Horned Owl Kayaks
Kayak rentals on the Seine River in Grande Pointe, Manitoba
November 2023 - snow means we're done for the season. Check back in May!
A relaxing natural journey
While there are many beautiful natural places in Manitoba, many people overlook the beauty of small rivers like the Seine. On the Seine, you're close to both riverbanks, increasing the chance of spotting wildlife, and the slow current makes for a relaxing paddle.
Spot river wildlife
Beavers, great horned owls, painted turtles, belted kingfishers, and wood ducks are among the animals you can spot along the Seine River. Kayaks allow you to approach wildlife very quietly, allowing you to get closer than you could otherwise.
Many signs of beaver activity on the river; if you're lucky you'll spot one.
They bask on logs and dive in if you get too close!
Great Horned Owls
They're pretty well camouflaged sitting in the trees but will swoop over the river.
How does it work?
Horned Owl Kayaks will meet you at the launch point and provide you with the kayak, paddle, and life jacket, right where you'll get into the water. We'll help you launch and give you tips and answer any questions you have.
We have a set course down the river that will take 1-1.5 hours of paddling to reach the end, then 1-1.5 hours of paddling back to the start point (2-3 hours round-trip).
When you've returned to the launch point, just leave equipment there and be on your way.
Support environmental charities
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the kayak pick-up and return point?
Grande Pointe Park, in Grande Pointe, Manitoba. Grande Pointe is 10km southeast of Winnipeg on Highway 59.
Grande Pointe Park is at 423 Bernat Road. It's on Google Maps but not Apple Maps.
At the park, the meeting point is at the north end of the north parking lot - turn into the park by the big red chair.
How far can I go? How long does it take?
To paddle from the Grande Pointe Park downstream to the northern end of the Seine River in Grande Pointe (where it approaches the floodway) and back will take 2-3 hours. You are of course free to not paddle the entire length (but you gotta bring your kayak back to the park!).
There is additionally a short upstream portion that will take you through the wooded area of Grande Pointe Park. This will take 30 minutes return.
Some people choose to "float" downstream and then paddle back; this is dependent on the current. If you wish to do this, please let us know and we can provide an time estimate and turn-around point based on current conditions.
How long can I rent the kayaks for?
We set the maximum at 4 hours. This is plenty of time to do the full course (with breaks). If you planning on taking a very long break, or something else unusual, let us know. Otherwise we start to worry if you're not back after 4 hours.
How do I know when to turn around?
Due to the floodway and the highway, you can't go too far - you are physically blocked from proceeding further. You should however keep in mind your endurance and your rental time and turn around before reaching the end point, if necessary.
How many kayaks can I rent?
We have 4 adult kayaks and 1 children's kayak available for rent.
What kinds/sizes are your kayaks?
1 - 11 foot adult sit-inside kayak with adjustable footrests and cargo hold.
2 - 10 foot adult sit-inside kayak with adjustable footrests and cargo hold.
1 - 8 foot adult sit-inside kayak (no footrests or cargo hold).
1 - sit-on-top children's kayak.
The 11-foot kayak has been tested up to 250 pounds. The children's kayak's manufacturer specifies a maximum weight of 100 pounds.
The adult kayaks are suitable for teenagers as well. Children may have difficulty properly paddling in them due to their size.
Due to the design of the children's kayak, it's expected that the seat will get wet, so this kayak is only recommended for warm weather.
What other equipment do you provide?
We also provide paddles, life jackets, phone cases, and bailing sponges for all participants.
Do you have any tandem kayaks?
No, all our kayaks are singles.
Can you get more kayaks for a larger group?
No, we don't have any additional kayaks available, but if you borrow or rent additional ones from somewhere else and bring them, you are free to use them.
Can I rent your kayaks and bring them somewhere else?
No, we only provide the kayaks for use on the Seine River in Grande Pointe.
I have my own kayaks. Can I go by myself?
Yes, Grande Pointe Park is open to the public, and rivers are not owned by anyone, so you don't need us if you have everything you need to go alone. We recommend launching under the bridge just north of Grande Pointe Park.
What should I wear and bring?
Clothes and shoes/sandals you don't mind getting wet, a hat and sunscreen (if sunny), bug spray, a filled water bottle, snacks.
What if there's inclement weather?
Give us a call more than 3 hours before your booking and we can reschedule.
Is the river dirty?
As the river crosses the prairie, it picks up mud, which gives it its brown colour. This colour does not mean it is polluted or unsafe to kayak on.
Is it hard to paddle upstream?
The current in the Seine is very slow - about 1km/h. Going against the current will be a little slower than going with it, but definitely not hard.
Is there whitewater or rapids?
Will the way be blocked by fallen trees, branches, or dams?
Due to erosion or beaver activity, trees and branches may block your way. In some cases, you can push your way through the obstacle. The kayaks are tough and won't break, but tipping over is a possibility. If pushing though does not seem possible, you will need to go to the riverbank, disembark from your kayak, portage around the obstacle, and put yourself back in. This isn't terribly hard, but you might get muddy.
Horned Owl Kayaks will attempt to keep the river clear, and you can read our River Reports for latest conditions, but it's a natural river and conditions can change daily.
When is the best time of the year to go?
Our season runs from May to November while the river is clear of ice. It's hard to pick a best time, but here are some considerations:
May can be flooded, July and August can have very low water.
Vegetation will be barren until late May, green from late May to September, fall-like September to October, and barren again in November.
It's not fun getting wet when it's cold.
You can review our River Reports to know what to expect.
I have never kayaked before - is this suitable for me?
We have had many first-timers do rentals. Some have had experience with similar watercraft like canoes, and some haven't. We think kayaking on the Seine is one of the easier ways to try kayaking, and we can provide a short lesson on the basics of kayaking, but there are other local options that are probably even easier for first-timers - like Fort Whyte Alive or La Barriere Park.
Is kayaking hard or dangerous?
Kayaking the Seine does not require a high degree of effort or skill. The current is slow and there are no rapids to traverse. There will sometimes be obstacles such as fallen trees you will need to navigate around. Realistically, the worst that can happen is your kayak tips over.
What happens if I fall in?
Our adult kayaks are sit-in, but you are not enclosed in them; it's easy to slide out if you tip over. The children's kayak is sit-on-top.
You are provided with life jackets, so if you tip over in water deep enough that you can't touch the riverbed, you'll need to swim your kayak to the bank, dump the water out (for sit-ins) and get on again. You'll get wet and muddy, but it's not dangerous.
Will I get wet?
If you fall in, yes. Other than that, probably a few drops/splashes.
Is it hard to paddle against the wind?
The river banks are mostly treed so the wind has minimal effect on your speed. Some of the more open portions may be more difficult on a very windy day.
What kind of wildlife will I see?
We can't guarantee seeing any particular kind of wildlife or any wildlife at all, and what you see depends on the time of year, time of day, weather, knowledge on where to look and what to look for, and luck. However, on a typical summer day, with knowledge on where to look, we would categorize as follows:
Common: great horned owls, painted turtles, wood ducks, mallards, sandpipers, blue jays, deer, squirrels, American goldfinch, red winged blackbirds, crows
Rare: beavers, merlins, kingfishers, muskrats, Canada geese, woodpeckers, crayfish
Very rare: herons, turkey vultures, mink, fish
You can check our River Reports page for lists of what we've seen recently.
When is the best time to see wildlife?
Different animals will be out at different times of the year, different times of the day, and in different weather. Turtles like to take in the heat, so they'll be out on sunny days. Ducks with ducklings will be common in the late spring.
What is your relationship with the charities you list?
We do not have an official relationship with any charity. We just chose to make donating to these charities the "payment" for the kayak rental. We want to let people experience the nature of the area while supporting organizations who help protect it.
Can I pay you when I arrive?
We require prepayment so that your booking can be reserved. It also proves that the payment is going to charity. If you have an extraordinary situation, we can make alternate arrangements.