Riviere de L’Aigle (Section within the Foret d’Aigle)

CanadaQuebec04 Ottawa
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Andrew Chapman
Trip Date : 
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
39 km
Duration: 
3 days
Loop Trip: 
No
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
1
Total Portage Distance: 
150 m
Longest Portage: 
150 m
Difficulty Ratings
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Portaging: 
Easy
Remoteness: 
Intermediate
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Riviere de L’Aigle (Pont Swamp Hotel to the Last Exit in the Foret d’Aigle)

It is 287 km from Montreal to the Black Rollway reception center (3 hours 40 min).
Shuttle to the put-in at the Pont Swamp Hotel bridge (about 30 min one-way).
North, under Pont du Lac Clair, and past the Nid de l’Aigle (Eagle’s Nest look-out).
North past an R1/EV (or Eau Vive, fast water) just prior to the Cascade de l’Aigle (falls).
Portage (about 150m) around the falls to Camping Cascade de l’Aigle.
North, passing under Pont du Pin Rouge, and past Black Rollway where the Hibou joins the Aigle.
Pass through a short RII, an RI, and Eau Vive (fast water) and R1 prior to Camping Canyon.
Pass by the Pont des Ours Blanc, a set of RI, and Rapides Johnson (an RII-III, set of RI-II, and stretch of EV) en route to Camping Johnson.
Calm water to the take-out at the last exit within the Forest de l’Aigle.
Shuttle back to Black Rollway.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

We arrived in the late afternoon on May 3 2007 and had the small campground by Black Rollway all to ourselves. It’s a nice little spot with 12 small campsites beside the river not far from the lodge.

Day 1
We had a quick breakfast, and then got the shuttle to take us from Black Rollway to the put-in at the Pont Swamp Hotel bridge. Pont Swamp Hotel is just a bridge over the river just inside the southern-most entrance to the park. We started the shuttle around 9 AM and were at the put-in in about 30 min. The staff were really great. We had brought wetsuits to use because of the cold spring water, and I had forgotten my wetsuit in the trunk of the car back at Black Rollway. I was very grateful that they were able to shuttle me back to get it. It was great to get on the water. The first stretch of the river was calm and meandering.

There was a short R1 with fast current just before the falls, and then an obligatory portage of about 150 m around the falls at river-right. This portage leads right to the campsite. The distance from Pont Swamp Hotel to Camping Cascade de L’Aigle is 9.3 km. All of the campsites along that we used on the trip were also accessible via the road, had a picnic table, fireplace, outhouse, and were a bit barren. There was no charge for using these campsites. Its not the same feeling as camping on the shore of a wilderness lake, but it was nice in any case.

We could have hiked-up to the nid de aigle lookout, but it would have been a 2 km hike back upstream along the trail to the start of the trail up to the lookout. What we should have done was to stop at the foot of the look-out, and then hike up from there. Probably worth the view.

Fishing season was open, and there was a nice area below the falls. Sean did some fly fishing in his hipwaders, and Dave caught a nice trout in an eddy just below the falls. I went about trying my hand at making fire with a fire-bow; got smoke but not much fire.

Day 2
We traveled from the Cascade de L’Aigle to Camping Canyon on this day (16.6 km). We had a nice relaxing paddle, with no major events. There was a short RII, an RI, and Eau Vive (fast water) and an R1 just prior to Camping Canyon. Camping Canyon was in an elevated area on the right side of the river. It was an area that was shaded by big trees, but quite wide-open with not much brush. I gave up on the firebow and got a fire going with flint and tinder.

Day 3
We traveled from Camping Canyon to Camping Johnson on this day (10 km). There were two sets of rapids about mid-way. The first was a series of R1, and the second was the Johnson rapids which was a longer series of RI-II and eau vive. We were able to head through these rapids fairly easily, taking the middle of the river. We had a false attempt at eddying out, and ended up going down the river sideways for a bit, but recovered and got to shore for a rest. Camping Johnson was located after a very nice section of river after a bend in the river. A good place for a swim.

Day 4
In the morning of the last day we traveled from Camping Johnson to the last take-out within the Foret d’Aigle (3.2 km), and arrived there around noon. There was a portage of about 100 m from the take-out to a clearing by the road. We were glad that we had arranged the shuttle to pick us up because the spring roads were in pretty bad shape and a regular car would have had a hard time getting through. It was great to get back to Black Rollway, grab a shower, and then get on the road with plenty of time to get back to town.

Contributed by Chappy.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
31 K/01, 31 K/08
Other Maps: 
Annotated topo of the Foret de l’Aigle
Other
Special Comments: 

The Riviere de l’Aigle is a nice destination because it a wilderness river is within reasonable driving distance of Montreal and Ottawa. There are a few sets of rapids but the overall difficulty level is relatively low.

The Foret de l’Aigle (Forest of the Eagle) is a managed multi-use forest. It has an excellent website (http://www.cgfa.ca/) that contains a lot of information with directions for getting to the Foret from Montreal or Ottawa, and information about a many other outdoor activities in the park. It has an excellent 7-page “fiche technique”, or technical file, with information about paddling the Southern section (the easy 19 km from the South entrance to Black Rollway reception area in the middle of the Foret) and the Northern section (the intermediate 43 km from Black Rollway to the junction with the Desert river). It is also possible to continue on the Desert river 25 km to the town of Maniwaki.

There are a lot of put-in and take-out options for this river that are described in the fiche technique. We chose to do a leisurely 39 km, 3-day trip down the entire extent of the river that lies within the Foret de l’Aigle. (There is a long section from the origin of the river at du lac Mer Bleue to the Southern entrance of the Foret de l’Aigle but it is slow moving and narrow, and not generally paddled). It is also possible to travel beyond the last exit of the Forest de l’Aigle, to the junction with the Desert river, and then to continue all the way to the town of Maniwaki.

There are some suggested itineraries on the web-site and fiche technique, with suggested put-in and take-outs. Most of these seemed a bit ambitious, with about 20 km or more per day…. we preferred to have a quiet, unhurried trip of 39 km over the three days.

The only map you will need for traveling within the Foret is the excellent annotated 1:50,000 color topographic map that you will obtain when you arrive at Black Rollway ($5). Some of the maps I found on-line can be confusing, but I found the “plan de la rivière” PDF available on the Foret website to be good as an overall view of the river. Also make sure you have a good road-map for driving there. There is also a route description with maps available on the cartes de plein air website (http://www.cartespleinair.org/).

We were driving from Montreal, so we arranged to arrive in the evening on the first day and camp the first night near the Black Rollway Lodge/Reception center. We were able to phone beforehand to reserve the two campsites at Black Rollway for the first night ($20/site). We went early in the year and arrived on May 3, so we had the small campground and the river to ourselves. We also arranged ahead of time to rent one canoe ($35/day), and to arrange a shuttle to the put-in ($15/canoe) and from the take-out ($25/canoe). The road alongside the river was in pretty rough shape, partly because it was early in the spring, and we were very glad that we used the shuttle service rather than getting our cars stuck. As noted on the website, it is best to use the East entrance to get to Black Rollway (46º16’08N, 076º17’34W).

The website recommends using the river during high water, typically May to mid-August.