Mississagi River - Aubrey Falls to Lake Huron

CanadaOntarioNorth Channel
Submitter & Author Information
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Trip Date : 
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Additional Route Information
145 km
7 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
1783 m
Longest Portage: 
915 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Technical Guide: 

Hwy 17 between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, then Hwy 129 north from Thessalon
Start at Hwy 129 bridge over river just south of Aubrey Falls
South on Mississagi River
P 90 m R around rapids at bridge (Aubinadong/Ranger Lake Road crossing)
Several small rapids between this point and junction with Aubinadong
Past Junction with Aubinadong River
South on Mississagi River
This section of the river is a run through continuous small rapids every 100m to 200 m
Forty-Mile Rapids - shallow and bouldery (some wading required)
South on Mississagi River (this section parallels Hwy 129)
P 180 m L around Pig Pen Chutes or CBR
South on Mississagi River past Snowshoe Creek
About 2 km past the creek you enter The Tunnel or Gros Cap - this is a narrowing of the river between two massive vertical cliffs 90 m (300 ft.) high.
South on Mississagi River
Southeast thrugh Tunnel Lake
P 915 m R around Raynor Dam and Generating Stn.
Southeast on Mississagi River (sandy, collapsing riverbanks)
Past junction with Little White River
South into Red Rock Lake
P 508 m L around Red Rock Dam and Generating Stn.
South on Mississagi River to Iron Bridge (wide, sluggish with 9m (30 ft.) sandbanks
Under Hwy 17 bridge (alternate take-out point)
East on Mississagi River (follows Hwy 17)
P 90 m L around Mississagi Falls
South to Lake Huron
East on Lake Huron 5 km to finish at town of Blind River

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

Mississagi River - Aubrey Falls to Iron Bridge
Section from Iron Bridge to the lake is long, flat, and arduous. Omit it.

General Information
Distance: 110 km
Duration: 5 days
Loop Trip: No

Portage Information
No. of Portages: 3
Longest Portage: 915m

Route Description
Hwy 17 between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, then Hwy 129 nrth from Thessalon.
Start just down river from power dam where river crosses Hwy 120, turn off is to the right, just before the bridge. Very nice campsite down a dirt road to the left off of the power dam access road, although you may not be alone.
South on Mississagi River
First portage is very near the put in, around Slide Rapids. Portage is marked with a sign on the left, and is about 200 - 300 m long, easy walking. If you have a spray deck or kayak, you can try the rapids. They were about a class 3 when we were there, and our kayaker shot them, although unsuccessfully. No damage done though.
South on Mississagi River
This section of the river is a run through continuous small to medium rapids every few hundred metres. River parallels Hwy 129.
Pig Pen Chutes was indistinguishable from all the other rapids. In fact, we never did positively identify it, and no portage was necessary. About 2 km past Snowshoe Creek you enter the Gros Cap, a narrowing of the river between two nearly vertical cliffs about 300 feet high. Very scenic. It was raining when we were there, and the rocks were mist shrouded. Could have sworn we were in the rainforest. South on Mississagi until you come to Tunnel Lake. Southeast through Tunnel lake, about a 9km paddle. We had a headwind most of the way, and the shape of the lake made getting out of the wind nearly impossible. There is a fishing lodge on the lake near the end.
P 915m R around Raynor Dam. Relatively long portage, but it is all on a gravel road built by Ontario Hydro for access to the dam. BTW, the dam is unmanned. If you can portage everything in one trip, it would be beneficial, because it is a considerable drop, and walking back up hill is tiring.
Southeast on Mississagi River (sandy, collapsing riverbanks). This section has some moving water, but is mostly flat water. There is a nice campground on the Right before Red Rock Lake. It is shown on the maps as "camping". It is probably occupied during the weekends, but it was vacant when we were there.
South into Red Rock Lake. Not a very big lake, about 3 - 4 km long. A nice, scenic paddle.
P 508m L around Red Rock Dam. Another easy portage on a Hydro road, but once again a considerable drop, so walking back up hill tired us out.
South on Mississagi River to Iron Bridge (wide, slow, sandy banks, very scenic). Under Hwy 17 bridge to take-out point at Iron Bridge Centennial park. I would not recommend going any further. The rest of the river is parallel to Hwy 17, has no current, and very likely gets a considerable head wind coming off of the lake. If you wanted to make the trip longer, consider starting further up stream instead.
Since this river is not currently a provincial park, there are no designated camp sites. We were very lucky in finding some nice sites along the way, but it took some searching. Night one we spent on a gravel point with Hwy 129 in sight. Night two was spent on a small island, in order to escape the voracious black flies. The island was barely big enough for two tents, and yet there was an excellent supply of driftwood for a fire. In fact, this river has a lot of driftwood on it, probably due to the fluctuations in water level from Hydro. Night three was spent in a clearing just down from a trailer near the beginning to Tunnel Lake. We didn`t really want to camp near someone`s trailer, but it had poured rain all day, the wind was coming up, and we were getting pretty tired. I think we can be excused for briefly trespassing in this case. Night four was spent at the campground mentioned above.
As I aluded to, the river levels change considerably. Ontario Hydro can and will change the river level by as much as 6 feet, so don`t leave anything near water`s edge for the night, or it will be gone in the morning. In fact, we saw the river change by over a foot just while we were making dinner.
An excellent trip. The first three days are a hoot, lots of rapids and fast water. The last two days are very scenic. You should have a moderate amount of experience before attempting this trip.Matt Ash

Maps Required
Other Maps: 
41 J/NW Wakomata Lake 41 J/SW Thessalon 41 J/SE Blind River
Special Comments: 

Because the river is dam-controlled, water levels can fluctuate dramatically (up to 2m or 6 ft.). Because of this, campsites should be made and canoes stored a minimum of 6 ft. above river water level.
In general, whitewater on the Mississagi is easier to run at low water than at high water