The Lower Madawaska River, a destination river for instruction and whitewater play, offers an amazing series of grade 2-4 rapids, in a pristine Ontario wilderness setting. Paddlers enjoy the river for day runs, camping trips, whitewater instruction and training.

The Lower Madawaska River Provincial Park is a nature/history lover's paradise - 42 kms of river paddling beginning in Palmer Rapids, with sections of whitewater all the way to Griffith, Ontario. The park is classified as non-operational, 'leave no-trace' access with first-come-first served campsites. The Madawaska and Opeongo River Whitewater Guide by George Drought (click to follow link to the Friends of Alogonquin Park bookstore) is the current go-to guide, describing each rapid, portage and designated camping area.

Because the Madawaska River is dam controlled, the Lower Madawaska River has a steady flow of water throughout the season, with seasonally high waters in Spring, slowly tapering down to August lows, and generally coming back up with Autumn rains. The Palmer Rapids dam, above the Play park, can release/dam water at any time!!! There is a real-time water table to check the water levels. We use the discharge(cms cubic metre per second). If you use this link, you will have to update the date each time you check levels to get updated info. You can see when the river spikes and dips dramatically that that is when they are making changes at the dam. It's good to know that you will just never know, the river can change quickly, and that it will never be the same twice!

 

 

DAY RUNS

Scouting Rifle Chute on the Madawaska RiverThe famous Snake Rapids Day Run PUT-IN: Aumond's Bay. TAKE-OUT: Buck Bay, the concentrated rapid paddle beginning at the head of the snake, 'Hass Hole' (Island Rapids) and ending below Raquette Rapids (the snakes rattle) at Buck Bay. 

link to wiki page on the Lower Madawaska River giving a little more info on Palmer Rapids and the this section of the Lower Madawaska Park.

Lower Lower Madawaska Day Run - PUT-IN: Below SLATE FALLS. TAKE-OUT: Griffith, ON. 12 kms including checking out the bottom of Slate Falls, Crooked and Wadsworth Rapids(Grade 1/2), and a portage around Highland Falls. Slate Falls is an awesome spectacle of geology and power. 

CAMPING TRIPS

Put-in: Aumond's Bay, Aumond's Rapids or Palmer Rapids. Take-out: Buck Bay, Slate Falls or Griffith.

From Palmer Rapids to Aumond's Bay, there is only private camping available; the properties along the river are privately owned, please respect private property. There are two places to camp in Palmer Rapids: Jessup's Campground, on river right, on the rapids, across the river from the Palmer Rapids Day Park(no camping). The 2016 rates were $20/tent(double occupency). (We can email you a map and details for Jessups) and Paddler Co-op Camping(613) 758 2772, just down stream of Palmer Rapids, on flatwater of the Madawaska.

From Palmer Rapids there is a 13.5 km flatwater paddle to the Aumond's Rapids, followed by 3km  to Aumond's Bay, where the Lower Madawaska Park officially begins.

The campsites are leave-no-trace and first-come-first-serve, served with open-air thunderboxes and designated firepits. Please take that extra minute to ensure your fire is completely extinguished and that you leave the sites with only footprints. There are campsites scattered along the river from Aumond's Bay until Crooked Rapids.

It is approximately 4 km from Aumond's Bay to the top of 'Snake Rapids', described above as 'Snake Rapids Day Run'.

Typically, trippers need two full paddling days to paddle from Aumond's Bay to Griffith. Many of our groups add an extra day/night, to relax, swim, fish, cook, reconnect, play in the whitewater, star gaze, etc.

Unfortunately, without whitewater skills, these river trip would be a cumbersome and dangerous adventure. We encourage people to be realistic with their skill levels, as to be safe(not endangering ones selves or other paddle groups), and of course, to actually enjoy the canoe trip, (... and not damage our well-loved canoes). There a several flatwater sections of the Madawaska River, for lake-skill canoers to access and even experience the wonder of the moving water, safely from shore.

Waterwater canoeing is an amazing skill that can take you confidently to new & wonderful places in the world, and in yourself. If you are interested in exploring moving water on the Madawaska River, we highly recommend MKC (Madawaska Kanu Centre) on the Middle Madawaska or Paddle Co-op, in Palmer Rapids for whitewater training & courses.