York River - Egan Chutes to Boulter Road

CanadaOntarioSouth Central
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Andrea
Trip Date : 
July 25 - 26, 2021
Additional Route Information
Distance: 
30 km
Duration: 
2 days
Loop Trip: 
No
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
3
Total Portage Distance: 
1500 m
Longest Portage: 
500 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Intermediate
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Portaging: 
Difficult
Remoteness: 
Novice
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
High
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

We put in at Highway 28 where it meets L’Amable Creek on Google maps. There’s an unmarked road on the north-west side of the bridge to get into the river. (Just east of the road into the parking area that accesses Egan Chutes Park trail).

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

From the put-in you paddle for maybe 10 minutes before you reach the first portage.

There’s an old, faded sign on the left indicating the approaching chute - the take out is just past the sign on the left. There isn’t a flat spot or much land to climb out onto, you kind of scramble out of the water on the well-worn hiking trail. The portage is about 400 m of rocky and root-filled trail that ends with a very steep downward hill where my kayak did a great impression of a bobsled. Once you’re back in the water, there’s a really nice view of the chute. 

Paddle for about 10-15 more minutes and you’ll reach the second portage. Again, this one has an old sign on the left to indicate the approaching chute. The take out is rough - you have to try to balance on a small section of mud, then climb up a 2 foot cliff edge and then figure out how to get your boat out. This portage didn’t look like anyone had travelled it in a long time. The path is entirely overgrown with poison ivy and long grasses, and the mosquitos are fierce. This was a single track path that went from the poison ivy into a wooded area with downed trees, up and down a really difficult to navigate trail. Again, about 400 m.

Back in the boat, we paddled for another 15 minutes or so and started to hear the third chute. We hadn’t had time to recover from the previous portage and weren’t ready. There is no signage at this chute, we scrambled out of the water on the left-hand side, again without anywhere to step out of your boat. Getting out of the water was again a challenge, you immediately went up a steep incline over a downed tree, then carried on up a hill, along a cliff edge, and finally down to a nice beach area at the bottom of the chute - still about 400 m. After defeating the first two portages, this one felt like a small relief - it was a wider path that had been travelled more often and a more open wooded area with far less bugs.

Getting through all three portages took us about 4 hours. We were in our boats for maybe 45 minutes. Without exaggeration, it was the most difficult thing either of us have ever endured and we do not at all recommend it.

 

When we made it through the final portage, there was a group of friends on side-by-sides who were across the river. If you could find out how to get in where they were, that would be a win. There isn’t a marked road and I haven’t been able to find the entrance to a trail that they would have come from - if you find it, I’d love to know!

From the bottom of the third chute, we paddled about 45 minutes to the “Tall Pines” campsite. The river is narrow and winding with a couple of sections of downed trees - we were able to scoot our kayaks over them. When you reach the campsite, there’s a sandy area to the right where you can take out your boat and pull it up the hill out of sight. The site itself is a short walk up a gradual hill to the clifftop. Gorgeous views and a very well maintained site with flat spots for tents, a rock fire pit, some ropes for hanging bear bags and even an outhouse! 

On the river again, it opened up quite a bit as the day went on. There’s nowhere to stop for a rest, the shores were all marshy or overgrown, so be prepared to snack from your boat. There were a couple of marshes leading off the main river where we saw herons flying around. The landscape changes throughout the day and we saw lots of wildlife, including a deer swimming across the river. The second site “Norway Bay” that was labelled on our map ended up being a total bust. It was an enclosed grassy area on a bay with no air flow - the bugs were really bad. There was trail leading into the site and it had two old ice huts that were full of garbage and evidence of past fires. In the campfire area were three giant sections of a tree that someone attempted to burn, and scattered over the ground were shotgun shells. Overall “Deliverance” vibes and we decided to move on. 

---- We noted that there was a much nicer site before this one that was not on the map,  on the left-hand side of the river near Mallard Creek. If you wanted to make this a more relaxing two night trip (if you can start after the chutes), this looked like a much nicer camping spot.

The next site option on our map “The Ripples” wasn’t clearly distinguishable - we passed what we thought may have been it, but with rain coming in, decided to keep going and end our trip that day. Overall this day we leisurely paddled for about 5-6 hours. We got picked up at the base of Trails End Road off of Boulter Road. There’s a boat launch here on the left for an easy exit before you hit the rapids that are just up river.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Topo Maps (1:250,000): 
Other Maps: 
We found these maps to be the most useful: http://www.tripsandtrails.ca/overnighter-maps.html We also downloaded the Canada Topo Maps app, downloaded the maps we’d need and added pins to be able to see the approximate campsite areas through GPS without needing data on the river: https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/topo-maps-canada/id392857820
Other
Suggested Resource Material: 
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