Missinaibi River - Mattice to Moosonee

CanadaOntarioJames Bay south
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Additional Route Information
297 km
13 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
6130 m
Longest Portage: 
2530 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Start at town of Mattice
P 180 m centre of island around Rock Island Rapids
P 580 m R around Black Feather Rapids
P 100 m R around Beam Rapids
P 400 m L around Kettle Falls
Rapids (CBR)
Rapids (CBR)
Rapids (CBR) after Alice Island
P 1645 m L around Thunderhouse Falls (extreme danger - stay left and don`t miss portage)
P 875 m R around Stone Rapids
P 2350 m R around Hell`s Gate Canyon
Long Rapids (CBR / line / wade)
Four Mile Rapids (CBR / Line / wade)
Past Moose River Crossing (intermediate route access by train)
North on Missinaibi River
Misc rapids / swifts / fast water (all runnable - some lining / wading)
Finish at town of Moosonee

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
42 G/11 Mattice 42 G/14 Shannon Lake 42 J/3 Thunder House Falls 42 J/2 Friday Creek 42 J/7 Soweska River 42 J/8 Wawa Lakes 42 J/9 McCuarg Creek 42 I/12 Pickett Creek 42 I/14 Moose River 42 P/3 Cheepash River 42 P/2 Bushy Island 42 P/7 Moosonee
Special Comments: 

For a key plan showing topo maps required for the entire Missinaibi River route, click here

Photo Gallery


Post date: Fri, 02/22/2008 - 22:34


I have done this river twice, onece with my father when i was 16 and again 4 years ago (i was 21) with a few of my friends. Certainly the best and most challenging river i have ever taken on. The second time i went in august and the water was very low. My friends and i did not take the portage around Hells Gate and it was insanely difficult to line our canoes through a "step stair case" of waterfalls. Not for novies but i would recomend this trip to anyone serious about white water canoeing.


Post date: Sat, 06/06/2009 - 12:28


Going for my second Lower Missinaibi trip this year (2009). I've done the Upper twice too. Good white water is all in the first 5 days on the Lower. After that its 160k of scenic yet flat Hudson Bay lowlands to Moosonee. Forget the sunny days in online photos. In our 3 trips so far, there has been some rain on 27 of 38 days paddling. But usually some sun on most of those too. I know Thunderhouse is tempting if you are planing your first Missinaibi trip, but I'd do the Upper first. Just as scenic, perhaps moreso, and the rapids are more numerous and better. But however you do it, this river IS every bit as special as people say it is!

Post date: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 17:57


Did this with Canada House in 1988. We were a large group, I seem to recall there were 7 or 8 canoes. We started in Mattice and went right out to the bay, to Ship Sands Island (I think that was its name). After a night on the most mosquitoist island in the world went back to the little island between Moosonee and Moose Factory where we stayed for a couple / few nights. I think the trip up the river took 18 days (including the night in the bay), and was the best adventure trip of my life. If I were to contemplate taking that trip again I would spend a season and a half getting in shape. It is not easy. Be very careful around Hell's Gate. If anyone has pictures I'd appreciate if you could put them online somewhere...



Post date: Sat, 01/01/2000 - 07:00


I have paddled this route in early June and it took us 8 days. The river was running at a good level and the insects were manageable. It was an enjoyable trip that would ne well suited for people looking to break into wilderness canoeing. Portages are few and far between and they are well maintained. Camping was acceptable but not spectacular. Great trip.