Canoe trip distance planning advice need

I am planning a canoe and hiking trip to Isle Royale NP. I know my hiking capability but I would like to get some suggestions on the distance to use for the canoeing portion of the trip. What I need to know is the average daily distance one would expect to be able to go in a 16 ft canoe? Here are my assumptions:

*reasonably fit paddlers

*low to no current (mostly inland lake/bay paddling)

*leisurely/exploratory pace at about 8-10 hr/day

What I mean by leisurely is that we won’t be canoeing strictly to get from point a to point b. We will likely stop to take photos, eat, do some minor exploration etc.

Any help would be much appreciated.



Do you paddle regularly?
The reason I ask is that some paddlers will chew up 20 miles like nothing and for others 15 miles could be like a death march. Throw in some wind or bad weather and the average of your daily paddle could drop significantly.

I would suggest keeping your max. daily average at or below 12-15 miles. Probably closer to 10 miles a day for paddlers with little seat time.

Ideal conditions, under an ideal day, with ideal paddlers, who are in ideal shape…

say about 2 mph that will put you in the ballpark

Re: Do you paddle regularly?

No I do not paddle regularly. But I consider myself in pretty good shape. I know how to paddle ie I know how the proper technique to control the canoe and all but I am far from a regular.


a lot depends

– Last Updated: May-26-08 5:24 PM EST –

on the wind/weather and your partners---rivers generally are easier to paddle on then lakes, at least if there is wind and your partner's desire might limit or expand your mileage---My advice is not to try to count the miles---go as far as you want and are comfortable with then camp---you'll probably enjoy the trip more--after all its not a race

we usually pan for 1 mph
We are fit paddlers and know what to do and what to bring. We paddle frequently. Even if you are both fit and skilled, paddling frequently still counts A LOT to your days total distance.

We do lots of the trips you suggest. We like to explore, rest, coast, eat, paddle. A leisurely pace to be sure. We plan for One MPH based on years of documenting our actual history. We know, if things get tough and we have to move, we can easily cut this time in half and arrive safely before dark.

From your post…
I would figure on between twelve and fifteen miles a day.

If you are doing a lot of poking around figure on ten to twelve.



Thanks for all the replies. I think we will be fine with the distance we have to travel.

Then there are people who always
paddle like they are responding to a fire.

hey hey string
I resemble that remark

2 mph…
…would be about what my wife and I paddle as an “easy/average pace”. I would cut that down to 1.5 mph for stops and seeing the sights. We have begun journaling our paddles and usually manage roughly 2+ mph including lunch stop and some sightseeing.