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Madawaska River Lower

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The lower section of the Madawaska is a fairly reliable spring/early summer Class II/Class III. run. It is a great river for novices as the rapids are pool drop and the water is quite deep. The rapids are easy to scout.

There is a short section at Palmer Rapids a well as the main run from Aumond Bay to Buck Bay. The river also has a park and play spot at Hass Hole.


Map of Lower Madawaska including Palmer Rapids, putins & takeout

There are two different options for putin. One requires more flatwater paddling but a shorter drive while the other requires less flatwater paddling but a longer drive.

Put in

The main putin is at Aumond Bay off Addington Rd/Hyland Creek Road. From Quadeville, follow Addington Rd. 5.1 Km to the end of the paved section. Continue on the logging road 2 Km to a dirt road on the right. Follow this for 2.5km to a small parking lot at Aumond Bay. Bare in mind this is a logging road and is quite potholed and bumpy so vehicles with a high clearance are needed (Update April 2015 - Road to put in has new gravel and should be fine for most vehicles).

You can also putin at Hass Hole, though this creates a long shuttle as you are on the opposite side of the river from the take-out. This is private land and there is a putin fee per paddler (5$ April 2015). From the turn onto Bruceton Road, travel 3.5 km to a fork. Turn left onto Keller Road and continue on for nearly 2km to a small bridge. After the bridge take the next driveway on the left belonging to Clifford Hass (should be on the mailbox). Follow the driveway to the second house. The fee box is here so remember to stop and pay. The road continues on to an old hunting camp where you can park.

Take out

The takeout is at Buck Bay further down Hyland Creek Road. From the putin just go back to the logging road, turn right and follow it for 6.2km to a dirt road on the right. This road ends at a parking lot.


Palmer Rapids

Palmer Rapids is usually just a park and paddle. You can access the section on river right or left through Jessup's campground or some logging roads on river left. Paddler Coop as at the bottom of this section. This is a great section for beginners and intermediates for practising skills. It can be paddled all summer with the best levels being around 100cm.

The top section of Palmer Rapids (Piano Rock) has three chutes. The far river right chute is the most fun (CIII) and can be run even when the river is low. This rapid is also known as Jessup's Chute. There is a good surf wave that comes in here between 75 and 115 cms. The middle and river left chutes have various lines and are more fun with more water. At high water the middle channel contains a fairly keepy hole, and a great surf wave directly above it. This rapid is also known as Jessup's Chute. There is a good surf wave that comes in here between 75 and 115 cms.

Railroad rapid (also known as the "Lower Set") has a small surf wave at the top and then follows some bumpy water down do a fun hole/wave on river right, although it is hard to play in.

Take out on river left and walk back up the shore to run the section again.

Lower Madawaska

From the main putin there is a long 4/5km flatwater paddle to the first rapid which is hass hole.

Hass Hole

There are different holes and waves that come in at different levels here. The main set of holes begins to get playable (not too shallow) at around 75cms. Anything above this there should be good play at Hass's. (This rapid is also known as island rapid). The most common line (and the only one with enough water at very low water) is the far river right directly beside Hass's cabin.

Corner Hole

At very high water (200+ cms) a wave comes in on the corner between Hass's/island and Dog's leg. It is small, but good to play on and practice flat spins.

Dog's Leg

This is a meandering rapid that takes a left hand turn at the bottom. Changes a lot with different water levels, but the common line is down the right after entering center.

The Shallows

Not a rapid of much significance, dodge the rocks around the island.

The Narrows

The river constricts here and creates a great glassy tongue on RR beside the campsite. There are two holes that form in this rapid (Loaf's Holes) that are surfable at high levels. A typical dry line is to go down the tongue and go through the small tongue in between Loaf's holes. The tongue is great for practicing jet ferries.

Exam Time

Rifle Chute

This rapid can be scouted on the left. There are lots of ledges and holes here with various lines.

Split Rock


This rapid has different channels but the usual line is down the left hand channel through some rocky ledges to a small punchable hole.

Length of run

12km approx or 8km from the Hass Hole putin

Water levels

The current level for this river can be found through the Environment Canada Real-Time Hydrometric Data site, gauge 02KD004 Madawaska River at Palmer Rapids.

Min: runnable down to 10 cms

Ideal: for running the river is at its best over over 35 cms. For play at hass hole, above 60cms is ideal

Max: There is no max. The rapids become more washed out at higher levels.

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