Tell me about Paddling the Pukaskwa River

Spring is in the air and a paddlers mind soon turns to White Water and the Pukaskwa River a quintessential wilderness spring white water trip. Why? Between 1.2 and 3 billion years ago the spectacular Canadian shield bedrock was laid down, ripped up, resurfaced and collapsed. Then, over 4 glacial periods meager top soils were bulldozed away by glaciation. When the weight of the glaciers was removed about 10,000 years ago, the land rebounded making for a nice drop between inland and Lake Superior.

Result: A fast moving river with a small watershed, shallow soils. It honks in the spring and pretty well done for ww paddlers by the first week of June. Within Pukaskwa there are (or can be) marked and cleared portages. Outside of the Park, it varies according to water levels and use. I don’t think more than 4 parties run it on an average year.

If you plan to go some good sources of information on our website where you can get info on shuttles but the better information at Canadian Canoe Routes.

There is a water guage on the Pukaskwa River (02BC006) just below Fox River. It can be accessed at although you will need top agree to a responsibility disclaimer before reviewing data.

For relevance Wilderness Guy from says

I paddled in levels from 4.6 – 5.5 m. From my experience I would say 4.5-5 m would be ideal to paddle the river. Over 5m and the water is high and may force portaging sections that could otherwise be run and lined, such as the 2.5 Km Ringham’s Gorge section.