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Coulonge River

The Coulonge River flows through the Canadian Shield, dropping nearly 700 feet as it cascades over a series of crashing waterfalls and wanders through runnable rock studded rapids. The Coulonge River offers wilderness seclusion, a colourful history and plenty of fish along the journey. Until 1984 the Coulonge served as a major logging highway, thousands of tons of timber floated down the Coulonge River each year. With the river quickly returning to its original state, signs of this era are still present. If you are passionate for nature, the Coulonge's outstanding scenery ensures that sooner or later the canoeists are bound to come.

Between the Noire River and Coulonge River, the Coulonge is the gentlest and ranks well for novice or intermediate paddlers. Geographically, it's a very diverse river with a number of exciting chutes and waterfalls, laid out in a valley through the beautiful Laurentian woods. The Coulonge is a wonderful place for any family vacation, one of the great rivers in Quebec. It presents a good combination of lake travel with river paddling, white water thrills ranging from CI to CIII to test your adrenal glands. From spring through fall you can see truly magical places that Mother Nature has created.

The Coulonge also displays options; you can either divert from straight line running down the Coulonge or cross over to a more challenging route the Noire River. Portage locations over to Lac Farant by way of Lac Bryson are easily located. Should you decide either route you will not be disappointed.

Fly-in Starting Points

You fly by floatplane with your canoe to your destination.

Drop Off LocationsAverage Flight TimeTrip Length (Days)
Lac Pomponne50 minutes10-12
Lac Bryson35 minutes6-7
Lac Wright40 minutes5-6
Lac Jim20 minutes3

Portages

The Coulonge River has the highest percentage total fast-water overall, 70% CI's. Most rapids are short and usually very easy to see where the canoe needs to go to travel safely. Most of the portages are short trots around waterfalls. Considered the most dangerous of Quebec's "Triple Play" at high water season, difficult chutes that require creative running are heightened. Portages are always available, a bit rough at times. Extra care must be used when entering some of the portages before some of the waterfalls, as they are poorly shaped.

Campsites

Campsites average about one per 3 km throughout the Coulonge River. They are established on both bedrock points, and on sandy beaches or a combination of both. At certain points of the Coulonge River campsites may be few and far between, so a well-planned trip is advised.

Shuttle Service

Vehicles may be left at our air base in Rapids des Joachims (Swisha) or shuttle service is available from our base to your take out point on the Coulonge River. Cost for this service is $150.00 per vehicle ; arrangements must to be made prior to your flight. Pick up service from the Coulonge to our base can be arranged.

Words From Hap

Quebec's "Triple Play" is quickly becoming a legendary threesome for today's adventure seekers. Almost everyone has heard of the Dumoine, but ten years ago, who had heard of the Noire or Coulonge Rivers.

The actions and intentions of Hydro Quebec clearly indicate that the Dumoine may still be dammed and the water diverted down the Kipawa to maintain a stable flow for the power plants. It's not likely to happen if the Dumoine, and hopefully - the Noire and Coulonge - attain some level of protected status in the near future. We can only hope that common sense prevails.

I am often asked how the three rivers compare with each other, in scenic value, difficulty of terrain, length of portages, but all I can tell people is that they have to try each one for themselves. Every river has its own inherent characteristics that makes it special, soulful, entertaining and alluring; triple play is unique because of the fact that they align themselves within the same beautiful landscape, yet bequeath entirely independent experiences.

Note: Hap Wilson's new book, "The Cabin", is now available through your local bookstore, or by ordering direct from Natural Heritage Publishers or sunriseadventures.com