Canadian Canoe Routes

Ashuapmushuan River advice
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Author:  Mainer [ March 12th, 2006, 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Ashuapmushuan River advice

Has anyone done the Ashuapmushuan River, north of Lac St. Jean? I'm considering it for a trip with two or three friends, all in solo boats, this summer. Will there be competition for campsites? What is the character of the river?

I've got information on the way from SEPAQ, but I'd like first-hand reports if anyone can offer one.



Author:  Gail R [ March 12th, 2006, 6:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

Did it two summers ago with a group of friends totaling 11 people (including my rug rats) there are flat sections of maybe couple clicks but I still figure it would be fun in a solo.'s not a pool and drop, rapids are more that 2 or 300 meters in length. there is one section that was a bit washed out when we did it but normally it would be 5 kms of class two's with small 200m sections of break between them. Self rescue would be a nice skill set, not that the rapids are killer hard, just you are looking at a boat potentially geting a couple clicks ahead of you in places if you lose it. there are 4 main rapids that can have a couple holes in the last 100 meters The river is different character at different levels too, nice thing about it is it's always runnable, so you don't have to worry about low watter levels. We had friends that ran it last year and ran every rapid except the manditory portage at 80-100 and found the river pretty straight forward...we did it at 600 and walked a few end sections of the main 4...not that what we walked wasn't runnable...just beyond our comfort zone on that day.... a couple munchy holes is not where you want to end up with two kids in a tripping boat. Another group we know ran at 450 and it was nice, I'd like to go back at this level , less is washed out but the bigger rapids have enought kick to get your adrenilin moving.

Campsites are spread out but most have a secondary less used site, there was only one other party on the river. With a smaller group I don't expect there to be a problem. If there is a spot where you knw there isn't another site for awhile I personally have never met river trippers that would be offended if you asked to set up with them......these sites are pretty big and will accomidate several tents. The park map ratings are failry accurate...the group campsite on Rapide des Ilses is really on the will hold 5 or so tents.There are bugs so don't leave the head net home after mid July.
My only drawback was the logging road that parrelles the river for the first couple days. It is a main artery and there is a truck every half hour or so...this might have changed as logging moves (that and it's a 5-6 day trip, if I was to do it again I'd do another river with it)...... I didn't see any recent clearcuts from the river but you can tell it isn't virgin forrest. The falls are drive in so you might see folks out for a day picnic...there are non-bear proof park garbage cans here, something tipped them over when we were camping there so don't put anything stinky in them.... if it's hot out my advice is don't camp on the rocks at the falls....the heat trasfers at night up through the tent and is stiffling.
You won't get the isolated feeling on this river but it is a nice trip. If you are looking for an adrenilin type solo trip have a gander at the Haricana report from last year

Author:  Mainer [ March 12th, 2006, 7:32 pm ]
Post subject: 


Thanks very much for your helpful report. It may be that I'll look for a longer trip, if it's really only 5 - 6 days' worth. In any case, I really appreciate your time and thoughts.

Best regards,


Author:  Gail R [ March 13th, 2006, 9:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Paul,
Didn't want to discourage you. I think with adding another river it would be a fantastic trip and you are in a great area to do that.
Ash is a 5 night trip from higyway 167 130 km at the bridge.....our spread was 1st Night just above km160, cabin below 140, rapid des Iles, Rapid L'Engoulevent 2nd group site, chutes Chaudiere and then out...we were in Tandems in pushy water so it would be faster than solos.

Have a look at the Quebec planning map.....fromSt Felicien you're 200ks from St Marguerite, 175 from the put in to Rivere aux Ecores (this looks like a two day river easy access, log road runs paralell) Rivere HaHa and a number of others, remember too that the first 50 k you have to drive anyway....there is a canoe club in that area, I'll see if I can find the link to their website.
along the 155 on the way back you have the Saint Maurice rivers (Matawin Rive aux Rats etc....for a detour you could if water levels coincide do the Batiscan (5days I belive) or if you wanted to drive down around the Saguenay there's the Rive Malbaie.
check out this link ... highlight=
It's directions to drive into more or less the put in for the Mistassibi Nord-Est, add this 5-6 day trip on and you'd have yourself a great trip....GeneU is the source for this.

Author:  Verdure [ June 4th, 2018, 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

Has anyone paddled the Ashuapmushuan R in the fall? Looking for a one week river to do late September 2018. Any suggestions or insights are welcome.

Author:  Sam82 [ June 5th, 2018, 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

Verdure wrote:
Has anyone paddled the Ashuapmushuan R in the fall? Looking for a one week river to do late September 2018. Any suggestions or insights are welcome.

Recped and I paddled the whole length of the Ash last September. Unfortunately we do not have a trip report yet.

Highlights were beautiful colors, no bugs, no other paddlers, and warmish water.

The only real suffering encountered was a few cold rains and heavy mists.

We passed 2 hunters in a motor boat at the access river but otherwise nobody.

Ben and (maybe more me) are considering doing it again this fall but starting on the Du Chef or Neataocano Rivers.


Author:  tim [ June 6th, 2018, 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

You certainly have a great plan.

We paddled it again, July 2017, at very low level, with 3 kids in their ww kayaks... great time, great river, great campsites on a lot of large beaches.

We only had to portage twice (chaudiere falls and another short one)

I highly recommand, a classic.

In september, may be you should have a look and take special care for the moose hunting season, which is from sept 7 to 21st...


Author:  Verdure [ June 6th, 2018, 5:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

Right now we are looking at the first week of October. Does anyone know if the low water levels bounce back a bit in the fall? I did the Bloodvein R this time of year awhile back and we had pumping water levels - which was great.

Author:  tim [ June 11th, 2018, 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

Your best bet will be with this link: ... ion=061901

Author:  Verdure [ June 13th, 2018, 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

Thanks for the link. Very helpful.

Author:  recped [ June 14th, 2018, 12:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

To get a better idea of the pattern of levels over time here is a link to the historical data for that gauge going back to 1953: ... 1901_Q.txt

We paddled the river last year, people at the park office said that the levels would be good for a first time run and I think that was good advice as I was able to run everything (except Chutes Chaudiere) or short lining in a couple of spots.The levels were high enough to allow space to paddle out of the main flow but low enough to make the chutes and ledges fairly easy. Levels on the Normandin were "medium low", the one rapid of consequence was somewhat rocky and technical. On the The Ashuapmushuan itself levels "medium" were never an issue, I don't recall encountering much in the way of grinding or hidden pillow rocks. As you can see below, levels rose and fell considerably in response to precipitation making even a short prediction a bit difficult.

061901 2017/09/14 193.8
061901 2017/09/15 180.7
061901 2017/09/16 169.3
061901 2017/09/17 160.1
061901 2017/09/18 156.8
061901 2017/09/19 166.3
061901 2017/09/20 200.5
061901 2017/09/21 247.6
061901 2017/09/22 270.4
061901 2017/09/23 267.0
061901 2017/09/24 260.3

My guess is that the "sweet spot" is 200 - 300, I'd be hesitant to paddle below 100 or above 400

We started on Lac Nicabau (south end) and paddled on the Normandin taking 3 "days" to camp just upstream of the bridge where the highway crosses the Ashuapmushuan. It was another 8 days to the "standard" takeout.

The pace was very leisurely as you can see in the table

Day Date / Start Time Duration Distance
Day01 9/14/2017 3:42:42 PM (UTC-4) 2:30:40 10.6 km
Day02 9/15/2017 1:23:50 PM (UTC-4) 4:47:00 20.0 km
Day03 9/16/2017 2:43:31 PM (UTC-4) 4:21:00 17.9 km
Day04 9/17/2017 1:14:27 PM (UTC-4) 4:06:45 20.1 km
Day05 9/18/2017 1:46:23 PM (UTC-4) 4:04:25 19.1 km
Day06 9/19/2017 1:21:32 PM (UTC-4) 4:28:30 25.1 km
Day07 9/20/2017 1:49:56 PM (UTC-4) 4:28:55 12.9 km
Day08 9/21/2017 12:52:21 PM (UTC-4) 3:49:00 13.0 km
Day09 9/22/2017 2:20:32 PM (UTC-4) 5:43:35 9.9 km
Day10 9/23/2017 2:43:25 PM (UTC-4) 3:26:35 21.5 km
Day11 9/24/2017 4:03:32 PM (UTC-4) 2:44:55 18.1 km
Total 44:31:00 188 km

We used the following maps/guides: ... uc2007.pdf ... eclair.pdf ... uc2017.pdf Park overview map

Author:  Dave_k [ June 15th, 2018, 7:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

Curious, I saw a report of a trip down the Ashuapmushuan River that said the park does not allow a single boat to navigate the river. That you needed a party made up of at least two boats. Can anyone confirm that?

Author:  Dave_k [ June 21st, 2018, 9:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

So since no one responded to my question I figured that it was either a dumb question and everyone was ignoring me or no one knew. Thus I emailed the reserve and asked the question myself. It is allowed to paddle the river solo. Obviously not as safe as if paddled in a group but allowed. The park does require anyone paddling the river to sign a waiver.

Author:  Dave_k [ June 21st, 2018, 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

BTW, the Reserve said that flows are low this year.

Author:  Verdure [ August 26th, 2018, 11:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ashuapmushuan River advice

We are looking to do this river the week of Oct 13 -20. Yes, it will be late in the year- in fact, the park may be closing Oct 3. Still sorting it out and working through arrangements in french. Does anyone have information on shuttles for the river? Any contact information is welcome.

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