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Canyoning, Eskamer Aventure. Photo: CHOK Images.

5 River Activities in Gaspésie

Enjoy water sports on the crystal-clear rivers of Gaspésie! Here are 5 ways to make the most of your adventure while canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, canyoning, rafting, snorkelling or swimming!

Canoeing on the Bonaventure River with Cime Aventures
Canoeing on the Bonaventure River with Cime Aventures. Photo: Cime Aventures

Paddle sports and canoe camping

Cime Aventures (Bonaventure) offers a wide variety of activities on the sparkling turquoise waters of the Bonaventure River. This river is so clear you can watch salmon swim by as you glide over them—and your vessel will appear to be floating on air! You can also rent canoes, kayaks, rabaska canoes, stand-up paddle boards and rafts, with or without a guide. Various itineraries are proposed depending on your experience and the length of the activity, which can vary from one hour to several days (canoe camping).

You can also stay on site in the campground or rent a cottage, ecolodge built on stilts or glamping unit (teepee or yurt). Finally, you can treat yourself to a meal showcasing delicious local flavours at the Cime Aventures restaurant, which features a patio overlooking the Bonaventure River. In the evening, enjoy discovering local and emerging artists while you eat.

Canoeing in river
Canoeing on river with Nature Aventure. Photo: Nature Aventure

Nature Aventure (Matapédia) offers lots of options with excursions on seven crystal-clear rivers. The landscapes of mountains and rivers in this area are worth seeing! Depending on your experience and how much time you have, you can explore the Matapédia, Restigouche, Patapédia, Assemetquagan, Kedgwick, Upsalquitch or Causapscal rivers. You are very likely to see salmon during your excursion since they are found in most of these waterways.

You can rent a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board (SUP), then set off on an adventure on your own or with a guide. Camping Parc Adams, on site, offers a dozen campsites. You can also go wilderness camping during a canoeing or kayaking trip that lasts several days.

Kayaking on the Cap-Chat River with Valmont plein air
Kayaking on the Cap-Chat River with Valmont plein air. Photo: Valmont plein air

Finally, Valmont Plein air (Cap-Chat) gives you the opportunity to go kayaking on the Cap-Chat River, which is perfect for first-time paddlers and families. Two excursions are offered: the first is 5 km long and easy; the second is 17 km long, slightly more difficult and takes about 3 hours. Although these excursions are not guided, the Valmont Plein Air staff will take the time to explain kayaking basics and give you safety tips.

You can also enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant on site, which overlooks the St. Lawrence. The bistro menu features local dishes, including their famous shrimp poutine. Valmont Plein Air also offers six colourful and comfortable cottages with views of the St. Lawrence and the Chic-Choc Mountains.

Embark on a kayak with York Expedition for a guided descent to discover the York River, its colony of eagles settled on its banks, its salmon pools and its particular flora. Activity supervised by professionals sharing their knowledge on the practice of kayaking and on the interpretation of the environment.

Canyoning with Griffon Aventure.
Canyoning with Griffon Aventure. Photo: Griffon Aventure

Canyoning in the heart of the Chic-Chocs

Magnificent canyons are found in the heart of the Chic-Chocs and in the region’s coastal mountains. The highly qualified instructors at Eskamer Aventure (Sainte-Anne-des-Monts), will be happy to introduce you to canyoning (also called canyoneering). Enjoy rappelling down rapids, ziplining, leaping into deep basins and sliding in crystal-clear natural waterslides! In summer 2019, you will also be able to soar over Castor Canyon on a 330-metre-long zipline as well as jump from a 15-metre tower using a QUICKjump free fall device.

At Griffon Aventure (L’Anse-au-Griffon), you can observe stunning waterfalls and explore a steep watercourse while hiking, swimming or sliding in natural waterslides. The more adventurous can also explore cliff walls and jump into emerald-green pools! Canyoning is a fun activity for the whole family (including teens!). All the equipment is provided.

Rafting with Chic-Chac
Rafting with Chic-Chac. Photo: La Semelle Verte

Rafting in Murdochville

From early spring to late June, Chic-Chac (Murdochville) invites you to go rafting in the rapids of the Madeleine River, which is divided into three sections; which section you will explore depends on the water level when you visit. The first river section goes from Lake Madeleine to the bridge over Route 198. The second, which has class I to III rapids and is perfect for families, is from the bridge to a small farm. The last section, which is the most challenging, includes class I to V rapids. Chic-Chac also offers a two-day rafting package, which includes two rafting excursions (on the York and/or Madeleine rivers, depending on water levels), six meals and one night at the friendly Chic-Chac hostel.

Snorkelling in the river

Nature Aventure offers several guided snorkelling tours on various rivers. Each includes all the equipment you will need (wetsuit, mask, snorkel, life jacket, etc.). Your adventure in the crystal-clear Matapédia, Assemetquagan, Moulin, Kedgwick or Upsalquitch River will give you the opportunity to observe Atlantic salmon and find out more about marine life and the marine environment.

Le Malin de la rivière Bonaventure
Photo: Le Malin de la rivière Bonaventure

Swimming in the river

Le Malin de la rivière Bonaventure is a section of the Bonaventure River that features class II rapids. It is also a natural spot to enjoy water fun in the summer! You can stop at this site when paddling down the river in a canoe or drive here directly. The site includes a pebble beach and two sandy beaches, making it a perfect destination on hot summer days. To get here by car, take Route Forest (west of Bonaventure) for about 6 km, then follow the signs to the parking lot. There is an admission fee. Another great place to go swimming is the Rivière aux Émeraudes (Emerald River) in Coin-du-Banc, near Percé. This section of the river features emerald-green waters where you enjoy a swim (without supervision) at the foot of a waterfall.

Are you looking forward to trying out the many water sports offered in the crystal-clear rivers of Gaspésie? To make sure you savour every moment, plan your stay at! #gaspesie

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