People passionate about nature

Bain Route

(You may also download a PDF of the Bain Route information)

Overview of Bain Route

The launch site is at Davidson Lake, just before the Manitoba/Ontario border. You can do a loop if you leave a vehicle at Tulabi Lake (at the canoe route parking lot). The road distance between the Davidson Lake launch site and the Tulabi landing is about 8 km. The loop can be done in 3 days at a fast pace and in 4 to 5 days at a relaxed pace.

You can also use the route as a starting point for much longer trips: (1) to the upper Bird River and onwards to any of three south entry points into Woodland Caribou Park and (2) to the English River system (Umfreville lake). From Umfreville, you can canoe downstream to the Winnipeg River, to Crowduck Lake, and exit at Big Whiteshell Lake. If you canoe upstream from Umfreville, you can go up the Sturgeon River system to the southeast entry point into Woodland Caribou Park.

Bain Route Overview

Detailed maps, and portaging and camping information follow.

Bain Route 1

Launch at Davidson

The launch site has parking at the edge of the road and more parking near the Ontario border gate. The site is just west of the Manitoba/Ontario border (marked by a gate on the road). The road continues eastward to Werner Lake but it is not maintained. It was the road to a now abandoned mine. Werner drains into Umfreville Lake, a lake on the English river system (e.g. Caribou Falls). You canoe to Werner from Trapline Lake (refer to Map Bain 3).

Portage P1: To Reynar

This is the easier way to Reynar Lake. The portage goes steeply up a road embankment for a short distance until it reaches the road. Follow the road east to a small bay in Reynar. Portage length is about 130 m.

Portages P1a, P1b: Alternate way to Reynar

Paddle to east end of Davidson to a short stretch of narrow creek to Petch Lake. The portage is 10 metres long. Paddle eastward on Petch Lake to the small creek that flows into it. The portage is a short distance into the creek. The trail goes to the road. Follow the road to the culvert. Portage length is about 200 m.

Portage P1c (not marked on map): Alternate way to Reynar

This is the old portage from Petch to Reynar. The old portage begins on a grassy flat area in the deep bay that is just before the narrow bay where the creek enters the lake. The road is close to the landing. The trial goes to the road and then onwards to the culvert. The old portage is easier to travel than portage P1b which has a steep rock section and an obstructed creek area landing. The downside of the old portage is that it is about 50% longer than portage P1b.

Bain Route 2

Portage P2a (Refer to Map Bain 2)


There is a campsite in Reynar on the east end of the second island from the west end of the lake (refer to marked ‘c’).

Portages P2a, P2b: To Bain

This route has marshy sections and longer portage distances than the route via portages P2, P3, and P4.

Portages P2, P3, P4: To Bain

This is the easier way to Bain (a well used route) - a series of three short portages, each about 50 m long, to a south-facing inlet in Bain. Portage P2 begins on a rock shelf and goes up somewhat steeply to a pond lake. Portage P4 parallels a tiny overflow brook. In high water years, the trail and the brook can become one. If you are interested in going to Daly Lake (the lake just east of Reynar), there is a rough trail in the gully at the end of the bay east of portage P2.

Portages P5, P6, P7, P8: To Wilson

A series of four portages to a south facing bay in Wilson. Portage P5, an easy walk of about 250 m, begins on a low rock shelf in a weedy bay. Veer a bit northwest of the landing to find the actual trail. Portage P6 involves floating/lifting the canoe about 10 m across a a strip of land separating the two pond lakes. Portage P7 is an easy walk of about 150 m. Portage P8, about 120 m long, crosses mostly rock shelf areas. Look for rock cairns to guide your way. The last part of the trail drops somewhat steeply to Wilson.


Bain has a number of campsites. The two marked campsites have spots for at least 4 tents. There are smaller campsites along the north shore of the western end. As well, you can camp at the start of portage P5. The problem with this site is access to non-marshy water.

Bain Route 3

Portages P7, P8: To Wilson

Refer to Map Bain 2.

Portage P9: To unnamed lake and beyond to Snowshoe

Portage P9 is the longest portage of the portages between Davidson and Snowshoe lakes. It is about 350 metres and partly goes through a boggy area. It ends at a very nice lake whose waters eventually drain into Snowshoe Lake (Bird River system).

Portage P9a: To Trapline and beyond to Umfreville

Portage P9a, an easy 60 m walk, takes you to Trapline Lake. The landing on Trapline is boulder strewn. Trapline is a long narrow lake that has beaches and a fishing lodge on it. It is a good lake to fish and explore. From Trapline, you can canoe to Werner and then onwards to Umfreville Lake on the English River system.


Wilson used to have a fishing lodge (on the big central island). A forest fire destroyed the lodge and obliterated the good campsites that used to be on Wilson. You may be able create a large capacity site on the peninsula marked with c?’. You should be able to find a rough site somewhere else that can hold perhaps two tents. Trapline has an excellent campsite for a large group at the east end of the largest island that is just before the collection of smaller islands at about the halfway east-west point of the lake.

Bain Route 4

Portage P9: To unnamed lake and beyond to Snowshoe

Refer to map Bain 3.

Portage P10: To "big island" lake and beyond to Snowshoe

Portage P10 is downhill alongside a creek. It is an easy 90 m walk if going downhill.


The large island just south of portage P10 is a good place to camp (marked with a ‘c’). There is room for about 3 tents. There may be other campsites on the unnamed lake. It is worth exploring. It likely is a lake trout lake.Portage P11: Along the creek

As you leave "big island" lake, there is a short rocky channel that is usually navigable. A short paddle beyond that, there is a rapids on the creek. Portage P11 is the rapids portage. It is about 50 metres long.

Bain Route 5

Portage P11: Along the creek

As you leave "big island" lake, there is a short rocky channel that is usually navigable. A short paddle beyond that, there is a rapids on the creek. Portage P11 is the rapids portage. It is about 50 metres long.

Portage P12: Along the creek

Traveling downstream, you paddle through a beaver-created marsh that ends with a waterfall and a rapids obstacle. If the beaver dam at the top of the falls is not breached, the creek section between portages P11 and portage P12 is quite wide. Portage P12 starts at the top of the falls. It is about 150 metres long with a steeper rocky section. The creek just downstream from portage P12 may not be navigable in low water years. You may have to creek walk a bit (the creek bottom is fairly firm).

Portage P13: The creek connection between two pond lakes

Option 1: (about 150 m on east side of creek)

You can float/drag/lift the canoe along the creek in high water. The creek is bordered on the west by a canyon wall. On the east side there is a rock garden and bushes. The rock garden has poison ivy near the downstream end. You can portage on the rock garden in low water but watch out for ankle busting perils.

Option 2: (length unknown but more than 150 m on west side of creek

The last time this author went through the area (in 2005), it looked as if there was a portage trail on the west side of the creek, up and over a small hill. It is worth pursuing because portaging on the east side of the creek is not a pleasant experience.

Portages #14: Along the creek

The portage is about 50 metres long. The tricky part is reaching the upstream trailhead because the inlet where the creek leaves the pond lake is shallow and rock-filled. The trailhead changes according to water levels. The place to find it is on the east side of the creek. The downstream end of the portage ends at a creek that is navigable all the way to Snowshoe Lake. The lake has fishing lodges but nevertheless it is a good place to fish and explore.

Once in Snowshoe, you can travel southwestward to McGregor, Elbow, and eventually Tulabi lakes. At the west end of Snowshoe (Snowshoe Falls) you are back in Manitoba. Or, you can travel eastward upstream on the Bird River system to Chase and Eagle lakes. Eagle Lake is at the edge of the southern boundary of Woodland Caribou Park, a wonderful place to canoe.


Snowshoe has many campsites. Three are marked along the westward path towards Tulabi Lake. The two campsites in the channel will hold large groups.

(You may also download a PDF of the Bain Route information)

Canoe Route Information: 

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