Canoe Trails-Renting from Tippecanoe Rentals in Willow, AK

I am not huge into human powered water sports. Sure they are a fun break from the usual, but I don't actually own a canoe, kayak, pack raft, SUP, or other form of floating fun. When we decided to rent a cabin at the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area (SRA) I figured we should rent a canoe and try out the canoe trails in the area. After a little searching, I found the only outfitter out there was Tippecanoe Rentals. Overall, renting from them was great. We found canoeing to be fun once we got the hang of steering. Portaging from lake to lake got rather tiresome but was not as bad as we thought it would be.

Anyway, to review our experience with Tippecanoe Rentals.

The Good:

  • It was October when we booked our cabin. I assumed they would not be too busy at this time of year but called ahead anyway. I left a message on their phone (907-355-6687) with my name and date range. John called me back fairly promptly with all the information I needed. 
  • Upon arrival, John was friendly and knowledgeable about the area. I asked about all the trails and he had good information for them all: approximate times, which routes have horrific portages, where the fish were biting, what kind of winter opportunities there are, etc. 
  • We were provided with all needed canoe gear: canoe, paddles, life vests, and portage handles. John showed us how to use the portage handles; they made life so much easier. We were also given a map of the area. It was helpful until the dogs stepped on it, soaked it, and essentially destroyed it. 
  • Adding extra days was easy. We told John our plans and that we were not sure if we would have the canoe 2 or 3 days. He was fine with that and said to just shoot him a text if we kept it another day. (Cell reception in the Nancy Lake SRA is spotty and weak but there)
  • Pick up and drop off was easy. To pick up, we went to the office at S Rolly Campground to pick up the keys to the canoe lock and gear. We then drove to Tanina Lake where the trailhead is and got the canoe and took off. To drop off, we locked the canoe on their rack at the trailhead and then just dropped our gear and key in the drop box on the back of their office. 
  • Prices seemed fair: $55 for an overnight rental with an extra $15 per added day. For having no local competition, the prices did not seem unreasonable. 

 

The Not-As-Good

  • They currently do not have a website. If you don't like phone calls like me, you are SOL; that is the only way to check availability and prices. 
  • Finding the office was a little difficult as we were not familiar with the area. Essentially, drive to S Rolly Campground at the end of Nancy Lake Parkway (mile 5), turn into the campground and hug left until you see their small office on the left just off the water. 

 

Nothing bad to say about this company! The first time renting from them might be a little confusing, but overall, they were fantastic. I will be happy to rent from them in the future. They rent canoes for day trips and overnighters. They have pick up and drop off locations at several of the popular lakes in the area for paddling including Rolly Lake, Nancy Lake, and the Lynx Lake Trails. John also mentioned that he keeps the trails groomed in the winter for fat bikers and skiers!

 

 Our rental canoe with portage handles attached docked at our cabin for the night. (we turned it over to keep any rain out of it after this photo was taken)

Our rental canoe with portage handles attached docked at our cabin for the night. (we turned it over to keep any rain out of it after this photo was taken)

 Beautiful morning for a paddle!

Beautiful morning for a paddle!