DISCOVER THE FRENCH RIVER

ACTIVITIES

The French River with its lakes, bays, islands, rapids, delta, cliffs and beaches, is surrounded by forests that seem to go on forever. The river is a vast watershed and is almost endlessly variable from 5 sets of completely independent rapid systems 20 - 40 minutes from the lodge providing unique places to visit for the purposes of hiking, art, whitewater canoeing, picnicking, photography, wildlife observation or just relaxing in some of natures more beautiful places. The lodge is surrounded by flat water and if rapids are not your destination you can paddle all the flat water you wish without getting out of your canoe.

We have canoes designed for both smooth and white water canoeing. You can rent a fishing boat with outboard motor to explore and fish from.  Enjoy our hiking trails and camp riverside for a night by the rapids. Whatever, you decide to do, start and finish your day from the Lodge at Pine Cove.

Canoeing/Kayaking

Leave from our beach or let us drop you off at your put-in spot and paddle the Canadian Shield, were you will find a world of wilderness, magnificence and endless lakes and rivers. Leave from our beach or let us drop you off from our water taxi at your put-in spot and paddle the Canadian Shield, where you will find a world of wilderness, magnificence and endless lakes and rivers. Some of the finest canoeing and sea kayaking waters in the world are in our backyard. Explore, swim, fish, camp on an island, run a rapid and return to a luxurious meal and cottage at the end of the day. We will supply equipment, instruction, route planning and guides in any combination you wish.

Guided Multi-day Canoe Trips
We have operated guided trips from overnighters to two-week trips on the French River for over 10 years, and have a wealth of knowledge and fun to share with you. Novice or expert will have the chance to enjoy a memorable get-away on a vast and unconventional waterway system that is truly magnificent.

Canoe Day-Tripping from The Lodge
We provide daily, one-day canoe excursions to areas of great beauty on the river. Some trips will leave directly by canoe from The Lodge, while others will begin and end with Water-Taxi Shuttles. This enables canoeists to reach parts of the river that would normally require an overnight camp.

Canoe/Kayak rentals
The Lodge at Pine Cove rents canoes and kayaks from one day to a week or more, through our soft adventure company French River Adventures. To check out rates and types of boats available please link to http://frenchriveradventures.com/rates.htm

Voyageur Canoe
We own a 34-foot Montreal canoe that will take groups of 6 - 12 guests plus guides. This canoe can be rented by guests or by canoeists travelling in Northern Ontario. You can also join us in a historical experience designed by the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Canoe Instruction - Flat water
Nicola Ross will teach you the basics of canoeing from simple paddle strokes to more advanced techniques that will help prepare you for independent canoe tripping or just brush up those rusty skills.

Customized Trips
We will be happy to plan with you customized paddling trips to suit any occasion or level of ability. Some of the special trips we have planned are: vacations with different activities each day (e.g. canoeing, fly-fishing, hiking, a night out on the river and many other variations); to locate spots for wedding invitation photos; guide artists to special painting/sketching locations; wedding anniversary trips on the river with picnics; special fishing or hiking trips or whatever else you would like us to arrange. We have assisted a family in order to distribute the ashes of a relative who was a keen paddler, and have responded to many other personal requests.

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Spin/Fly Fishing

Experts will revel in a world-class waterway were river, rapid, lake or drift are all possible. Experts or novices alike will revel in the delights of fishing the French River. Trolling for muskie, spinning or fly fishing for pike, walleye or bass on either flat or moving water are all possible in a variety of wonderful locations accessible directly from the lodge.

Bring your own boat and use our launch and docking facilities or rent a boat from us. Hire a guide to find the special spots and head out on this incredible water system. World class muskie fishing is to be found right on our doorstep. Great small mouth bass fishing on a fly is available in many locations just a short boat ride away from the lodge. Try your luck in Pine Cove itself and you will surprise yourself, as many others have.

If you do decide to hire a guide please do so at the time of making your accommodation reservation.

The Lodge at Pine Cove is a peaceful, quiet lodge with first class accommodation and restaurant facilities. The Lodge at Pine Cove ideally suits those fishers who want the luxury of a very comfortable lodge with great food and a good wine list or a luxury cottage with a kitchen.

We do not suit "party" groups looking for a place to "let go," unless they are large corporate/institutional type groups capable of exclusively renting the entire facility.

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Cruises

Cruise the French River with Rene Lahaie, raconteur and avid historian, as he takes you on the route of the Voyageurs, Canada's intrepid fur traders and explorers.
Lunch and Voyageur Time
Enjoy a delicious lunch on our screened in porch overlooking the French River and then board our water taxi to enjoy an easy walk to Five Finger Rapids, one of the loveliest spots on the French River.

En route, Skipper Alex will bring alive the fascinating history of when the Voyageurs plied these waterways.

Lunch at 12:30pm, tour departs from our main dock at 1:30pm, returns at approximately 3:30pm.

To book, please call for availability or register at our Front Desk in advance of the day you'd like to go.
$48+HST/person (Lodge lunch & tour)
$35+HST/person (tour only)

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Hiking

Hiking can be directly from the Lodge, by canoeing/kayaking or being dropped off and picked up again by one of our boats at the start and end of a hike. Hiking can be directly from the Lodge, by canoeing/kayaking or being dropped off and picked up again by one of our boats at the start and end of a hike. Hike woodland trails, visit a heronry, picnic on pink granite by the shoreline, swim in beautiful small lakes, hike several beautiful rapid systems, visit beaver dams, hike in a gorge to a stunning small waterfall and natural swimming pool. There is hiking at the lodge at Pine Cove suitable for all experience levels. Lodge staff will assist you in arranging your hike, with maps, suggestions, delicious lodge picnics (please order the day prior to your hike) and transportation to and from the hiking areas.
Hiking directly from the Lodge at Pine Cove
Nicki's Trail - circuit trail from the lodge.
Hike around a beautiful small lake and out to the North Channel of the French River - time 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Difficulty - This hike can be broken into an easy hike to the lake (25 minutes each way) and return. A more moderate hike extends around the lake by way of the North Channel (1 1/2 hours). Viewing possibilities - beaver dam, beaver, osprey, snapping turtles, pileated woodpeckers, ruffed grouse, bald eagle, blue heron, many varieties of small birds, waterfowl, large white and red pine, spruce, many broad leaf deciduous shrubs. Activities - Hiking, swimming, picnicking, gathering blueberries and cranberries in season.

Birkin's Lake-Trail
Anyone who has visited The Lodge knows Birkin. In honour of his keeping me company over the 15 hours it took me to cut and mark The Lodge at Pine Cove's newest hiking trail, I've called this great route Birkin's Lake-Trail. I'm particularly thankful to Birkin since Mota, my own dog, was all too ready to abandon her responsibility to keep me company, preferring instead to trot back to her favoured spot by The Lodge's kitchen door. At 14 years of age (15 this summer), I suppose I should cut her some slack. Maybe I'll name the next trail in her honour!

Cut in 2012, Birkin's Lake Trail has something for everyone. It travels through some mature pine, spruce and oak forest; climbs over several spectacular rocky outcrops; passes through moss so thick you'll want to sleep on it; and ends up at a beautiful lake. What more could you want?

Well, you might want the trail to loop back to Moira's Pond Trail, and perhaps it will by the end of the 2013 season. For now, however, the destination is the lake, which is a great spot to picnic, read a book or simply watch the world go by.

** While the lake is lovely to look at, it is reported to have leeches in it which is unusual on French River lakes. Apparently there are no fish in this lake, so that may be an explanation or it may just be an “old wives tale” and you can let us know - true or false!

Trail Route
From Bob's Cottage, follow the Hiking Trail sign. After about 10 minutes, you will arrive at a spot where Birkin's Lake-Trail exits to the left from Moira's Pond Trail. The junction of these two trails is marked with flagging tape and, by mid-May, will have a sign as well. The route to the lake takes 20 to 30 minutes from this trail intersection (one way).

To return to The Lodge, you can either return via Birkin's Lake Trail or bushwhack (it is not hard) past the lake until you reach the North Channel of the French River. Turn right and follow the river until you hook up with Moira's Pond Trail and return via this route.

Hwy 528A to Clear Lake - out and back with an additional trail that can be explored down one side of Clear Lake.
Hike or jog from the lodge on a beautiful small paved road, with not much traffic, to Clear Lake - time 40 minutes each way. Difficultly - This hike can be a gentle walk, a good jog with a couple of testing hills or can be extended as a more moderate hike by hiking a trail down the side of Clear Lake which adds an additional 40 minutes to the hike. Viewing possibilities - much the same as Nicki's trail, also wonderful fall colours along the road, red fox (there is den along side the road where fox cubs play), picnicking, swimming in Clear Lake.



Boat/Canoe/Kayak accessible hiking from the Lodge at Pine Cove
The French River or as the French explorers called this part of the river, Lac Jeunes Marie as it is much more like a big lake than river, is one of the great canoeing/kayaking destinations in Ontario. Combining a paddle, a hike, perhaps a picnic and swim, is a wonderful way to spend great days exploring this water wonderland of pink granite and its dozens of uninhabited islands.

Five Finger Rapids - hike along one of Ontario's most beautiful rapid systems.
Hiking Fiver Finger Rapids from the lodge is an absolute must for a visitor to the Lodge at Pine Cove. It truly is a geological gem. Accessible by motor boat or lodge pontoon boat (15 minutes), canoe or kayak (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours paddling one way). Time 40 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Hiking is easy to moderate depending on how far you wish to go. Hikers need to collect a First Nations permit from the lodge front desk prior hiking as the hike is over Ojibwa land. The Dokis First Nation graciously allow visitors to hike, picnic and swim here for a nominal sum per person, which covers the cost of a boardwalk, conservation officer patrol, bush toilet and trail development from the Dokis village.

Cedar Rapids - a moderately remote and beautiful rapid system.
Hiking Cedar Rapids on the North Channel after a 30 minute boat ride or 2 hour paddle from the lodge is a delight. A short hike - time 20 minutes (longer if one extends the hike down the river) - leads to a stunning picnic and swimming spot where one can float amongst tiny islands, get a back massage in a small rapid or rough hike further afield. Difficulty - Moderate to difficult if one decides to hike further down the river where there is no developed trail but walking amongst the Jack Pines high above the river collecting blueberries, photographing, birding in this remote area is a great way to spend the day.

Restoule Gorge - a deep gorge on the Restoule River.
Hiking the Restoule gorge means a 45 minute boat ride from the Lodge at Pine Cove or an overnight canoe/kayak trip. The boat trip takes you through some of the French River's most beautiful scenery, past a bald eagle's nest and follows the route of the voyageurs, Canada's fur traders who used the French River as a highway to the West. There are two hikes: a) a 20 minute hike along the portage trail to a set of pools and rapids that makes a wonderful area to picnic and play in the rapids. Difficulty - moderate as the beginning of the trail is steep. b) a 20 minute hike along the bottom of the gorge (please stick to the trail as this is an area where lobelia cardinalis grows wild, blooming in early August) up to a stunning small waterfall and natural swimming pool. Difficulty - moderate as there is a steep bit of bank to be negotiated.

Eighteen Mile Island - a large island with many hunt trails.
Hiking Eighteen Mile Island is an easy 20 minute to 45 minute paddle from the Lodge at Pine Cove or a quick motor boat trip. There are many hikes ranging from an hour to several hours that can be made on the island which is uninhabited in all of its eastern end, except for one small cottage. The island has many lakes - some with heronry's, a lot of wildlife - Moose, bear, wolf, deer, beaver and plenty of birdlife. Difficulty - moderate to difficult as navigation skills are needed to find ones way on the myriad of hunt and game trails. Sightings of large animal tracks are common and picnics by the side of remote lakes make one feel civilization is very long way off.

Rainy Rapids and the South Shore of the French River - remote hiking on hunt trails into a completely uninhabited region of the French.
Hiking in this area of the French River is an easy 1 hour paddle from the lodge or a 10 minute boat ride. Accessed by hunt trails this area is remote and hiking times can be from 1 hour to several hours. Difficulty - moderate to difficult as navigation skills are needed. Sightings of animal tracks is common in this area.
A shorter and easy hike of 20 to 60 minutes, down past the Rainy Rapids is on the shoreline trail is an excellent opportunity to see duck, osprey, Bald Eagle and picnic in several beautiful spots along the riverbank.



Car accessible hiking from the Lodge at Pine Cove
Mashkinonje Provincial Park - various circuit trails
Hiking Mashkinonje is a must for the serious hiker or naturalist and only a very easy 25 minutes from the lodge by car. Pick up some elk sausage (delicious) on the way back to the lodge, at Buechli's Elk Farm.
Mashkinonje has 35 kilometres of hiking trails that cross bedrock outcrops to peatlands, beaver ponds and the scenic West Arm of Lake Nipissing. A network of nine trails starting from two kilometres in length provides many hiking opportunities. The Loudon Peatland Trail is the easiest trail; the others have varying levels of difficulty up to the most difficult Coastal Trail. The first half kilometre of the Loudon Peatlands Trail past the boardwalk are now wheelchair and stroller accessible. View the newsletter section of the maskinonge web site for the latest information. www.mashkinonje.com/newsletter.html This park can also be canoe/kayak hiked - canoe or kayak down the shoreline, hike a trail and return to your craft.

Recollet Falls
Hiking from the Visitor Centre to Recollet Falls is approximately 40 minutes. Difficulty is easy to moderate and hiking is along the spectacular French River gorge to Recollet Falls. Driving time from the Lodge at Pine Cove is 40 minutes. The French River Visitor Centre is a small walking museum of very high quality, displaying the natural and social history of one of Canada's most historical rivers. There is also a pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the French River gorge, accessible from the Visitor Centre.

Killarney Provincial Park
Hiking for the novice to expert and located 1 1/2 hours drive from the Lodge at Pine Cove. A web hiking page can be accessed by viewing - www.ontarioparks.com/english/kill-hiking.html

Free hiking
There are endless opportunities to hike through the open woodland, along shorelines and find inland lakes, huge trees in this part of the French River if you have navigation skills and are an experienced backcountry hiker.

Advice/things to take:
  • Register with the lodge prior to starting your hike and let us know where you are hiking and when you expect to return. Register your return with us, so that we know you are back.
  • Wear appropriate footwear.This is rugged country.
  • Take clothing suitable to the season and in case or temperature changes.
  • Take plenty of water.
  • Trail snacks and other high energy foods are good to take along on your hike.
  • A first aid kit to deal with emergencies, cuts, insect bites, a sprained ankle.
  • A compass or GPS.
  • A light pair of binoculars for wildlife sightings.
  • Camera for that unforgettable shot.
  • A map of the French River available from the front desk.
  • Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and a walking stick.
  • Do not venture off trails or shorelines, unless you are a competent navigator.

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Native Adventures (Ojibwe)

We can arrange by request guided native adventures including

Spirits of the Forest Hike
Guided hike exploring the forest and its native medicinal plants.

Traditional Fishing Methods
Learn about traditional Ojibwe fishing methods with Norman Dokis Jr.

Paddle to the Pow-Wow
Paddle to an Ojibwe Pow-Wow in a replica fur-trade canoe on the Canada Day weekend in our 36 foot replica Montreal Canoe. Dancing, drumming, native costumes and all in a wonderful setting on the Dokis First Nation reserve.

Voyageur Canoeing

Paddle a 36-foot Montreal Canoe with a guide or charter this magnificent vessel for a unique vacation on some of the finest paddling water in the world.

Paddle a 36-foot Montreal Canoe with a guide or charter this magnificent vessel for a unique vacation on some of the finest paddling water in the world.

Fur-trade Canoe
Our modern-day Voyageurs leave the lodge and make their way to one of the many beauty spots on the French River for a delicious picnic lunch were swimming, sunbathing, photographic opportunities and exploring are part of the adventure. Dates - this program will run all season.

Paddle to the Pow-Wow
Paddle to an Ojibwe Pow-Wow in a replica fur-trade canoe on the Canada Day weekend in our 36 foot replica Montreal Canoe. Dancing, drumming, native costumes and all in a wonderful setting on the Dokis First Nation reserve.

See Packagae details - www.frenchriver.com/powwow.shtml.

Montreal Canoe Charter
Set out on your own adventure of discovery, exactly as the explorers and fur traders did. Planned routes, guides and full outfitting are all available.

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