The rivers of Québec

Winter is over, time to paddle!

Fresh water covers 12 % of Québec’s territory, and the number of lakes and rivers navigable by canoe are countless, making Québec a favourite with paddle aficionados. When the ice on the rivers melts, those rivers swell for the greatest pleasure of thrill-seekers. Spring marks the beginning of water-based activities such as kayaking, rafting or canoeing.

Our selection of 10 rivers to tame as soon as spring thaw is over

Rivière Jacques-Cartier

A must for all white-water lovers not only for its fast-moving flows, but for its historical, geographical and recreational values. The rating of the various sections of the river vary from 2 to 5. The choice is yours.

Rivière Gatineau

Partly wild, partly urban, the Gatineau attracts a wide range of paddlers: experts looking for an adrenalin-filled adventure (level 4), or families who prefer canoe and camping on the sandy shores (level 1). Be careful to choose a section to match your level of fitness and experience.

Rivière Rouge

Close to Montreal, the Rouge attracts numerous water-sports lovers. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, this river will provide exciting thrills and challenges.

Lachine Rapids

The most accessible of all! Just a few minutes from downtown Montreal, these rapids are impassable by ships on the St. Lawrence River, but represent a real adrenalin boost for urban kayakers craving for action and thrills.

Rivière Mistassibi

Especially exciting in the spring when the water is high, the Mistassibi alternates between flat sections and level 3 to 5 rapids, which require a certain level of experience. On a kayak or a raft, adventure awaits!

Rivière Ashuapmushuan

White-water lovers can’t wait to challenge this first class river in the spring. Expert paddlers are thrilled to tackle its chutes and class 4 rapids that can reach several hundred metres long. Are you ready?

Rivière des Outaouais

This high speed river marks the border with Ontario and is known internationally for rafting and white-water kayaking. Rated from 1 to 5, depending on the section or the season, it is very popular and famous for its water activities.

Rivière Bonaventure

In the spring this river is rated 4, for the pleasure of the adventure-seekers who can’t wait to paddle down its clear waters through an untamed nature. Beginner or expert, the beauties of the Gaspé nature and its boreal forests will leave you in awe. The well-named Bonaventure is a perfect match between nature and adventure.

Rivière Matawin

The Matawin is divided into seven different sections rated 2 to 4. From a quiet and slow run to a turbulent and adrenalin pumping excursion, the spring conditions are sure to please the intermediate paddlers who can choose between a raft and a kayak. Do not hesitate to extend the pleasure by setting up a tent on the shores of the river.

Rivière L’Assomption

Less than two hours from Montreal a vast choice of boats is available for the first launch in the spring: canoes, rafts, white-water kayaks. You can go down the river on your own or with a guide, or take a lesson. Safety is an essential component of an exciting and unforgettable experience.

Be aware:

In the spring, the flow rate increases, which means that a class 3 run will be rated 4 or 5. Make sure to check before you leave.

Spring means thawing. The water will be cold, even on the icy side. You will need an appropriate suit.

If you do not know the river, make sure to go out with a guide or someone who is aware of the dangers of the river. You may also want to check the website of the Fédération québécoise du canot et du kayak.

Spring is in the air, the rivers will soon be flooded to the delight of the thrill seekers. The season of water-sports starts at the end of April and lasts till mid-October. No doubt Québec and its 4,500 rivers will give a buzz to outdoors and adventure lovers. Get ready to paddle and enjoy!

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