The Nipissing River is located in the north end of the park, flowing almost 100 kilometres from the headwaters just outside the west border of the park, northeast of Kearney, to Cedar Lake. It’s a drop and pool river, meandering slowly through a varied landscape, dropping down a series of waterfalls and dams throughout its length.
The headwater section, typically accessed from Big Bob Lake, is slow, shallow and often overgrown with alders, making travel in some sections particularly difficult late in the paddling season. Below Grass Lake, the river continues to meander, but it’s deeper and the waterfalls are higher and more dramatic where the river squeezes through narrow, rocky channels. High Falls is particularly spectacular, especially early in the season when the water levels are raised from snow melt and spring rain.
Near Nadine Lake, the river passes through significant wetland areas, often meandering before passing through a rockier, steeper section that breaks up the monotony. The slow sections of the river can be interesting though, because it is here that the greatest concentration of wildlife can be spotted, including; moose, deer, bear, wolf, river otter, beaver, muskrat and countless birds.
The Nipissing River is similar to many of the rivers in Algonquin Park, which many paddlers find somewhat boring and unrewarding. However, if your focus is abundant wildlife and spectacular brook trout fishing, the Nipissing River just can’t be beat.