The Hawkrock River has suddenly become one of Northeast Saskatchewan’s favourite rivers. It’s a clear, wild river, rushes 100 km north from its headwaters on Forsyth Lake to the Fond du Lac River. There are numerous rapids that get progressively more difficult as you go along. And all the rapids are runnable. The river flows through limestone gorges. It has incredible scenery . It is an excellent river for photography, from exciting whitewater shots of canoes crashing through large waves, to fantastic landscapes. There are wonderful camping spots ranging from a perfect crescent beach to an open jack pine bench. It is unlikely you will see others on the Hawkrock River. Bald eagles, black bear, moose and possibly caribou can be seen. Eagles, osprey and loons fill the skies. The trip begins with a 40 km van shuttle from Points North to Forsyth Lake and ends with a charter flight from Points North.
Trip at a Glance
Whitewater and lakewater wilderness canoe trip
Length: 7 days
Skill Level: Intermediate
Dates: August 25 to 31
Trip Fees: $2795 CAD
Trip Rendezvous: Points North, Saskatchewan
The Hawkrock River trip meets at Points North Landing, Saskatchewan. We will overnight there, before heading by van to Forsyth Lake (40 km) on the Hawkrock River. The guides will review paddling strokes, canoe maneuvers and safety before we head downstream. At the first rapids we’ll go over river reading and route planning. From here on it is a mix of swifts, rapids and lakes. All the rapids can be run. There are no portages. On our last day, we’ll be picked up in the morning from the Fond du Lac River by our charter aircraft for our flight back to Points North, to connect with late afternoon flights to Saskatoon.
Day 1 Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - Travel to Points North, SK
- Flights from Saskatoon to Points North
- Pre trip meeting, gear check, dinner, overnight at Points North (own expense)
Day 2 - Breakfast, van shuttle to Forsyth Lake on the Hawkrock River
- Canoe skills review, paddle, set up camp,
Day 3 to Day 6 - Paddle the Hawkrock River
- The unspoiled clear waters of the Hawkrock River flow through limestone gorges and over numerous rapids. There are many fun runnable rapids. Each night, we will camp at a new site, surrounded by ruggedly beautiful scenery. The last day or so will be spent on the Fond du Lac River.
Day 7 Tuesday, August 31, 2021
- Charter Flights from the Fond du Lac River back to Points North
- Optional Group Dinner and overnight in Points North (own expense) or mid-afternoon departure from Points North to Saskatoon
- Overnight in Saskatoon (own expense) or flights home
What is Included in the Trip Price
•Guides - 5:1 ratio
• Excellent meals from Day 2 lunch to Day 7 breakfast
• 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
• Van transportation from Points North to Forsyth Lake (40 km) on the Hawkrock River
• Return charter flight to and from the Fond du Lac River from Points North Saskatchewan
• 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 - Points North, Saskatchewan
• Accommodation in Points North, SK (approx $150 per person based on double occupancy)
• Any meals in Points North 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
The Hawkrock is a river that is unique in Saskatchewan in that it flows through an area of limestone gorges. This makes for well worn rapids of limestone ledges. It also make for beautiful camping places of jack pine benches that could camp far more people than you want on your trip. The forest of predominantly open spruce or pine. The forest floor is covered with yellow and white lichen. Jack pine is found in the drier areas and birch in old burns. Lowland areas often have stunted black spruce or tamarack.
The Hawkrock maintains it’s flow throughout the summer. The average difficulty of the rapids is and easy grade II. The rapids are not overly long. The rapids start our quite easy and almost imperceptibly they gain in difficulty as the river gains volume. The river bed is generally made up of boulders and shelves. There are no portages.
The Hawkrock, Fond du Lac River and Black Lakes are the territory of the descendants of a group of Dene once referred to as “the Caribou Eaters”. They carried on a traditional way of life during the fur trade, following the barren ground caribou throughout the year as their ancestors had. Most went north in the summer, and wintered in the Black Lake area. Traditionally, the Dene travelled the some of the sections of the Hawkrock River, as they hunted and fished the bounty of the river and surrounding forests.
The river has remained nearly empty until very recently when it was ‘rediscovered’ by canoeists. It now sees several groups a summer.
Overall there are fewer species reflecting the harsh climate and lack of diversity in the vegetation. Although the barren ground caribou sometimes come this far south in the winter, you will not see them in the summer. Moose and black bear are the most common ‘large’ mammals. Bald eagles, loons and osprey are a typical birds. There is also a healthy population of otter, mink fisher and martin. You’ll can find northern pike, walleye, lake trout, and possibly arctic grayling.
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!
Even though the Hawkrock region is cooler than most of northern Saskatchewan and we are getting there towards the end of summer. A good rain suit is recommended. Expect temperatures to range from 5 C to 25C, but averaging from 15 - 20 C. Water temperatures in end of August tend to be around 17 C. Bring along some warm clothing for cool evenings.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Hawkrock River trip meets in the ‘community’ of Points North, Saskatchewan (YNL). There are daily flights from Saskatoon (YXE) to Points North via Transwest Air. You should arrive in Points North on Wednesday, August 25th and can depart on or after Tuesday, August 31st, 2021. Points North is not really a town, just a jump off for exploration and mining. It has a small ‘hotel’, restaurant, small convenience store and float plane base. We will reserve a bed for you for Night 1 - the cost will be approximately $150.00 per person and the price includes dinner and breakfast.
This Trip is rated Intermediate Skill Level - Previous experience is expected
This trip is recommended for paddlers with previous canoeing experience. You do not need to be an expert, yet it would be good to be familiar with whitewater maneuvers and safety. Because the rapids get progressively more difficult you will have time to learn these skills on the trip. But also because there are no portages you need to be comfortable enough with your canoeing skills that you won’t be a burden to the rest of the group. The water level in August should be optimal for this river. You should be prepared to carry your share of the group’s load. The pace will be fairly brisk but we will have 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 river 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.