Culturally and geographically, Quebec is a landscape shaped by rivers. Canada’s largest province is home to more than 3,000 rivers, including the country’s largest—and most significant, from a historic and economic perspective—the Saint Lawrence River. Even the name Quebec was inspired by an Algonquian word meaning “where the river narrows,” so it should come as no surprise that this province is a fluvial paradise for paddlers.

Beyond the fertile valley and hardwood forests of the mighty St Lawrence the Canadian Shield covers most of Quebec. Glacier-polished rock outcrops have created dozens of beautiful and accessible whitewater pool-and-drop rivers from the Ottawa Valley to the Côte-Nord. South of the St Lawrence, the Appalachian mountain chain extends in Quebec from the Montreal area east to the Gaspé Peninsula, where deep valleys hide emerald-green canoe camping rivers.

Canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting in Quebec’s many glorious rivers could fill a lifetime worth of summer adventures, so we’ve narrowed your options down to this list of 10 that everyone should visit.

Canoeing on crystal clear water in Quebec
Paddling in the crystal-clear Bonaventure River feels like you’re floating on air. | Photo courtesy of: Bonaventure River, Gaspésie © Tourisme Québec // Dylan Page

 


 

Bonaventure River

Flowing south out of remote Lac Bonaventure high in Gaspé’s Chic-Choc Mountains to the sea at Baie des Chaleurs, the Bonaventure River offers you the chance to canoe or kayak camp along dazzling emerald green waters surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery. The clear, cold water is also perfect habitat for salmon—during angling season, bring a fly rod to sample the excellent Atlantic salmon fishing for which the Bonaventure is known.

Bonaventure River Canoe Camping

For some of the very best canoe camping Quebec has to offer, don’t miss the 3- to 6-day Bonaventure River canoe trip. This is one of most pristine wilderness whitewater rivers east of the Rockies, with a steady gradient, virtually continuous class I-II rapids, no portages and only a handful of class III ledges and rocky drops where you may need to line your canoe. The Bonaventure starts out as a swift-moving mountain stream with many sharp bends, and grows in size as you descend through a deep valley and stunning gorge. Along the way you’ll be mesmerized by the transparency of the green water and the pebble bottom sliding beneath your canoe. Magnificent mountain vistas, beautiful wilderness campsites, waterfall hikes and wild forests add to the magic, with the salmon pools of the wide lower river enticing anglers.

Allow 5 to 6 days to paddle the entire 127-km length of the river so you can savor the amazing scenery and paddling. Free wilderness campsites are abundant along most of the route, with the exception of the final 40 km of river where managed sites with basic amenities can be reserved for a small fee. The upper Bonaventure is best paddled at medium to high water, typically from late May through mid-to-late June. This trip is recommended for experienced river canoeists, as logjams and sweepers are common along the upper river.

Less experienced paddlers should opt for a shorter trip with 3 to 4 days of Bonaventure River camping on the easier lower river, below its confluence with the Bonaventure Ouest. This section is suitable for novices and can be run from early June through to the end of September.

Bonaventure River Kayaking

Kayaking is the perfect way to experience a scenic day trip on the beautiful Bonaventure River. Enjoy continuous class I-II boogie water on the river’s 16-km “Intrepid” day trip (starts at KM 45), or float the broad bends, crystal clear swimming holes and easy rapids of the 20-km lower river (put in at KM 29). Local outfitter Cime Aventures (see below) runs shuttles for the best day trips on the Bonaventure and rents single and double kayaks, as well as canoes, SUPs and mini-rafts.

Bonaventure River Map

If you’re planning a day trip anywhere along the lower Bonaventure River, check out this detailed day-tripper’s river map from Cime Aventures. The outfitter has also put together comprehensive topographic map sheets for the entire river. Download this indispensable Bonaventure River guide for canoe campers, or purchase a print copy from their store.

Bonaventure River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions

With more than five decades leading canoe trips, Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions guides rivers across Canada and as far afield as Central America and Europe. Available in June, their 7-day Bonaventure River canoe trip includes all meals and group equipment, professional guides, camping permits and shuttle. This trip is recommended for paddlers with previous whitewater experience.

Phone: 705-652-3199
Website: www.wanapiteicanoe.com/

Cime Aventures

Founded in 1989, family-owned Cime Aventures are the local experts for Bonaventure River canoe and kayak trips. Their award-winning riverside base is located 10 km upstream from the river mouth, serving as a convenient departure point for shuttles to Lac Bonaventure or day trips on the lower river. The outfitter offers canoe, kayak, SUP and mini-raft rentals; canoe camping equipment packages; trip planning assistance; and shuttle services for self-guided paddlers. You can also start and finish your Bonaventure River canoe trip here—Cime Aventures’ beautiful basecamp features tent camping, trailer and RV sites, glamping, cozy cabins and lovely eco-lodges.

Phone: 800-790-2463
Website: www.cimeaventures.com/en/

MHO Adventures

Bringing more than 25 years of experience to their guided trips, MHO Adventures offers river and lake trips across Canada. Their 7-day Bonaventure River canoe camping trip is rated intermediate and includes all meals and group equipment, professional guides to ensure your safety and enjoyment, camping permits, shuttle and accommodation with Cime Aventures.

Phone: 855-226-6366
Website: www.mhoadventures.com/

 


 

St Lawrence River

From its upper reaches west of Montreal to its vast estuary at the Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada’s largest river holds endless potential for paddlers. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are a must at Montreal’s Lachine Rapids. Just a few miles downstream, canoeists ply the peaceful marshes and canals of the Boucherville Islands. A day’s drive to the east, freshwater merges with the salty seawater of the St Lawrence estuary, creating rich habitat for marine life—and unbelievable whale encounters from your sea kayak.

A person celebrates as a whale surfaces the water
Captivating wildlife encounters await you on the waters of the St Lawrence River. | Photo courtesy of: Côte-Nord © Tourisme Québec // Marc Loiselle

Kayaking St Lawrence River

The best locations for sea kayakers looking to paddle with whales, seals and seabirds are found in Quebec’s Saguenay region on the north bank of the river, and in Bas-Saint-Laurent on river’s south shore. Here, you’ll find two national parks managed by SEPAQ—Saguenay–Saint-Laurent Marine Park and Parc National du Bic—that offer kayakers a taste of the St Lawrence River’s extraordinary biodiversity.

Located at the confluence of the Saguenay River and the St Lawrence, Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park protects the Upper and Lower Estuaries of the St. Lawrence. Most sea kayakers head north from the village of Tadoussac down the St. Lawrence into the Lower Estuary, a crucial summer feeding ground for whales, seals, fish and seabirds. Paddling along the coastline towards Anse à la Cave, you may spot plumes or hear the great misty exhalations of blue, minke, humpback or fin whales feeding just offshore. With locations in Tadoussac and Les Bergeronnes (Anse à la Cave), local specialist Mer et Monde Écotours offers guided kayak trips and spectacular riverfront camping.

Located in the St. Lawrence Estuary on the south bank of the river, Parc National du Bic showcases the spectacular capes, bays, coves, islands and mountains of this unique coastal environment. Sea kayak among the scattered forested islands and you’ll spot nesting seabirds, seals basking in the sun and rare plants blooming on rocky headlands. Recommended day trips include exploring Havre-du-Bic and the delightfully named Baie du Ha! Ha! For total tranquility and out-of-this-world sunsets over the river, book one of the nine rustic kayak campsites at La Coulée campground. Aventures Archipel is based right in the park and offers guided half-day, full day and sunset kayak tours in the Bic Archipelago.

St Lawrence River Rafting

Montreal is situated at the convergence of two mighty rivers—the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence—which means outstanding rafting opportunities are just as plentiful in this vibrant city as smoked meat and 17th-century architecture. You can enjoy thrilling St Lawrence whitewater rafting on Montreal’s world-famous Lachine Rapids just minutes from downtown. Beginners and families can enjoy a calmer introduction to whitewater while splashing down class I-II rapids and marvelling at the clear green water and urban skyline. Feeling even more adventurous? Book a high-adrenaline rafting tour, which will have you facing down class III-IV rapids, raft-swallowing whirlpools and intense, meters-tall waves. Rafting Montréal and Club Raft offer Lachine Rapids St Lawrence whitewater rafting.

St Lawrence River Camping

The sheer size of the St Lawrence River means it would be impossible to list all of the camping opportunities on the river’s shores and islands, but there are definitely a few choice camping spots for paddlers.

Parc National du Bic offers 185 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs in three different camping areas, as well as a handful of rustic riverside sites only accessible by kayak, on foot or by bike. Across the Saint Lawrence near Tadoussac, Mer et Monde Écotours specialize in guided kayak trips and offer spectacular riverfront tent sites and Ready-to-Camp glamping sites at their basecamp. Where else can you watch whales surface and tip their enormous tails skyward right from your tent door?

When you think of canoe camping in Quebec, the country’s second-largest metropolis probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. Yet Montreal boasts wonderful camping less than 10 km from the city’s Old Port. Situated smack in the middle of the St Lawrence River, the five closely-knit, vehicle-free islands that make up Parc National des Îles-de-Boucherville offer a peaceful escape from the noise of the city. Leafy channels teem with birds and aquatic life and two marked water trails are navigable by canoe, kayak or SUP (rentals available). The park has 50 tent campsites and 25 Ready-to-Camp sites accessible by paddling, cycling, hiking or hopping aboard a pedestrian ferry from Montreal.

St Lawrence River Map

Useful working maps for all Quebec SEPAQ national parks are available in print from the park or digitally from individual park websites. Download a map of Parc National du Bic and a map of Parc National des Îles-de-Boucherville. Also, view a map of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.

St Lawrence River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Kayakers enjoy the sunset shining on mountains and the water
The setting sun paces paddlers on tranquil St Lawrence waters. | Photo courtesy of: Parc National du Bic, Bas-Saint-Laurent © Tourisme Québec // Christian Savard

Aventures Archipel

Conveniently located right at Parc National du Bic, Aventures Archipel offers guided half-day, full day and sunset sea kayak tours in the Bic Archipelago. Trips are beginner-friendly and available from late May through mid-October.

Phone: 418-736-5035
Website: www.aventuresarchipel.com/

Mer et Monde Écotours

Mer et Monde specialize in sea kayaking guided excursions within the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park along the St. Lawrence estuary. Their award-winning kayak trips are renowned for quality of service, safety of activities, professionalism and integrating marine conservation values into their excursions. Kayak tours include 3-hour and full-day whale-watching trips in the Lower Estuary. Mer et Monde is also the only kayak outfitter offering 3-hour sunrise kayak trips in the estuary and 3-hour night tours to experience bioluminescence and listen to whale sounds with a hydrophone.

Phone: 866-637-6663
Website: www.meretmonde.ca/en

Katabatik Aventure Dans Charlevoix

Paddle the bird- and whale-filled Upper St. Lawrence Estuary portion of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park with Katabatik’s expert sea kayak guides. Explore the abundant marine life, remote beaches and amazing geomorphology of the Charlevoix coast on a half-day or full-day kayak tour.

Phone: 800-453-4850
Website: www.katabatik.ca/en

Excursions Kayakalo

Located near Montreal, Excursions Kayakalo offers guided sea kayak tours of the Boucherville Islands and Sorel Islands. The Sorel Islands–Lac Saint-Pierre Biosphere is one of the most ecologically diverse places to kayak near Montreal. Less than an hour downriver from the city, this dense archipelago of 103 islands shelters 50 percent of the river’s wetlands, making it an internationally important birding area. Navigate kayak-sized passages through this vast mosaic of hidden channels, maple swamps and bird-filled marshes.

Phone: 450-880-1654
Website: www.kayakalo.com/

Nerrivik Aventures

Based just east of Montreal, Nerrivik Aventures is a sea kayaking outfitter specializing in day trips and multi-day tours on the St Lawrence from the Boucherville Islands to the Sorel–Lac Saint-Pierre archipelago. Develop your kayaking technique and learn about the river and region’s natural and cultural history on a custom excursion with Nerrivik’s experienced guides.

Phone: 450-898-6715
Website: www.nerrivikaventures.com/

NAVI

For an urban paddling tour of Montreal, NAVI offers beginner-friendly sea kayaking trips and kayak/SUP rentals on the St Lawrence River below the Lachine Rapids. Choose from an easy tour to Rock Island; a more challenging descent to the southern tip of Île-des-Soeurs, including a few small rapids; or a full moon night paddle to enjoy the magic of Montreal after dark.

Phone: 514-800-0481
Website: www.espacenavi.ca/en/

KSF (Kayak Sans Frontieres)

Montreal’s oldest and best-known paddling school, KSF offers SUP and whitewater kayak lessons to take you from flatwater to the advanced level surf waves of the Lachine Rapids. They also rent surfboards, paddleboards, touring kayaks and whitewater kayaks from their location near Rapids Park.

Phone: 514-595-SURF (7873)
Website: https://ksf.ca/

A man kayaks whitewater rapids on Riviere Rouge
Whitewater kayaking options abound for all skill levels on the St Lawrence River. | Photo courtesy of: Charlevoix © Tourisme Québec // Pierre Carbonneau

 


 

Riviere Rouge

Rushing out of the Laurentian Mountains north of Mont Tremblant, the Riviere Rouge flows over 200 km south to the Ottawa River at the town of Grenville, Quebec. It’s a river of many different moods, at turns meandering gently through bucolic rural landscapes and then dashing violently through thick forest and steep-walled valleys.

Where the current is calm, shallow sandbars and vast shoreline beaches invite leisurely paddle-swim-picnic excursions. The upper valley of the Rouge offers an exciting wilderness experience for skilled whitewater canoeists and kayakers. In its final 10 kilometers, the river enters a canyon and drops precipitously toward its confluence with the Ottawa—a cathartic spill of rapids and falls that have made the Rouge one of Quebec’s most popular and accessible rivers for high-adrenaline whitewater rafting.

Discover the Riviere Rouge’s best paddling gems—Everything you need to know to kayak, raft, paddleboard or canoe the Rouge River.

Photo courtesy of: Voyageur Tripper // Mikaela Ferguson

 


 

Dumoine River

Regarded by many as having the prettiest scenery and best whitewater of the “Three Sisters” in western Quebec—a trio of parallel rivers that flow south to the Ottawa River Valley—the Dumoine River is also the only tributary of the Ottawa to remain gloriously wild and free flowing. Plunging some 500 feet down the rocky granite of the Laurentian Highlands, the Dumoine boasts 90 kilometers of spectacular whitewater paddling from Lac Dumoine to its mouth at the Ottawa River.

Dumoine River Canoe Trip

Self-guided paddlers should have intermediate whitewater skills to safely canoe the Dumoine. The river is interspersed with picturesque lakes and flanked by steep-sided hills. Majestic old-growth white pine forests shelter five-star campsites, and the magnificent canyon at La Grande Chute will take your breath away. For much of its length the Dumoine River traces a pattern of beautiful falls and exciting class I-III rapids—many of which can be run in spring conditions, with water levels remaining good throughout the summer. There are optional portages around most of the tricky rapids, making this Canadian Shield classic an ideal river for developing your whitewater canoeing skills.

Most canoe trippers plan 5 to 9 days for Dumoine River expeditions. Five- or six-day trips travel the lower two-thirds of the river—60 km from Lac Benoit to the Ottawa River. This section includes over 30 sets of class I to III rapids, including such descriptively named classics as Canoe Eater and Thread the Needle. Allow 7 to 9 days to navigate the entire river—100 km from Lac-Dix-Mille (Ten-Mile Lake) to the Ottawa River. Shorter trips from 2 to 4 days are also possible. You’ll find plenty of gorgeous campsites to choose from, some of them nestled beside spectacular falls or fun rapids where you can swim, fish and practice whitewater maneuvers in empty boats.

The Dumoine runs through crown land and controlled hunting and fishing zones called ZECs. All river travellers must register their trip at the ZEC Dumoine office in the village of Rapides des Joachim, where you’ll pay a modest camping and access road fee. Most self-guided paddlers use a local shuttle service (scroll down for more info) to drop them at Lac Dumoine, Ten-Mile Lake or Benoit Bridge. The headwaters are also accessible through Kipawa Reserve or La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve for a trip of 10+ days.

Dumoine River Map

The waterproof Paddler’s Guide Map to the Riviere Dumoine has been helping paddlers navigate the river for nearly 20 years. This detailed map indicates put-ins, portages, rapids, campsites and historic highlights. Alternatively, you can find a compilation of river section topographical maps online for free at Carte Plein Air. This PDF also includes helpful river beta and resources (in French). Print and laminate the map sheets and bring them with you on the river.

Another terrific resource for paddlers planning a Dumoine River trip is Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley by Hap Wilson (Boston Mills Press, revised ed. 2004), a superb guidebook with hand-drawn maps, descriptions of rapids, points of interest and historical background.

For a detailed and compelling human history of the Dumoine that brings to life the many historic remnants you’ll encounter when travelling downriver, The Last of the Wild Rivers (Burnstown Publishing House, 2016) by lifelong Dumoine paddler and conservation advocate Wally Schaber makes for fascinating campfire reading.

Dumoine River Water Levels

Yet another reason for the Dumoine River’s popularity for whitewater canoe tripping is that the river enjoys reliable water levels throughout the entire season—from May to early November. The Center d’Expertise Hydrique du Québec (CEHQ) operates a flow measurement station on the Dumoine River where you can check current and historical water level information.

Dumoine River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Black Feather

Black Feather runs award-winning guided canoeing, sea kayaking and hiking trips all across Canada. They lead Dumoine River canoe trips in June, July and August, with 3 options to suit paddlers with some previous whitewater experience. Choose from a 5-day getaway, 6-day Dumoine River for families, or the classic 9-day Dumoine River expedition.

Phone: 888-849-7668
Website: www.blackfeather.com/

Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions

Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions guides 4-day, 6-day and 9-day canoe trips on the Dumoine River with dates in May, July, August and September. Trips include all meals and group equipment, professional guides, camping permits and shuttle.

Phone: 705-652-3199
Website: www.wanapiteicanoe.com/

MHO Adventures

MHO’s 6-day Dumoine River canoe camping trip is rated intermediate and includes all meals and group equipment, professional guides, camping permits, shuttle and cabin accommodation the night before your trip start. Available in June.

Phone: 855-226-6366
Website: www.mhoadventures.com/

Dumoine River Shuttle

Dumoine River Expeditions

Experienced local outfitter offering canoe rental and shuttle packages, pre- and post-trip camping and planning assistance. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 613-586-2562 | 613-717-0115
Website: www.dumoine-exp.ca/

Esprit Whitewater

Esprit is ideally situated on the Ottawa River between the confluences of the Rivière Noire and the Rivière Coulonge and is ready to help with any rental or logistical needs for your journey. They rent whitewater-outfitted canoes and canoe tripping, camping and safety equipment; assist with detailed trip planning; and provide shuttle service for all major rivers in this region of Quebec, including the Dumoine.

Phone: 800-596-7238
Website: www.whitewater.ca/

Expéditions Rivière Noire

Another experienced local outfitter in Quebec’s Pontiac region offering canoe rentals, shuttles, trip planning assistance and complete camping equipment packages. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 613-639-2276
Website: www.expeditionsrivierenoire.com/en/

Dumoine Valley Guides

Shuttle service, vehicle parking and cabin accommodation for Dumoine River paddlers.

Phone: 613-586-2300
Website: www.dumoinevalley.ca/

Black River Inn and Outfitter

Local inn and outfitter offering canoe rental, canoe camping equipment rental, shuttle service and on-site camping and cabin accommodations. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 819-576-1059
Website: www.blackriveroutfitter.com/

Photo courtesy of: Voyageur Tripper // Mikaela Ferguson

 


 

Coulonge River

Compared to its sister rivers—the Dumoine and the Noire—the Coulonge River has the most diverse geography, making for a fascinating and ever-changing landscape. From Canadian Shield bedrock to sandy esker meanders, it offers a great combination of lake and river paddling along with an abundance of picturesque sand beach campsites perfect for swimming. Coulonge River whitewater boasts rock-studded runnable rapids, ledge-type descents and deep channel runs with numerous scenic chutes and falls.

Coulonge River Canoe Trip

From its headwaters high in the Laurentian Highlands of La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve, the Coulonge drops a total of 700 feet over nearly 250 km. The upper river passes through a number of large lakes before narrowing down after Lac Pomponne. Beginning at Lac Pomponne, the river runs some 180 km through wild crown land on its descent to the Ottawa River at Fort-Coulonge. Miles of swifts and a few magnificent waterfalls punctuate sections of calm water, with the majority of the river’s runnable class I-III rapids concentrated in the 40 km immediately south of Lac Pomponne. There are up to 19 portages on the river—most of them are relatively short carries around waterfalls.

Self-guided paddlers should have intermediate whitewater skills to safely canoe the Coulonge, while strong flatwater skills are adequate for a guided trip. Plan 8 to 10 days to run the river from Lac Pomponne down to Chutes Coulonge or Fort-Coulonge. Starting at the headwaters at Lac Ward will add 3 days to your trip, while running a shorter section is also possible with put-ins at Lac Bryson (140 km, 6-7 days), Lac Wright (125 km, 5-6 days) and Lac Jim (100 km, 4-5 days).

Camping on the Coulonge is straightforward—there are plenty of sites to choose from and paddlers from Canada don’t require permits for camping on crown land. Most self-guided paddlers use a local shuttle service (scroll down for more info) to drop them at their put-in of choice.

Coulonge River Map

You can find a compilation of Coulonge River topographical maps online for free at Carte Plein Air. This PDF also includes helpful river beta and resources (in French). Print and laminate the map sheets and bring them with you on the river.

Another terrific resource for paddlers planning a Coulonge River trip is Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley by Hap Wilson (Boston Mills Press, revised ed. 2004), a superb guidebook with hand-drawn maps, descriptions of rapids, points of interest and historical background.

Coulonge River Water Levels

The Coulonge River is an enjoyable and interesting paddle in both high and low water levels, with a tripping season that extends from May to October.

Coulonge River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Black Feather

Black Feather leads a 9-day Coulonge River canoe trip in August, when the water is warm and the swimming fine. This trip paddles the river south from Lac Pomponne and is suitable for beginner to advanced paddlers.

Phone: 888-849-7668
Website: www.blackfeather.com/

Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions

Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions guides an 8-day Coulonge River trip in late August/early September.

Phone: 705-652-3199
Website: www.wanapiteicanoe.com/

Esprit Whitewater

Founded in 1992 by whitewater leader and eco-advocate Jim Coffey, Esprit has been ranked by National Geographic as one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth. For paddlers short on time but keen on whitewater adventure, they offer a 2-day Coulonge River canoe trip exploring the section of river between Rapids Enrage and Chutes Coulonge. Fun class I-II rapids make this a great trip for gaining confidence in easy whitewater. Trip dates available from June to October.

Phone: 800-596-7238
Website: www.whitewater.ca/

Coulonge River Shuttle

Dumoine River Expeditions

Experienced local outfitter offering canoe rental and shuttle packages, pre- and post-trip camping and planning assistance. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 613-586-2562 | 613-717-0115
Website: www.dumoine-exp.ca/

Esprit Whitewater

Esprit is ideally situated on the Ottawa River between the confluences of the Rivière Noire and the Rivière Coulonge and is ready to help with any rental or logistical needs for your journey. They rent whitewater-outfitted canoes and canoe tripping, camping and safety equipment; assist with detailed trip planning; and provide shuttle service for all major rivers in this region of Quebec.

Phone: 800-596-7238
Website: www.whitewater.ca/

Expéditions Rivière Noire

Another experienced local outfitter in Quebec’s Pontiac region offering canoe rentals, shuttles, trip planning assistance and complete camping equipment packages. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 613-639-2276
Website: www.expeditionsrivierenoire.com/en/

Black River Inn and Outfitter

Local inn and outfitter offering canoe rental, canoe camping equipment rental, shuttle service and on-site camping and cabin accommodations. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 819-576-1059
Website: www.blackriveroutfitter.com/

 


 

Noire River

Rounding out western Quebec’s canoe tripping “Triple Play”, the less travelled Noire River distinguishes itself from its big sisters, the Dumoine and the Coulonge, with a handful of enticing superlatives. Of the three, the Noire offers the longest distance of runnable whitewater, the shortest distance to be portaged, the best chance of seeing wildlife, and the least likelihood of encountering other paddlers. Throw in huge sandy beach campsites at nearly every river bend, the clarity of the water and the easiness of its portages—and the Noire is one of the finest wilderness rivers in Quebec for adventurous novices and families. Plus, an abundance of access points make it easy to plan trips of varying lengths.

Noire River Canoe Trip

From its source in the small lakes and high creeks of the Laurentian Highlands—the worn remains of the world’s oldest mountains—the Noire meanders slowly through almost 100 km of lazy current and shallow swifts. From here, the river wanders another 100 km past sandy banks, races through 25 different class I-III rapids and flows over several falls and ledges. A number of short portages skirt the harder rapids, unnavigable ledges and outright waterfalls.

Most canoe trippers plan a Noire River canoe route of 5 to 7 days to enjoy the river’s best campsites, scenery and whitewater paddling, but shorter trips and day trips are also possible. Suggested put-in points include Lac St Patrice/Forant Bridge (110 km, 7 days) and Lac Raymond (75 km, 5 days). The Noire River flows through ZEC St Patrice, so you’ll need to pay a small daily user fee to access and camp along the river. Permits are available for purchase at the ZEC gate on the access road.

Noire River Map

You can find a compilation of Noire River topographical maps online for free at Carte Plein Air. Download the map set for the upper river, and the map set for the lower river. This PDF also includes helpful river beta and resources (in French). Print and laminate the Noire River canoe route map sheets and bring them with you on the river.

Another terrific resource for paddlers planning a Noire River trip is Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley by Hap Wilson (Boston Mills Press, revised ed. 2004), a superb guidebook with hand-drawn maps, descriptions of rapids, points of interest and historical background.

Noire River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Black Feather

Black Feather leads Noire River canoe trips in July and August, with 3 options to suit paddlers with some previous canoeing experience. Basic whitewater skills are advisable, but adventurous novices can do these trips. Choose from a 5-day getaway, 6-day Noire River for families, or the classic 7-day Noire River expedition.

Phone: 888-849-7668
Website: www.blackfeather.com/

MHO Adventures

Available in July, MHO’s 5-day Noire River Family Adventure canoe trip is rated intermediate and includes all meals and group equipment, professional guides, camping permits, shuttle and accommodations on your first and last nights—plus an awesome half-day of whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River to wrap up your vacation!

Phone: 855-226-6366
Website: www.mhoadventures.com/

Esprit Whitewater

Esprit is ideally situated on the Ottawa River between the confluences of the Rivière Noire and the Rivière Coulonge and is ready to help with any rental or logistical needs for your journey. They rent whitewater-outfitted canoes and canoe tripping, camping and safety equipment; assist with detailed trip planning; and provide shuttle service for all major rivers in this region of Quebec.

Phone: 800-596-7238
Website: www.whitewater.ca/

Black River Inn and Outfitter

Perched on the banks of the Noire River in a beautiful riverside location, this inn and outfitter offers canoe rental, canoe camping equipment rental, shuttle service and on-site camping and cabin accommodations. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 819-576-1059
Website: www.blackriveroutfitter.com/

Expéditions Rivière Noire

Another experienced local outfitter with a basecamp right on the Noire River, they offer canoe rentals, shuttles, trip planning assistance and complete camping equipment packages. Services available for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 613-639-2276
Website: www.expeditionsrivierenoire.com/en/

Dumoine River Expeditions

Offer canoe rental and shuttle packages, pre- and post-trip camping and trip planning assistance for the Dumoine, Coulonge and Noire Rivers.

Phone: 613-586-2562 / 613-717-0115
Website: www.dumoine-exp.ca/

 


 

Rivière du Diable

Flowing north to south through much of the western portion of spectacular Mont Tremblant National Park, the Diable River is the park’s most popular route for kayaking and canoeing. It’s easy to see why—the river offers a scenic course of calm meanders, peaceful lakes and fun class I-II rapids framed by the forested summits and sheer rock faces of the Laurentian Mountains. Loads of beautiful campsites invite a relaxed descent spread over 2 or 3 days.

Canoeing the Rivière du Diable

Canot camping Riviere du Diable trips begin at Lac-aux-Herbes in Mont Tremblant National Park. This upper section of the Diable River offers 26 km of rapids, river and lake kayaking with more than 80 campsites scattered along its course. Experienced paddlers can run all 14 rapids at most water levels, or take the short portages to bypass the whitewater.

Those wishing to extend their Diable River trip beyond the upper section take-out at Lac Laplante can shuttle around a 7-km section of unrunnable rapids and falls and put-in below Chutes Croches. From here, the route continues an additional 21 km through Lac Monroe, Lac Chat and a selection of class I-III rapids, with an option to camp a final night before reaching the take-out at Mont Tremblant Park’s Diable Sector entrance.

Mont Tremblant National Park’s Lac Monroe Visitors Centre offers canoe rentals, camping permits and a shuttle service for downriver trips.

Rivière du Diable Kayaking

While some kayakers do undertake overnight trips on the Diable River, day trips are also very popular. Within Mont Tremblant National Park, the 12-km run below Lac Chat to Mont de la Vache Noir is a rewarding half-day trip with only a few easy rapids. This route can be done self-guided or as a guided experience, with kayak rentals and shuttle service available at the park.

Beyond the national park, the Rivière du Diable flows more placidly through a rural landscape near Mont-Tremblant village, offering easy kayak journeys for beginners and families. This gentle section is bordered by inviting sandy beaches and offers 12- or 23-km route options (3-7 hours).

Rivière du Diable Camping

Within Mont Tremblant National Park, more than 80 canoe campsites are distributed all along the Diable River, allowing you to set the pace of your trip as leisurely as you like. Outside the park, Camping de la Diable serves as a comfortable and convenient basecamp for Diable River day trips. The campground is tucked in a peaceful meander just steps to the amenities of Mont-Tremblant village, and offers 360 riverside sites for tents, trailers and RVs, as well as rentals of canoes and kayaks.

Rivière du Diable Outfitters and Guided Trips

Parc National du Mont-Tremblant

Rent single or tandem touring kayaks, canoes and SUPs at rental center locations within Mont Tremblant National Park. The park also offers a 4-hour, self-guided Diable River package that includes kayak rental and shuttle between Lac Chat and Mont de la Vache Noir (12 km).

Phone: 800-665-6527
Website: www.sepaq.com/pq/mot/

À L’Abordage!

This popular Mont Tremblant outfitter offers kayak, canoe and SUP rentals as well as a shuttle service for self-guided adventures on the Rivière du Diable. This gentle, 12-km section of the river boasts beautiful sand beaches and begins with a stretch of fun and splashy class I rapids suitable for beginner kayakers. Available June to September, reservations strongly recommended.

Phone: 819-322-1234
Website: www.alabordage.ca/en/

Mont-Tremblant Activity Centre

Located steps from Lac Tremblant in the Mont-Tremblant Resort village, the Activity Centre offers a huge range of outdoor adventure packages, including kayak rentals and shuttles for self-guided and guided explorations of the Diable River.

Phone: 819-681-4848
Website: www.tremblantactivities.com/

 


 

Magpie River

The Magpie River in the Côte-Nord region of eastern Quebec is ranked among the world’s top 10 multi-day rafting rivers by National Geographic. Despite the heavy presence of hydroelectric dams in the region, the Magpie is one of the few mighty rivers in this part of Quebec to be left virtually untouched—only a single dam interrupts its nearly 300-km length. It’s also the first river in Canada to be granted legal personhood, a landmark status awarded in early 2021 that aims to protect the Magpie from any future development. The sense of remoteness and pristine mountainous landscape make for a humbling and spectacular wilderness experience as you descend world-class whitewater from the austere heights of the Labrador Plateau through boreal forest to the salty seawater of the Gulf of St Lawrence.

Magpie River Rafting

Spilling out of a remote corner of the Labrador Plateau, the Magpie River is way off the beaten track, necessitating fly-in access to the whitewater rafting trip’s departure point. The added expense and logistics of a helicopter or floatplane shuttle to the put-in means only a handful of parties run the river each year. The season runs from July to September and most trips start at Lac Magpie and descend the river’s spectacular class III-IV rapids over the course of 8-10 days. Highlights include jaw-dropping wilderness campsites beside stunning rapids and falls, feasting on fresh-caught trout and—if you’re really lucky—watching the Northern Lights dancing above your campfire. Guided trips will also include a helicopter-assisted portage of rafting gear around thundering Magpie Falls and its breathtaking gorge.

Rafting Magpie River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Black Feather

Join legendary guiding outfit Black Feather, in partnership with whitewater experts Boreal River Adventures, for this 9-day, once-in-a-lifetime Magpie River cultural rafting expedition. Aside from the world-class whitewater and scenery, guests enjoy incredible speckled trout fishing, gorgeous hikes enhanced by the trip’s ecologist, and fascinating Indigenous cultural experiences with an Innu interpretive guide. Previous paddling and camping experience are not required, but those with prior experience will be able to challenge themselves using the solo-paddling equipment available—choose between SUP boards or kayarafts, stable one-person inflatable kayaks. Trip dates available in August.

Phone: 888-849-7668
Website: www.blackfeather.com/

Boreal River Adventures

In addition to Magpie River rafting trips and custom Magpie canoe & kayak trips, Boreal River Adventures offers a totally unique, 8-day Magpie Packraft Expedition. This challenging trip combines backpacking your ultralight, solo packraft across the remote upper reaches of the Magpie watershed, with an unforgettable whitewater descent all the way from source to sea. If you are a physically fit adventurer and want to push yourself, this trip is a rewarding combination of paddling an incredible river and exploring majestic terrain where few other people have been.

Phone: 866-242-9383
Website: adventures.borealriver.com

 

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Gatineau River

Best known for high-adrenaline whitewater rafting, the Gatineau River also hosts the rollicking Festival d’Eau Vive de la Haute-Gatineu (Upper Gatineau Whitewater Festival) every August. What makes the Gatineau so unique is the volume and intensity of the rapids concentrated in just an 8-km section south of Maniwaki. Here, you will encounter eight major rapids rated class III-IV or higher, including four rapids rated class V—all of them runnable on a guided rafting day trip.

Gatineau River Kayaking

Expert whitewater kayakers can descend the day run between Maniwaki and Bonnet Rouge Rafting’s riverside basecamp. Most of the rapids through here are class IV and IV-V, but there is usually an easier line, generally class III, that makes this section also accessible to well-supervised intermediate paddlers. Additionally, there’s an option for park-and-play beneath the covered bridge at Grand Remous—this is the infamous Guelle du Lion rapid, best left to advanced paddlers. Less experienced kayakers can enjoy a short section of mellow class I-II rapids south of Bonnet Rouge.

Enthusiasts of any skill level should mark the Upper Gatineau Whitewater Festival on their calendars. Held in late August when the water is warm, this 3-day Quebec whitewater festival dedicated to the preservation of rivers is celebrating its 24th anniversary in 2021. The all-ages, family-friendly event brings together hundreds of kayakers, open boaters, rafters and first-timers to partake in an awesome long weekend of exciting paddling, camping, fun and festivities.

Gatineau River Rafting

The Upper Gatineau River rapids draw whitewater enthusiasts from across Ontario, Quebec, the northeastern United States and as far away as Europe. Experienced outfitters and guides (scroll down for listings) make it possible for anyone from beginners to experts to enjoy a half-day of rafting Gatineau River whitewater.

Gatineau River Map

Download a map of the Gatineau River whitewater day run from the Upper Gatineau Whitewater Festival website.

Gatineau River Level

Water levels on the Gatineau are reliable throughout the season, with suitable flow for rafting and kayaking from late May through October. The Center d’Expertise Hydrique du Québec (CEHQ) operates a flow measurement station on the Gatineau River where you can check current and historical water level information.

Gatineau River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Boreal River Adventures

Get your friends and family together for a unique, custom expedition rafting experience on the Upper Gatineau River. Available for groups of 12-25, Boreal River Adventures will work with you to create an unforgettable 3- to 5-day whitewater rafting trip complete with beautiful wild camping on the river. On this leadership and educational expedition you can expect to learn whitewater navigation and safety and develop wilderness camping skills while experiencing the magic of a river journey.

Phone: 866-242-9383
Website: https://adventures.borealriver.com

Bonnet Rouge Rafting

Located right at the take-out for the Upper Gatineau whitewater day run, Bonnet Rouge Rafting offers guided half-day high adventure rafting, gentle family rafting and camping packages at their beautiful riverside basecamp. They also offer everything you need for a self-guided descent of the river, including shuttle service, launching and take-out access and whitewater kayak, canoe and paddling equipment rental.

Phone: 819-449-3360
Website: https://www.bonnetrougerafting.com/en/

 


 

Mistassibi River

The Mistassibi River is a powerful northern Quebec classic offering wild and beautiful Canadian Shield and boreal forest scenery and paddling. Flowing into Lac Saint-Jean in central Quebec’s Saguenay region, the river is actually composed of two distinct branches—the Riviere Mistassibi Nord-Est (Northeast) and the Riviere Mistassibi Nord-Ouest (Northwest)—each spilling more than 100 km from their highland headwaters before converging for the final 100-km descent to the lake. Both trips begin amid stunted black spruce forest and boast steep-walled valleys, swift mile-eating current, scores of runnable rapids and lovely campsites.

Mistassibi River Canoe Trip

Superb wilderness canoe trips with straightforward access are possible on both branches of the Mistassibi River. Expect to encounter few other paddlers, and be sure to bring your fishing rod on either trip. Water levels on the Mistassibi Northeast are more variable than those on the Northwest branch, which enjoys reliable flows throughout the summer.

Choose the Mistassibi Northwest for a more varied trip that begins with 40 km of scenic paddling on a calm and meandering river bordered by sandy beaches, followed by a long, narrow and spectacularly cliff-lined lake that leads into the final 60 km where most of the whitewater is concentrated. You’ll run nearly 80 rapids in this second half of the trip, most of them fun class I-II with only two short portages. Beautiful waterfalls all along the route cascade into the river valley from the hills above. The Mistassibi Northwest is suitable for novice–intermediate canoe trippers; self-guided paddlers should have some previous whitewater experience.

More experienced whitewater canoe trippers enjoy the many runnable class III rapids of the exciting Mistassibi Northeast, including two days of nearly continuous class II-III whitewater. Toss in loads of easy class I-II boogie water and only one 30-meter portage on the entire 110-km route, and this is a popular river trip for paddlers of intermediate to advanced skill.

 

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Mistassibi River Map

You can find a compilation of Mistassibi River topographical maps online for free at Carte Plein Air. Download the map set for the Mistassibi Northwest, and the map set for the Mistassibi Northeast. These PDFs also includes helpful river beta and resources (in French). Print and laminate the map sheets and bring them with you on the river.

Mistassibi River Outfitters and Guided Trips

Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions

Join Wanapitei Canoe Expeditions for an 8-day guided trip down the Mistassibi Northwest in late July. The relaxed pace of this trip and the fun, easy rapids make it suitable for canoe trippers who are new to whitewater.

Phone: 705-652-3199
Website: www.wanapiteicanoe.com/

Joining the mighty Mistassini River at the regional hub of Dolbeau-Mistassini, the Mistassibi River rivals its sister to the west for huge rapids and rugged landscapes. High volume, continuous class IV & V rapids are best left to expert kayakers—or join H2O Expédition for an intense half-day whitewater rafting descent of the Mistassibi’s roller coaster rapids.

H2O Expédition

Want a one-day taste of the Mistassibi’s whitewater excitement? Based on the south shore of Lac Saint-Jean, H2O Expédition offers a variety of guided whitewater experiences on some of the most thrilling rivers in Quebec, including white-knuckle rafting on the lower Mistassibi River. Here, the combined flow of the Mistassibi and its mighty sister to the west—the Mistassini—makes for high-volume, continuous class IV and V rapids and an insane half-day of rollercoaster rafting.

Phone: 866-697-7238
Website: www.aventure-expedition.com/activities.html


Set out for adventure on one of the many wild and wonderous rivers in Quebec. | Photo courtesy of: Charlevoix © Tourisme Québec // Pierre Carbonneau

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