Dease River (Dease River Crossing to French Creek)

CanadaBritish ColumbiaNorth Inland
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Alistair Bryden
Trip Date : 
July 18, 2020
Additional Route Information
140 km
3 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
0 m
Longest Portage: 
0 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

I recently paddled the Dease River from Dease Crossing to French Creek. While preparing for the trip, I got some helpful information from other reports. I thought I’d return the favour as information was difficult to find or outdated.

The section that I paddled was from Dease Crossing to French Creek Rec site. Working from the distances in Laurel Archer’s book, this section is approximately 140 km. You can tack on the previous section from Dease Lake to Dease Crossing and the following section from French Creek down to Lower Post if you want to paddle the full river.

Shuttle observations: The camp and outfitting operation at Dease Crossing is closed, apparently permanently. Don’t be fooled by internet references to the Dease Crossing camp site  and the outfitter website, I spent some time trying to call and email with no response.  I was told by my local shuttle driver that it was bought by “Chinese“ interests some years ago and there is little or no activity. You can access the river on the south side of the bridge. I got a reference to a very nice shuttle driver from Arctic Divide Lodge in Dease Lake, her name is Maxine and her email is   She gave me permission to list her email and told me she would be willing to run shuttles in the future . You could try them though I understand that the business is changing hands. Another local camp site near Dease Lake is Waters Edge Camp site. There is a good Grocery store in Dease Lake at the gas station though expensive as it’s the North.



Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 
I paddled the river solo. I’m an experienced canoeist with many years of river experience in kayaks, canoes and rafts. Use this information as you see fit. It’s as accurate as I can make it but you are responsible  for your own decisions

I started the trip on July 18. There was a lot of rain in the area over the previous two weeks and my sense was that the river was at a relatively high summer level and would drop later in the season. However it was clear from some of the huge and plentiful log jams, that spring high water would be a completely different river.

I paddled the river in three days. I never find a day count very useful as different people have different schedules. On river hours are much more helpful. I paddled for a total of 20 river hours. Day 1, five hours after the shuttle, Day 2, eight hours and Day 3 seven hours. I estimate that it took me 6 river hours to get to Eagle River including the lakes, another 9 river hours to the Rapid River confluence and then 5 hours to the take out.  I could easily have stretched the trip out to four days but the time on the river was the most enjoyable bit, camps were buggy so I didn’t linger.Weather was overcast with some rain. Wind about 50 percent of the time. About 60 percent of the wind was downstream, upstream wind would have slowed me down significantly and you should allow for this in trip planning. I finished a day early.

I found the section of  river that I paddled to be very straightforward. There were no rapids of any consequence, only a couple of the rapids made class 2. There was lots of wood, logjams and sweepers galore but they were all easily avoided. There were some braided sections but if in any doubt, I simply picked the most obvious route and it always worked out. It’s possible that the river would be more technical at lower levels as rocks start to emerge.

Although the river wasn’t technically challenging, it was lots of fun, plenty of moving water, great scenery. I’d recommend it. Lots of wildlife, including a couple of Moose, Beavers, Bald Eagles and lots of other bird life. No Bears on the river though I saw dozens driving up and also Arctic Fox on the road. For anyone familiar with southern Rockies, this river reminded me of the Kootenay River in Kootenay National Park.


A word on Laurel Archer’s book, Firstly, it was very helpful and  accurate, a labour of love. Thank you Laurel. I noted that her write up tends to be very conservative and cautious. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. Her classification of the rapids is accurate but she tends to provide a detailed description of some rapids that other guidebooks would dismiss with a line or two or ignore. The book was written pre GPS and all of her guide notes refer to map references. I didn’t bother with paper maps, instead I used a Garmin map with the GPS on my cel phone which was very accurate. Laurel mentions many campsites. I couldn’t really figure out where most of them were apart from some really obvious ones but make a general note that there are some sections where there are very few sites and you just need to keep going till one appears. I grabbed one about 2 hours before Rapid River Confluence  and was glad I did because  the next Morning, I didn’t see another one for a while.
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