Discover the French

An ancient trade route

First Nation’s peoples arrived in the Great Lakes region about eight thousand five hundred years ago. It is reasonable to assume that they started trading in the valleys and tributaries close to the Ottawa River, at about that time. Lake Nippissing and the French River would have been part of that trading area. Ojibwa Nippissings traded with the Wendat Huron of Southern Georgian Bay before the arrival of Europeans and they would have used the French River as their trade route. After the arrival of the Europeans, the French River quickly became a route for exploreres missionaries and fur traders, into what would eventually become Canada’s west and into what is now the United States. The French River became a major route for the fur trade, for almost two hundred and fifty years.

Nature & wildlife

Nature and Wildlife abound on and in the French River. Flora and fauna of a wide variety inhabit its environs. From the Lodge at Pine Cove you can find many of Eastern North Americas large mammals, a large variety of birds, flowering shrubs and plants and many warm water fish species.

Explore activities


Wilderness imbues the whole sense of the French River. Although the French is only a few hours from Canada’s largest city, Toronto, its feel of wilderness is what attracts nature lovers, canoeists, kayakers and fishers. Even the BBC, who stayed at Lodge at Pine Cove, to shoot a documentary called “Northern Wilderness,” found the surrounding area had enough wilderness feel, to use it for filming. Huge pines, pink granite, water and few people, make the French River an easily accessible piece of Canada’s gigantic, wild hinterland. Come and discover the French River.

Explore activities


Lodge at Pine Cove provides a luxurious base from which to explore the French River area. Whether by canoe, kayak, motorboat or on foot, the French River has endless opportunities for exploration. Channels, bays, islands, mainland, rapids and so many beautiful places to enjoy nature, water, wildlife, forests and the peace that it all brings.
Five Finger Rapids, Grassy Bay, Cedar Rapids, Blue Chute, Rainy Island, Dokis First Nation reservation, the Wolseley River, Restoule Gorge, beaver dams and lodges, cranberry bogs, islands for blueberry picking. Discover the French and you will come back.

Explore activities


The weather on the French River is fairly consistently warm during July and August. During May, June, September and October temperatures can vary between very warm and quite cool. In the afternoons, there is often a breeze.


  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen SPF 15 or more.
  • Personal Medications
  • Insect Repellant


  • Hiking boots, running shoes.
  • Sandals or light shoes that can get wet.
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Swimsuit
  • Sun Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Warm Sweater
  • Wool or fleece hat (early and late season)
  • Re-useable water bottle


  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing gear
  • Pocket knife
  • Sketching materials
  • Board Games – the lodge has a selection.
  • Books – the Harting library is there for your use.

Note: In case you forget something we have; sunscreen, insect repellent, aspirin, toothbrushes, toothpaste.


For centuries the French River was one of the worlds great exploration and trade routes. Canoes plied its waters in search of beaver pelts, to export to Europe. Today you can canoe those waters from the Lodge at Pine Cove. Explore flat water, rapids, bays and the many wonderful places to stop and eat a gourmet picnic from the lodge’s kitchen.

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The French River is an incredible kayaking destination. Huge expanses of flat water that you can paddle for hours, whilst exploring wild shorelines, islands, bays and channels. Bring your own kayak or we can outfit you with one. Discover the French River and it will keep you coming back for more.

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Hike at Lodge at Pine Cove, on our well marked trails. From a 20 minute stroll to a 3 hour hike across the rugged Canadian Shield, you will find plenty of trails to interest you. Beaver ponds, large channels, cranberry bog, huge pine trees and plenty of flora and fauna. Hike Pine Cove and discover the French River.

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Bird Watching

French River is home to many species of birds including; various warbler migrations, sandhill cranes, many species of duck, bald eagles, ospreys, merlins, coopers hawk, merlins, pileated woodpeckers, blue herons and many other varieties. Birding on the French River is a joy.

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The French River, was a larder for millennia, for the First Nations peoples that fished its rich waters. Today, sport fishing is one of the French River’s main activities and attracts fishers for; muskellunge, northern pike, walleye (or pickerel as it is known in Canada), large and small mouth bass and other varieties of fresh water fish. Ask us about hiring a guide, bring your own boat or rent one from us.

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Wildlife viewing

If you are Mike Poole, who has been a guest at the lodge for many years with his wife Sheena, you know the French River is alive with mammals, birds and reptiles. The French does have a huge diversity of wildlife; moose, black bear, lynx, timber wolf, fisher, mink, beaver, otters, bald eagles, osprey, several turtle varieties and many other species. The trick however is to know where, when and how to look for them.

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Local village

Noelville, in the Municipality of French River, was founded in 1905 (Canada is still a young country!). It is the seat of the French River Municipal Government. It hosts services such as, a Foodland grocery store, two gasoline stations, several small restaurants, a liquor and beer store, several building supply stores, Nurse Practitioner clinic, paramedic and ambulance station and a post office. Noelville is about 20 minutes from the lodge by car.

Science Centre & Sudbury

A rainy day, staying for a few days and have some of the younger set or you would like a day out?

Science North will entertain, inform you with interactive science, an Imax theatre, animals you may have missed out on the water and lots more. It is well worth the hour and ten minute drive from the lodge –

Afterwards, you can explore Sudbury, a city of 161,000 inhabitants originally founded to mine the nickel deposits found there during the building of the transcontinental railway. The Sudbury Basin is one of the world’s most interesting geological formations – thought to have been caused by a comet hitting the earth’s surface. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and movie theatres in Sudbury.