Lake Nipigon Kayaking
Lake Nipigon is a four hour drive from Grand Marais. This four hours puts it an equal distance away from me as the Apostle Islands, so it becomes a hard call on which way to drive for a sea kayaking trip. I’ve put some thought into this now and have come to the conclusion that for me, Lake Nipigon is a better destination than the Apostles.
Saying Lake Nipigon is better than the Apostles is sure to make a few eyebrows rise considering that many people think that the Apostles are the premier kayaking destination on Lake Superior, but a few points and thoughts about why I believe Lake Nipigon is better may get you thinking about a trip there.
The above map shows our route on Lake Nipigon. We paddled around 70 miles over 6 days with one day spent in camp only moving to a better campsite in 20 to 25 knot winds. In those 6 days, we saw one other group. I expect that it would be considerably busier in the summer, but during the fall, it was vacant.
There are over 500 islands to explore on Lake Nipigon and to get to some of those islands there are significant crossings involved. We had two four mile crossings, one two mile crossing, and one 8 mile crossing over the course of our 6 days of tripping. And the many islands involved some map reading work. All of these contribute to the fun.
And, of course, the several sightings of bald eagles a day, black sand beaches, towering palisades plunging hundreds of feet into the water, 2 foot chop daily as the norm, weird weather with winds showing up out of nowhere. And no development! (We did find one cabin and one–probably illegal–hunting camp with all the goods covered by a tarp.