Ottawa river advice

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Ottawa river advice

Post by EZ »

Going on holiday to Ontario, Canada at the beginning of August and looking for some advice on paddling the Ottawa river. Spending the first part of the holiday in a cabin about 2/3 hours away from the Ottawa so was hoping to get a day or two of grade 3/4 paddling in, likely to be mid week rather than a weekend.

Does anyone have some recent advice on where to rent a boat/ guide from? Potentially will be paddling by myself with 3 or 4 friends rafting, so a good rafting company recommendation would be useful as well. (did a quick ukrgb history search and couldn't find anything that recent)

I've found some conflicting advice on what grade the Ottawa is with some online guides describing it as grade 3 and others 4/5, any ideas on what its likely to be at the beginning of August? Are there any other grade 4 runs in the area that are a must do?



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Frank B
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Re: Ottawa river advice

Post by Frank B »

Wilderness Tours are the big operators here but there are others such as Owl and River Run. Nearest big town is Pembroke, nearest village is Beachburg.Not paddled or rafted it myself but have watched Freestyle there. Its a huge river with a lot of dams and flat sections so local advice required

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Re: Ottawa river advice

Post by dermo99 »

Wilderness Tours certainly hire boats, do shuttles and generally you can join a group or get someone to show you the way down. Levels can vary a lot summer to summer, but there always seems to be something to do there regardless of levels - great spot - enjoy!

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Re: Ottawa river advice

Post by Simongelder »

I paddled there a long time ago whilst visiting a friend who was working at River Run. We were there early in the season when levels are high. The river is so huge that it is braided. As I remember it, you put on at the same place with the rafts but had two choices of route - effectively two different rivers. The main route has the Greyhound Bus Keeper and Coliseum rapids on. Can't remember the names of the rapids on the middle fork but this was a really good run too. When we were there the middle run was more playable. Technically both are grade 3 to 4. It is so different to European rivers in scale eg wave height and river width. The rafts do the runs as day trips, taking out for lunch. There were lots of other kayakers there and they seemed pretty friendly. We buddied up with others on the water and had a brilliant time there. It is worth doing a raft trip as they take routes where I wouldn't paddle eg through the middle of the bus keeper.

Whilst in the area our friend organised us to go to the Algonquin Wilderness Park. We took an open Canadian on a four day trip down the Pettawawa river which has lots of grade 2 to 3 rapids. We saw no one else for 4 days which was amazing. We saw more bears than people. Took a rod and caught dinner on night! No sure what the levels would be in August but worth researching maybe.

The guides at River Run seemed to do other rivers but I can't remember the names. I know they went across the state line to paddle in Quebec.

I think an idea may be to phone one of the kayak hire centres and have a chat with them about your trip.

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Re: Ottawa river advice

Post by Alec »

Have a look at the river guides on the shaggy designs website

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Re: Ottawa river advice

Post by Adrian Cooper »

With regard to grading the 3-4 tag is sensible. The rapids are quite a bit bigger than UK rivers and thus more intimidating but I think pretty safe. At the lower level you get in August the run-outs will be rather boily.

The normal get-in is above McCoys and it is after that that the river splits between the main run and the 'middle' The middle is more like British rivers, lower volume mostly grade 3 but with one drop which is particularly boney which a lot walk round.

I missed an opportunity to paddle the middle in open canoe which was really disappointing but I rafted the main run which was fun although being normally master of my own destiny it was quite odd being a passenger.

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Re: Ottawa river advice

Post by eeonz »

All going well, I should be guiding there this summer. Perhaps drop me a message closer to the time if you like? Your outdoor resource!

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