Nistowiak Falls Trip
The Nistowiak Falls Route shows off typical Precambrian Shield country. This complete route is on the Churchill River. The Churchill River is a series of lakes joined by rapids, falls or narrows. This route shows off the Churchill River canoe country at it’s best.
Mountain, Drope, and Nistowiak Lakes offer narrow winding waterways that form an intimate section of the Churchill. There are numerous highlights on this trip. The church at Stanley Mission is certainly worth spending some time at. It was built in the mid 1800s by Rev Robert Hunt. In Canada it is the oldest church west of Winnipeg and it is Saskatchewan’s oldest building. Just down stream of the church is an ancient pictograph site. This site is mentioned in many of the voyageur diaries. No one knows how old these paintings may be.
Then certainly the main highlight of this trip is Nistowiak Falls on the Rapid River. This is certainly Saskatchewan’s best known waterfall. It drops about 15 meters eventually joining the Churchill River on Nistowiak Lake. These falls drain Lac La Ronge, Montreal Lake and the area of Prince Albert National Park to the south.
This trip starts and ends in the community of Stanley Mission.
Trip at a Glance
Lakewater wilderness canoe trip
Length: 4 days
Skill Level: Beginner
Dates: August 22 to 25
Trip Fees: $895 CAD
Trip Rendezvous: Missinipe, Saskatchewan with shuttle service available from the La Ronge airport
Day 1 Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 - Travel to Missinipe, SK
- Flights from Saskatoon to La Ronge, CRCO shuttle pickup at the airport to Missinipe (80 km).
- Pre trip meeting, gear check, dinner, overnight at CRCO in Missinipe
Day 2 - Breakfast, then a van shuttle to Stanley Mission (76 km)
- get on the water
- Canoe skills review, paddle and then set up camp.
Day 3 - Paddle Mountain, Drope, and Nistowiak Lakes
- Paddle the unspoiled lakes of the Churchill River. Visiting the church at Stanley Mission, the Stanley Pictograph site, Stanley Rapids and Nistowisk Falls. We will set up a base camp on Drope Lake, surrounded by ruggedly beautiful scenery.
Day 4 Wednesday, August 25, 2021
- The trip ends back at Stanley Mission
- A van shuttle will take you back to the CRCO base in Missinipe (76 km)
- Optional Group Dinner and overnight in Missinipe (own expense) or mid-afternoon departure from Missinipe. A shuttle is available to the La Ronge airport. That shuttle to La Ronge can also go the next day.
- Overnight in Saskatoon (own expense) or flights home
About the Trip
The Nistowiak Falls Canoe Trip follows a popular route in the Lac La Ronge Provincial Park. The trip starts and ends at the in Stanley Mission. The route is about 35 km long with 2 portages. The portages are about 30 meters each in length.
The trip crosses Mountain Lake to the Stanley Mission Church. After visiting the church the route continues down Mountain Lake to the pictographs. After a visit here. The group will continue on to Stanley Rapids. After the short portage, or possibly running these rapids the group will look for a camp to base out of on one of the islands of Drope Lake.
The next day the group will paddle to Nistowiak Falls and spend the day visiting these falls before paddling back to their camp spot on Drope Lake. The last day they will pack up the camp and paddle back to Stanley Mission. The van will meet them there.
What is Included in the Trip Price
•Overnight stay at CRCO in Missinipe on July 13th
•Guides - 5:1 ratio
• Excellent meals from Day 2 lunch to Day 4 lunch
• 17’ Prospector expedition canoes
• Paddles, PFD, helmets (you may bring your own)
• Throw lines and other safety accessories
• Camping Equipment:
• Tents - free standing custom expedition dome tents - 2 per tent
• ‘Kitchen’ - tarp, fire box, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc
• First aid and repair kits, communications equipment (satellite phone)
• Canoe rescue gear
• Transportation to and from Missinipe to Stanley Mission
• Transportation to and from the La Ronge airport and Missinipe
• Transportation of guides, group gear, canoe etc to and from trip
What is not Included in the Trip Price
• Saskatchewan tax: 11% of the trip fee
• Personal clothing and gear - a recommended clothing & equipment list will be provided
• Travel between your home and the trip rendezvous - Missinipe, Saskatchewan
• Accommodation in Missinipe SK after the trip (approx $60 per person based on double occupancy)
• Any meals in Missinipe before or after the trip
• Any additional expenses or costs incurred as a result of delays to the trip caused by factors beyond our control - i.e. wind, waves, unsafe paddling conditions, forest fire, pandemic, etc
• Any costs associated with your emergency evacuation from the trip - please contact us at CRCO for more information
• Gratuities - we recommend $12-$15 per day per guide
Very early in the fur trade era this area became a gathering point. It seems this already was a summer gathering place for the indigenous people of the area. Soon both the Hudson Bay Company and then later the Revillon Freres Trading Company had trading posts in Stanley. The Revillon Freres Company closed in the late 40s and the Hudson Bay Company still continues in Stanley under the name Northern Store. There was also a trading post near Nistowiak Falls. This was primarily a supply place for bringing pemican up from the south to feed the voyageurs as they passed through.
In the 1840s Rev Robert Hunt was sent to the area. He was given the task of finding a place to set up a mission for the Church of England. After travelling from Reindeer Lake in the north to the Prince Albert region to the south he chose Stanley as the best place for his church. The building was built of local lumber with stained glass and hardwood brought from England. The church would fit in far better in the English country side. Yet here it sits, on the Churchill River.
Any bird or animal that eats fish is common in the Churchill River area. Loons, bald eagles, osprey, pelicans, grebes and merganzers are all fish eaters. You may also see mink and otters. You will likely see evidence of moose and bear, but is rare special treat to see these shy animals. And there are plenty of fish, mainly walleye and northern pike.
Your Churchill River Canoe Outfitter guides are exceptionally qualified. Each principal guide has an extensive outdoor background, formal training and leadership experience. On most expeditions there will be an assistant guide. The guides are always ready to provide coaching and helpful advice on any aspect of the trip and will attempt to maximize the spirit of adventure for each individual. Your safety is their prime concern and your guide will make decisions with this in mind. We must stress that listening carefully to instructions given by the guide is your responsibility and in the best interest of you and the group. Each group member is encouraged to contribute to the tasks of the canoe trip and your guides will act as helpful resource people. Lastly, as this is your holiday, the CRCO guides have a real sense of fun and excitement, and will help to make this your trip of a lifetime!
Our menus are delicious and nutritious. Everyone helps out cooking meals over a wood fire or camping stove from a combination of fresh, dried and freeze-dried products. Breakfasts consist of cereal, fruit and a main course such as blueberry pancakes or eggs and bacon. At lunch you will enjoy a selection of breads (rye bread, bagels, tortillas) with cheeses, sliced meats or veggies ... and of course, good old peanut butter and jam, followed up by cookies or fruit. Dinner consists of hors d’oeuvers, a main course then dessert. Entrees include chicken stir fry and pesto / pine nut / red pepper pasta. Perhaps we’ll have a salad and finish up with brownies or a lemon desert. On cooler days, a hearty mug of steaming soup is always available, along with tea, coffee, hot chocolate or cold drinks. If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions you should contact our office. You will be required to assist in your menu preparation. We don’t want anyone going hungry or reduced to eating boring food!
The Stanley Mission to Nistowiak Falls area often has idyllic summer temperatures, but not always. Expect temperatures to range from 15 C to 32C, but averaging from 20 - 25 C. A good rain suit is a must, along with some warm clothing for cool days and nights. The water temperature in mid August is usually about 23 C.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Nistowiak Falls Trip meets at Missinipe, Saskatchewan. Most people will drive to Missinipe. However, there are daily flights from Saskatoon to La Ronge via Transwest Air. From La Ronge we will arrange a shuttle to Missinipe. You should arrive in Missinipe on Sunday, August 22nd and can depart on or after Wednesday, August 25, 2021. Churchill River Canoe Outfitters is located in Missinipe. CRCO has cabins and a hostel to rent. The town has a restaurant, a small convenience store and float plane base. We will reserve a cabin for you for Night 1 on us. We can also reserve a cabin for you for Night 4, the cost will be approximately $60.00 per person.
This Trip is rated Novice Skill Level - No previous experience is necessary.
The Nistowiak Falls Route is for those who want to experience a true wilderness canoe trip. It is a great introduction to wilderness canoe tripping. No canoeing experience is necessary. But participants should come in decent physical condition. There are 2 portages. You should be prepared to carry your share of the group’s load. The pace will be fairly full but there will be time for instruction and coaching along the way. At the campsite everyone pitches in with setting up tents, collecting firewood, preparing meals, telling stories etc. The guides coordinate things and are always ready to assist you in any tasks. On the water they will provide expert coaching and lots of personal attention.
YES, we highly recommend you to purchase 1) Emergency Medical/Evacuation Insurance, 2) Trip Interruption Insurance and 3) Trip Cancellation Insurance. Many credit card companies offer limited interruption/cancellation insurance, so please consult with yours before you book your trip to ensure you are adequately covered. Please also note that some types of insurance are only valid if they are purchased within a short time of making a non-refundable payment towards a trip. More information about these can be obtained through your preferred insurance provider. Prior to confirming your trip’s departure, we will ask you to sign a waiver stating you have either purchased adequate insurance or that you will be personally responsible and financially liable for any costs incurred as the result of any delays/cancellations/evacuations to you on your trip.