Mistassibi Northeast

CanadaQuebec06 Saguenay
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Trip Date : 
Route Author: 
Additional Route Information
127 km
6 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
50 m
Longest Portage: 
50 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Hydraplane trip costs about $350 per person for a group of 4. More expensive if fewer, cheaper if more.

Technical Guide: 
Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
22 L/13 Lac Machisque 22 L/12 Lac Piraube 22 L/5 Lac Maupertuis 22 L/4 Lac à la Pluie 22 E/13 Lac La Capellière 22 E/12 Lac du Sapin Croche
Other Maps: 
Leduc\'s map at www.cartespleinair.org Map from Federation Quebecoise du Canot et du Kayak (essentially the same info, but not free)
Special Comments: 

More than half of the distance is whitewater
2 days with lots and long class 3 rapids
3 days with R2 and R2-3 rapids
2 days with continuous R1 and fast water


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


Trip report for the Mistassibi July04

There are two detailed reports already on record so I felt that I would keep this brief, adding additional observations only that may be of interest. We paddled about 130 km in 6 days plus the day to fly in

Six of us drove up from the Toronto area. The trip is a little over a 1000km to Dolbeau. I had contacted Quebec tourism for local maps, which proved useful and we stayed overnight at the municipal camp ground by the falls in town. Clean and quiet…nice view of the river. River maps were obtained from the Federation Quebecoise.

In the morning we drove up the route provided by Air Saguaney…120 km to the “camp” (2 hours of very dusty and potentially washboard road) and then about 20 km into Lac Boisvert. (almost 1 hour!) This is essentially an “old” logging road and is extremely rough due to rocks…while all of us had small vehicles this road is close to the limits for cars and sane owners. Had it rained I am not sure that we could have negotiated the road with anything less than an SUV or truck. As it was we ended up negotiating with a worker at the camp to drive the drivers back in, thereby leaving all the vehicles in the camp lot…a real bonus…2 less passages on the rocky road and a quicker exit home at the end of the trip as the cars are parked within walking distance of the pull out.

A note on the plane: It is now much more expensive than previous reports…costs, fuel and only one carrier in business. Two trips with the Otter were about $3k!

A few notes on the river. Water levels were very high. I expect because of the wet summer and possibly because the area is so extensively clear-cut logged. You see it from the plane but not from the river fortunately. Black flies were also voracious in spite of the date.

Because the water level is high and the nature of most of the upper river, there is virtually no shore line, so while there may be no portages, there usually is no path to use for scouting and lining has to be done by walking in the bouldery water. The brush is also extremely dense in most areas and therefore is virtually impenetrable.

These facts make this a serious river trip. At these water levels, even class two ledges will be potential dumps and almost always require scouting and bailing. As stated elsewhere, the rapids are frequently very long up to 12 km continuous…a great feature but this adds to the challenge especially when ledges are present. There are about 80 separate rapids and 12 ledges and even the class 1’s were frequently technical. We had only one mishap due to a lapse of diligence..2 canoes inadvertently running a marked class 3 ledge that was at least a 4 or 5 where we descended. No harm done but one upset and for 2 people, a little fright, bruising and damaged egos. Pay attention to where you are on the maps..they are accurate.

I am not sure how the river would be at lower water levels as while we found the waves, holes, drops etc to be big, it was also very boney in many areas and there were gravel bars that required some hopping out.

Camps are not well spaced and frequently dictated our progress as does the nature of the rapids. In the first two days we only made about 12 k a day while on another day we did 20 by lunch and the last day did 40km in about 6 hours of paddling. Making your own camp would be challenging unless you were well equipped with axes and saws.

Having said all of the above, this river is a wonderful adventure for the seasoned tripper with at least intermediate white water skills. There must be few other rivers with the long runs of rapids, the low percentage of flat water, the isolation…we saw no other groups, decent but not spectacular scenery, etc.