Posted by: kimmeroo | April 20, 2012

Agawa River

The Agawa River in Lake Superior Park is one of our favourite river runs, and we make a point of trying to paddle it at least once a year. With the warm weather in March this year whitewater season came early, so we paddled it March 31-April 1. Logistics for this trip are about as easy as they can get – load the canoe and gear onto the train in the Sault, drive to the takeout and park the vehicle there, and then walk ~8km to catch the train at Frater. A short train ride later get off at Canyon Station, and the vehicle is ready and waiting when we finish up on Sunday.

Some items of interest at Frater:

Byebye train. Arrival in Canyon Station.

Because the train doesn’t arrive at Canyon until 1 or so, you would be hard pressed to paddle to the take-out that day (in a canoe anyways; more doable in a kayak). However, the trip isn’t super long, which gives you lots of options for how much to paddle the first day, where to camp, etc. When the weather has been truly terrible on Saturday we have actually not paddled at all, camped in Canyon, and blasted the whole thing on Sunday. When the weather is reasonable all weekend there are a few nice sites to pick from along the river. In this case, the weather was cold but good on Saturday, with rain/snow forecast to start later Saturday evening, with possible rain on Sunday. Given the forecast we decided to camp at the final portage, next to Agawa Falls. That way the bulk of the portaging would be finished, so on Sunday there wouldn’t be too much treacherous walking in wet wood. Conor carried the canoe to the end of the portage on Saturday, so all we needed to do on Sunday morning was carry the packs. This also allowed us to bundle up in warm clothes for the paddle out, without worrying about overheating on portages.

Artifacts on the portage

The plan worked out well, as it started to rain just after we crawled into the tent, snowed overnight, but stopped by the time we woke up in the morning.

Saturday evening dinner – no snow

Sunday morning breakfast – snow!

Agawa Falls:

Break time on the river:

The wind cooperated (i.e., wasn’t blowing) when we reached the river mouth, so we were able to paddle out onto the big lake and take out a little bit closer to the truck on Agawa Beach.

As a final note, there is one rapid near the end that we have had some ups and downs with. It’s short, but tricky, with a hole on river left and lots of rocks on river right. The first time we did it we blasted through the hole no problem. The next time we swamped and swam (and that was before I had a drysuit…brrr!). The third time we lined the canoe down the right. Last year the water was so high that we were able to sneak down the right well away from the hole. This year that line wasn’t any good, but we pulled off a good run that had us squeezing between the hole on our left and another big wave on our right. Success!



  1. This is the conversation that is going on in my head right now:

    “My name is Kim, and I have completely left my friend Laura in my dust when it comes to backcountry adventures.”

    “My name is Laura, and I’m exceedingly jealous of my friend Kim. Also, my canoe hasn’t touched the water in eight months.”

    • Maybe, but you have certainly surpassed me in the ‘raising a daughter’ and ‘road tripping across the country’ realms. And the good thing about canoes is that they don’t hold a grudge – it will still be excited to see you when paddling fits into your life again! The important thing is to get that girl paddlin’ and then come do a trip with me 🙂

  2. …and I’ve been surpassed by both of you. I don’t even own a canoe… but hey I’ve got grad school going for me… … …sigh

    • Ah grad school, how I miss those days… oh wait, no I don’t.

      And if you need a boating fix you just need to come visit! Both of you, in fact, and we can go on a paddling trip.

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