Put In Put In
Portage Portage
Take Out Take Out

Kipawa river **

View Kipawa river in a larger map.
  • Grade: 3+(5)P
  • Level: Needs about 25 cumecs for a good run down. The higher it is, the harder it gets!
  • Gauge: Online
  • Length: 15.5 km
  • Time: 3-5 hours
  • Put In: Below the Laniel Dam
  • Take Out: Confluence with the Ottawa
  • Shuttle: 19 km
  • Character: Classic intermediate run
  • References: Kipawa Rally, American Whitewater, Wayback Machine, Quebec Whitewater

The Kipawa is one of the Canadian classics, only marred by how far North it is, and its status as a threatened river. The annual Kipawa Rally is a good time to go and share the good times on the river, and offers a water release most years. There is something for everyone here, from relatively sedate river runners, to the new school playboaters, and the waterfall hucksters. The take out is along a dirt road that might not be passable in early season.

Get on river left below the dam. This used to be runnable, but alas no more. Never fear though, there is plenty of fun to be had downstream, with all of the rapids having something to entertain you. If it is your first time down, look out for a right hand bend where the river begins to steepen up, and make sure you get out on the right bank, as the Grande Chute is downstream!

Rafting the Grande Chute
Rafting the Grande Chute in low water
Image Credit; Graham Ball

For almost all water levels this is a definite portage, and even in low water it is a formidable piece of water. Have a look from the viewing platform and decide for yourself. Get on at the base, and paddle down another rapid to the top of Hollywood, the last rapid. This has the Pete's Dragon drop part way down, again, only really runnable in low water. Portage on the right once more, and hold on to your hat for the fun bouncy ride down to the take out. There is a fairly large stopper somewhere down on the right to avoid. Once you hit the lake at the bottom, get out on the right bank. This is private property, so be respectful please.

Rafting Petes Dragon
Petes Dragon in low water

To get to the take out; From Temiscaming, drive North on QC-101 for 50 km to Laniel. The road goes over the dam, and there is a path down on river left.

To get to the put in; Continue North for 10 km, and turn left onto Chemin Grande Chute. After 7 km, turn right onto a private road. This goes to the private residence at the take out. The gate may be locked, so be prepared to park on the side of the road and walk the rest. Continuing on Chemin Grande Chute goes to a parking lot and short walking trail to the Grande Chute viewpoint.