White River to Hattie Cove

Route description submitted By:

General Info

Difficulty Ratings

Distance: 82 km
Duration : 7 days
Loop Trip : no
River Travel : advanced
Lake Travel : advanced
Portaging : Difficult
Remoteness : advanced

Portage Info

Maps Required

No. of Portages : 21
Total Length: 8145 m
Average Length: 388 m
Longest Portage : 2140 m
Topo Maps (1:50,000)
42 C/12 Cedar Lake
42 D/9 Marathon

Handicapped Accessibility

GPX Data for this Route

SuitabilitySuitability : poor

Difficult portages
no gpx data found

Route Description

Start at White Lake Provincial Park on Hwy 17
West on White River
P 240 m R around dam
P 480 m L around rapid
P 420 m L around rapid
P 405 m R around rapid
P 95 m R around rapid
P 80 m L around rapid
P 630 m L around Angler Falls
P 600 m L around rapids
P 195 m R around rapids
P 70 m R around rapids
P 75 m R around rapid
P 580 m R around rapids
Past Junction with Oskabukuta River
P 65 m R around rapid
P 170 m R around rapid
P 150 m R around rapid
P 2240 m R around Umbata Falls (caution - 100 m drop!)
P 350 m R around rapid
P 300 m R around rapid
P 95 m R around rapid
P 215 m L around rapid
P 690 m L around Chigamiwinigum Falls
East to Lake Superior
North on Lake Superior to Hattie Cover (caution on lake travel!)
Take-out at Hattie Cover - Pukakswa Provincial Park
(Hwy 17, then south on Hwy 627)

General Comments


Trip Log / Diary

Thanks for this submission by Levi Waldron (Waterloo, Ontario)
We went with 2 canoes and 1 kayak.
DURATION: 5-7 days (leave 1 extra in case you`re windbound on Superior. There`s a barge that goes by everyday that could pick you up if you needed it.)
PORTAGES: 19, totalling 7930m, if you take them all.
13, totalling 5590m, if you run what we did (but we portaged our packs around most of the rest for buoyancy & less trouble if we dumped.)
Portage rating: difficult, especially Angler and all of them after Umbata.
LAKE TRAVEL: advanced (be careful on Superior, although you only paddle on it for about 6 km, and only one stretch around Playter Harbour has really no place to take out.)
RIVER TRAVEL: advanced (technically, since the route is now unmaintained. However, when we were there Aug. 24-29, 1997, all the portages were marked and takeouts were obvious and in slow water.) Around 12-13 sets of potentially runnable rapids.
REMOTENESS: advanced (although you could probably walk to the loggers if you got in trouble on the first part of the trip, out on the ATV trail near Umbata, and there`s lots of hikers along the hiking trail.)
Sources of info:
topo maps Marathon 42 D/9, Cedar Lake 42 C/12
White River canoe route pamphlet, available from Friends of Pukaskwa, (807)229-0801
Pukaskwa Country Outfitters, call at (807)229-0265 or look at their home page () for a map and more route info that`s not in the Pukaskwa pamphlet. Kevin Callan, "A Paddler`s Guide to Ontario Canoe Routes", not very informative on this route though.
OUR TRIP (Levi & Bonny, Preston & Mike, and James the yakker):
The drive from TO to Hattie Cove is about 13 hours. We did it in 2 days going, 1 day returning. We rented 2 Swift Dumoines fully outfitted for whitewater from Pukaskwa Country Outfitters, and arranged the shuttles with them for very good prices.
8-24-1997 (Day 1)
We camped last night at Hattie Cove, then Rob from PCO picked us up this morning with the canoes and took us to White Lake.
Nice sunny paddle 7km across White Lake.
Short P past dam, pulled out just above dam rather than marked P.
1st raps, main current is river right (RR). River left (RL) too shallow, RL is a big ledge, CIII. We decided to lift over, didn`t want to dump right off the bat. SW after.
P480 starts above 2nd raps. Top is some CII haystacks, then eddied out left and lined over not too big but too shallow ledge.
More SW then a fun drop with big haystacks, CII, "Lantern Rapids" Good safe place to try some surfing (how Preston & Mike dumped).
P480 is easy but a few fallen trees. A very rough campsite at the end by Lantern Raps.
Some more flat water, we stayed at an unmarked site along here, RL.
8-25-97 (Day 2)
Next raps at P420, which is actually on RR. A couple CII or easy CIII ledges, Bonny & I dumped trying to do a surfing front ferry, got caught sideways in a roller. OK looking campsite along this portage, didn`t get a good look at it though.
Some SW then next set at P405 on right. This is 3 huge, definite CIV ledges we didn`t want anything to do with. Our `yakker ran them though, after great thought and lots of nervous anticipation, and made it through OK. The P405 is in good shape, has a sandy campsite at the end, room for 3-4 tents.
About 2 km of flatwater, next stop is at the P95 on RR. There are 2 main channels, RL had the main current and looked too hairy for us, RR was a narrow chute, fun!
About 5km of flatwater.
Next raps is a P80 on RL. Big campsite in great location, but has a table, benches, and litter. We could hear logging sounds and see some cut area from here. Can pitch a small tent on the rocks by the rapids. Probably room for 4 tents.
The raps are a nasty CIV ledge, almost the whole river swings around the outside of the river bend, then into a hole or over a ledge next to the hole. Everything left of this was too shallow. It looked like there was a tiny channel between the ledge and the hole, but we sent our yakker to test it out and he got flipped in the roller below the ledge. He said the whole river wants to pull you over the ledge. There`s also a pretty big hole just above all this that could flip you if you`re not careful.
And there`s a surfaced rock downstream of all this that could wrap a dumped canoe. We took the portage.
8-26-97 (day 3)
About 5 km of flatwater before Angler Falls. We pulled out at the portage sign on RL before the swift water above the falls. You start by climbing up about a 6 foot bank. You could cut out the first third of the portage by running the swift water then eddying out on RL, RIGHT above the brink, but this is the only spot along the very swift water you could pull out. Way too scary for me, I was glad to take the whole portage, even though it`s nasty. Watch out for a wrong turn near the beginning of the portage. When you see red flagging tape, stay high and left, not low and right. This Angler portage (P630) is brutal. I got lost at the beginning, and slipped a couple times on wet rocks. We had to cross an old avalanche chute, ie a big pile of slippery rocks.
After Angler, the next set of raps is marked on the Pukaskwa map as P600 then P195. It is actually on P800 in good shape on RL, with some options. The first few sets are easy CI-CII, but be careful pulling out above Staircase Falls. Here you can join back onto the portage to the end of the rapids, or just to the bottom of the falls. Below the falls is a fun set of big, safe CII haystacks. (Where we momentarily lost Bonny)
1km of flatwater, SW, then a fun set of CII-CIII, depending on which line you take. We stayed at this nice campsite, room for 2 tents (one a ways up the hill). James and I dumped here taking the tougher line through the big waves, then succeeded on our second try. Bonny and I made it through easily staying far RR, out of all the haystacks.
8-27-97 (day 4)
About 5 km of flatwater, then next raps at P580. Can run the first 2 sets, easy CI-II, then pull out, P marked on right. The rest is very dangerous unrunnable stuff. A nice sandy campsite with lots of room at the end of the portage.
Next is the long, flat section of the river between kilometers 32 and 56, as marked on the Pukaskwa map. We couldn`t find any campsites along here until the P170. If they do exist, they must be little overgrown clearings in the bush. It was tempting to go explore up the Oskabukuta River, but didn`t have time.
At the P65 there`s a SW then a 2 foot drop with big haystacks - lots of fun and a good picture spot. Didn`t see any campsites here though.
We stayed at a site just before the P170. There`s a short trail up the hill, then a clearing on a big piece of granite. No view, but nice except for the ATV trail passing right next to the campsite.
8-28-97 (day 5)
Raps at P170: 1st set is a short drop with a big curling wave, lots of fun, but Preston & Mike swamped. Then an easy CI, run RR.
Next is the Umbata portage, P2240 on RR, don`t miss it! It`s an easy landing in slow water, and you can see where the rapids above the falls start. Climb up another steep river bank (I think there was a campsite here, but I had a canoe on my head.), then join into a 4x4 road which you follow right to the bottom of the falls, the end of the portage is obvious. From the end of the portage, we paddled upstream a little bit to where we could land the canoes and walk along the riverbank to the bottom of the Umbata gorge, then cut into the bush about 20-30 feet until we ran into a foot trail that goes along the top of the gorge right to the top of the falls. There are a couple great vantage points along the way, and a great spot to have lunch right at the top of the falls. This footpath is much shorter than the portage. The falls are spectacular, 30m high with lots of water.
Right below the Umbata portage is some easy CI-II haystacks. I didn`t get a good look at the campsite at the end of the portage by the Bailey bridge, but some other people were camped there.
The remainder of the rapids are unthinkable for an open canoe, and not much fun to think about in anything else either, according to our yakker.
P350: Brutally steep, a couple pretty inconvenient deadfalls.
P300: Starts and finishes with steep climbs.
P95: 47.5m straight up, 47.5m straight down. A gross campsite cut out in the trees at the top. There`s a better site after this portage, over on RL. It has a bear-box, steel firepit, dousing can, an outhouse with a roof and opening door, and 2 sandbox tent sites, one regular size, one pretty small. It has a nice view of the falls upstream though.
8-29-97 (day 6)
P215 past a very pretty unnamed falls, can walk right to their base or the top.
P690 past Chimiwinigum Falls. Steep, but very well-developed, with stairs and all. At the beginning take the left turn up the long hill. Right takes you to the suspension bridge, extreme left is the continuation of the hiking trail. There are a few well-developed hiking campsites around here.
From here is a few kilometers to the mouth of the river and the big lake. If there are big waves on Superior, take the P20 on the right to avoid huge, dangerous standing waves set up by the current flowing into the lake waves. There`s a nice campsite between the river and a secluded cove at this P20. It was occupied though, so we continued to Picture Island. It`s not a designated campsite, but it`s an amazing A++ spot if you don`t mind camping on a big rock. There`s a little patch of trees and some great blueberry patches on the island. We spent a day windbound here (day 7) and didn`t mind at all.
8-31-97 (day 8)
After 1 day wind bound, we got going early the next morning. It was a bit foggy but there was no wind and the waves were small. We cut straight across Playter Harbour. The north shore of the harbour is sheer cliffs, so I don`t see any benefit to staying along the shore. As soon as you pass Campbell Pt, you`re pretty much home free as there are some islands which offer protection from the waves right around the bend. We had to use a compass to find our way across this bay through the fog to Hattie Cove. Got into Hattie Cove around 10am, left the canoes and drove straight back to Toronto.
Levi Waldron

Photo Gallery


User Submitted Information


Submitted by:  Erhard Kraus         on 0000-00-00

The White will be developed - the first to go are the Umbata Falls. Take a look in the Ontario Routes or the Environmental forum if this stirs something in you.

Submitted by:  Benno Kurvits         on 0000-00-00

For information on your website regarding White River to Hattie Cove in NW Ontario, please change reference to "Pukaskwa Provincial Park" to Pukaskwa National Park. If you have room, it may be good to state: "To register for this White River Canoe Route trip finishing in Pukaskwa National Park, and to obtain more information, please contact the Park at 807-229-0801 Ext. 242. A mandatory backcountry orientation and the purchasing of a backcountry permit from the Park is required." Thanks, Benno Kurvits Client Services Coordinator Pukaskwa National Park

Submitted by:  Jay Hanks         on 0000-00-00

The hydroelectric development project at Umbata Falls is a reality. For current information, go to www.begetekongpower.com.

Submitted by:  ben         on 2012-03-19

Anybody know what this is like now? It sounds great but I'm guessing the dam has affected the route?

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