us, who would like to paddle the entire, exciting river all the way from its headwaters, without the expense of flying in, you must try this 17 to 18 day 229 km trip.
This route begins at the Allanwater Bridge , on the CN Rail line and follows the Brightsand River south to the Kashishibog River. An alternate access point is the Graham Road (which runs north from highway 17) at the outlet of the Kashishibog River. Then paddle east on the Kashishibog to the height of land portage and cross into the Kopka River watershed, paddling northeast all the way to Highway 527. All three parks are ‘non-operating’ parks so there are no park or overnight camping fees to pay.