Kedgwick/Restigouche

CanadaNew BrunswickGulf
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Admin
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Unknown
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
80 km
Duration: 
3 days
Loop Trip: 
No
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
0
Total Portage Distance: 
0 m
Longest Portage: 
0 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Novice
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Portaging: 
Not applicable
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Roads are paved all the way to the confluence of the Kedgwick/Restigouchevia route 265 which heads NW from the town of Kedgwick, located just north of St Quentin. I should mention that it is possible to put in to the Restigouche at the campsite at the end of 265 and just paddle the Restigouche (3 days) The rest of the road into Kedgwick Forks is dirt logging road, although on all of my trips on the river it was in excellent shape, suitable even for a car. Put-in is easiest at the NBNS depot at Kedgwick Forks. Finding the turnoff to the depot (drivers right and signed as Kedgwick Forks) can be tricky as the last time I was there the hillside had been raped of its lumber, changing the landscape completely. Although we have camped at the depot a number of times, on our last trip, the NBNR men were a bit on the grumpy side about our staying there If you can't find Kedgwick Forks, you can continue up the road 5-10 K? to where the road crosses the west branch of the Kedgwick. It is a steep descent from the road to the river, and you may bang a few rocks until you reach Kedgwick Forks, but at least it will get you onto the river. Which brings me to my second point. If you only want to canoe the Kedgwick, you can put in at either of these points and take out at the campsite at the end of highway 265, only several hundred meters up from the Kedgwick/Restigoucheforks Finally, just a word of warning. If you are coming via the St John River valley by way of St Leonard, make sure you have ample gas in the tank to make it up to St Quentin...we learned about that one the hard way. Plan on 5+ hours to ferry vehicles if you plan on doing the entire trip to just above Tidehead...and be ware of the logging trucks...they fly on these back roads.

Technical Guide: 

Route begins at NB Natural Resources depot at the forks of the East and West branch of the Kedgwick (Kedgwick Forks), and ends just above Tide Head some 10-15 K above Cambelton

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Day 1

The trip begins at the confluence of the east and west branches of the Kedgwick. The trip down to the Restigouche takes approx 2 days. Although there are a number of rips, there is only one set of rapids of note, a 1/2K-long CII-CII+ rock-garden at the end of day 1/beginning of day 2. Campsites can found on a huge rock/sandbar that the river sweeps around (just above the rock garden) although this disappears in high water. The bar is impossible to miss and has an excellent "harbour below it to paddle into. An alternate site is just below the CII rapids with sites on either the left (at the confluence of an inflowing brook) or upriver on the right, just across from the sandbanks. Be forewarned, however, that you may be rudely awakened by logging trucks rumbling through during the night; logging roads are never far from the Kedgwick.

The second day is should prove uneventful with a good current pushing you along and only moderate rips. About an hour above the Kedgwick/Restigouche junction, stop at Falls Brook on river right and take 2 minutes to walk up to the falls. If water levels are high enough, you can actually run the brook from the falls down to the river. This is also an excellent spot to bed down as it is an official campsite maintained by NBNR and has a gazebo and privy. An alternative (although not nearly as nice) campsite can be found just downstream on a plateau river left, immediately past the logging bridge.

Day 3
The beginning of day 3 should find you into the Restigouche, which is much larger and has much more traffic than the Kedgwick. Once again, there are numerous rips, some with huge standing waves resulting in their classification as CII and even CIIIs. However, the river is so large by this point that it is very easy to skirt around them by hugging the shoreline. For campsites, there is one river right tucked underneath the pine trees up on a bench. Perhaps I shouldn't use the word "tucked as the site could easily fit 100 people or more. The site had several gazebos and privys to boot and even has a couple of benches down by the shore. As an alternative, continue on for another half-hour and camp on the island (river right and only in high water) with a grassy knoll on its downstream end. There is a pipe feeding spring-fed water, although it will cost you a ferry across the river to get it.

Day 4

Very similar to day 3. You will pass the confluence with the Patapedia (Quebec is now on the north shore of the river) early in the morning. Sometime after lunch, you will come to a narrowing in the river with large standing waves resulting for 100m or so. If you are r in for some playboating/surfing,this is a great spot for a break, or if you want a relaxing evening, there is a campsite river-right. It is also a great spot to watch the river guides show their prowess as they roar up through the rapids in their 26 ft wood-canvas canoes.
If an early stop is not in the cards, continue downriver.
Within a half-an-hour, you will notice the banks rise precipitously, particularly on the left-hand shore and with a watchful eye, you can pick out a look-out platform looking up the river. Although I'm not sure of any path that leads up to the lookout, on one trip, we did bushwack our way up to the lookout, to be greeted with a beautiful vistas and a huge grassy park to boot. The easiest way back down to the river is by sliding your way 400-500 feet back down the banks to the rivers edge.

After 1/2 hour or so of paddling, you will discover another campsite tucked up in the trees on river right. A small brook disects this little campsite in two, giving it a quaint feel.

Day 5

By this time the river is very big. Although it looses some of its character, it still has a strong current. For those looking for one last set of rapids, around lunch time keep you eyes peeled for an island dividing the river in two. Although the main current is to the south of the island, there is an excellent set of CII+ with a ledge to boot to play in on the north side. The flat rocks sloping out of the water provide an excellent venue for those watching you strut your stuff

The best-take out is river-right just above TideHead, about 1-2K below the confluence with the Upsalquitch which flows in from the south. Below this, the river quickly looses its current before you have to deal with incoming tides.

There is little church about 100 yards up the road from the take out that has been kind enough to allow us to park our vehicles there several times.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
See Canoe NB map for the Kedgwick/Restigouche. This is all that you need. And if you don't find one, don't worry as the majority of people probably don't have one either
Other
Special Comments: 

This is an excellent trip for novice canoeists looking for a week-long trip or for more advanced canoeists looking for a relaxing trip.

Both the Kedgwick and Restigouche have substantial volume that allow canoeing on all but the driest of summers.

Although there are a number of rapids on the Restigouche, the river is large enough to allow you to skirt them with ease. As a general rule, none of these rapids have rocks that need to be avoided, but are rather just large standing waves. On a precautionary note, however, I have canoed the river in high water and have seen several moderate rapids turned into man-eating monsters

The Kedgwick is much smaller than the Restigouche. Although it is dotted with numerous swifts, there is only one CII rock garden that will excite the intermediate canoeist