Beginner-friendly places to test out your whitewater paddling skills
Credit: Tim Cox
Reversing Falls, Saint John, New BrunswickThese falls go from a ripple to a monster as the tide drops. Time your paddle to match your skill and you have the world’s most versatile play spot.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Credit: David Cote
Valleyfield, near Montreal, QuebecThis 1,500-foot park’n’paddle channel of the St. Lawrence River sits downstream from a dam and runs most of the year.
For more info: quebecwhitewater.com
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Credit: Colin Moneypenny
Madawaska River, Palmer Rapids, OntarioBetween Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa, the Madawaska flows over beginner-friendly Palmer Rapids. Just downstream, Paddler Co-op offers lessons and camping. Take a 20-minute drive to Aumond Bay for an eight-kilometre run.
For more info: paddlerco-op.com
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Credit: Jamie Hilland
Whitemouth River, ManitobaJust over an hour’s drive east of Winnipeg, Cook’s Falls confuses the Whitemouth River just enough to make things interesting, but not enough to intimidate the uninitiated. Though water levels vary, the norm is a safe array of waves and eddy lines, with private camping nearby.
For more info: wildernesssupply.ca
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Credit: Nikki Coward
Kananaskis River, Kananaskis, AlbertaThe Kananaskis is still the best choice for accessible and friendly rapids near Calgary. From Widowmaker down to Canoe Meadows the grades reach class III, but below Canoe Meadows to the Trans-Canada bridge the water is pool-and-drop with little push. A two-minute car shuttle will get you back where you started.
For more info: aquabatics.com
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Credit: Squamish Paddling Club
Mamquam River, Squamish, B.C.Just 10 minutes out of Squamish, past a gate on the Mamquam Forest Service Road, you’ll find some of the easiest-access beginner and intermediate paddling in B.C. Pick up a key for the gate at Valhalla Pure Outfitters, in Squamish. No shuttle is necessary for this walkable, repeat-run stretch.
For more info: squamishpaddlingclub.com
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