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South Shore

From the border of Halifax Regional Municipality to Yarmouth

The south shore stretches from Lunenburg area down past Shelburne. There are hospitals in Shelburne, Lunenburg, Liverpool and Bridgewater. SAR resources may be further away but Coast Guard response should be similar to Halifax area.

Area Character Location Level/Gauge Info
Medway Remote, Pool drop Greenfield NS Water Gauge
Indian Falls 15ft Waterfall Indian Falls provincial park Water Gauge
Ovens Tidal Race Small Tidalrace Lunenburg, NS Flood tide
Cooks Falls Multiple Ledge Drop Bridgewater, NS Water Gauge
North River Creek, Slide New Germany, NS Water Gauge
North Branch LaHave Pool Drop New Germany, NS Water Guage
West Branch LaHave Pool Drop Midville Branch, NS Water Guage
Main Branch LaHave Pool Drop Northfield, NS Water Guage
Gold Gorge Gorge, Creek Chester basin, NS Weather forecast
Roseway Urban River run Shelburn, NS Water Guage
Tom Tigney Creek Shelburn, NS Weather forecast
Argyle River Tiderace Gleenwood, NS Yarmouth Tides

1 - Main Branch

rural river run, below Indian lake
Class: II+/III Length: 8km
Location: New Germany/Barss Corner Character: Pool drop, river-run
Gauge: Water Guage Contributor: Karl Vollmer, Lukas Dee, Dave Dunne

Hazards

Access

Put-In

Wentzell Rd

Take Out

Cookville Provinicial Park

Named Rapids

Gauge

Media

2 - West Branch

rural river run, gorge
Class: II+/III+ Length: 11.5km
Location: Midvill Branch Character: Gorge/Pool drop
Gauge: Water Guage Contributor: Karl Vollmer, Lukas Dee, Dave Dunne

Hazards

The crux move of this river comes right after a easier double drop and at highwater can have significant retentive holes. There is minimal time between the two to recover and get out of the river so care should be taken at higher water levels, even if you’re planning on walking Kayak Falls.

There are also a number of trees in/near the river so blind corners should be scouted to make sure there isn’t new wood since the last flood.

Access

Put-In

Upper Branch Rd Put in at the bridge, there is almost no parking available here, we were able to fit one car at the put-in. Take care to make sure it is all the way off the road, and not blocking the view from someones driveway.

Take Out

Cookville Provnicial Park. There is plenty of room for 2-3 vehicles here. The take out can be identified, as it is just after you pass a large house with solar panels on river left, with significant river infilling with rock, which is a striking difference from the normal shoreline.

Named Rapids

Hirtle Falls II-

This is a serious of small Class II rapids with large boulders, as the water drops this could become more like going down a pinball machine.

Double Drop II+

After the right takes a lazy right turn just as you come out of the boulder garden there is a gentle double drop of about 1-2ft per drop. At mid-levels there were no observed significant hazards beyond shallow rocks. Pick your line and have fun

Ledges III-

After a series of S-turns in the river comprised of small Class I/II rapids you wil come to a calm section with a horizon line. This is the Ledges. This rapid can be scouted from the road as you are driving up to the put in. At mid levels this is a realitivly safe 2-3ft drop/slide following by a 4-5ft drop. There are multuple lines available. There can be a significant consequence if you swim here as there are very few places to get off the river between Ledges and the crux rapid Kayak Falls. Care, and potentially safety should be setup.

Kayak Falls III/IV

This is a four ledge drop just after a hard right turn in the river. Each Ledge is 2-3 feet high with about 10-15ft between them. At mid-to-low runable levels there are multuple lines, with one of the safer ones being staying far river left all the way down. This should be personally scouted every time as depending on levers there can be significant partial or river wide holes. At the low end of runable there was a signifcant river right on the 3rd ledge with a boil line ~6ft away from the drop, this should be run with care.

Darrs Falls III

Near the end of the run the west branch merges with the [Main Branch]/south-shore/main-branch/ at Darrs Falls below the only hazard in the falls and makes for a really fun finally to the run, especially at higher water

Gauge

This uses the LeHave Gauge. At flood levesl the class of the main rapids significantly increase, as such significant care should be taken if you are running it at or near flood conditions.

Media

3 - Argyle River

Tidal river, near yarmouth
Class: II Length: Park’n’Play
Location: Gleenwood, NS Character: Tidal feature
Gauge: Yarmouth Tides Contributor: Matt Delong

Hazards

As this feature is run on the ebb there is some risk of being flushed out into lobster bay, however there are numerous islands / locations to get off the water as you are flushed out. Proper group rescue skills and incident management should mitigate most if not all flushing risks. The feature only works as the water is starting to get shallow so there is some risk of hitting rocks near the eddy line on river left. If you paddle above the bridge pillars there is also potentially a significant risk of pinning especially in a sea kayak – due to it’s length. Care should be taken to avoid pin risks, and a pin kit should be available, and multiple group members should be comfortable with it’s use. Either eddy (especially river right) provides ample opportunity to exit the flow if swimming for experienced swimmers, but should not be depended upon.

Access

Eddy access to the feature is best from river right however the preferred parking location is on the west side at the end of old oak road. As always please be respectful of the location and make sure not to obstruct the road or damage the surrounding property.

Gauge

The feature forms during spring tides, the low tide level must be below 0.6m as measured from Yarmouth. The wave forms on the ebb ~3.5 hours after high tide in Yarmouth.

Media

4 - Cooks Falls

Multiple ledge drop river
Class: II/III Length: Park’n’Play
Location: Bridgewater, NS Character: Multiple ledge drop
Gauge: Water Gauge Contributor: Karl Vollmer

Hazards

Cooks falls is a series of Ledges in close proximity. The primary hazards are holes on each ledge, and fishing gear on River Left during the fishing season. This rapid is easily scouted by parking in the parking lot and walking up and down the shore. At the levels we’ve observed river right has always been a safe path down. At higher levels a large hole appears on river left that looks retentive, and should be avoided.

The primary risk in cooks falls are the rocks in the bottom, it’s often shallow and on river right the final drop is deep but a large shallow rock is a few feet downstream, so if possible being upside-down should be avoided.

Access

You can park your car in a parking lot across from Here. There is a slippery path down to the water there. There is a second area just above the falls that isn’t technically a parking lot, but you can drive up and drop the boats there to avoid the carry.

Gauge

use the Lehave River Gauge. Its runnable above 1.3m with some scraping.

Media

5 - Gold Gorge

Gold gorge
Class: II,IV Length: ~2km
Location: Chester Basin NS Character: Gorge, Constricted
Gauge: 40mm+ rainfall in New Ross Contributor: Karl Vollmer

Hazards

The top two rapids have very deep pools under them, which do technically have under-cuts, at high water levels they should be four to five feet below the water level, and less of a concern, but they do exist. There are also minimal places to rescue, or get out of the river after the top drop until the very end of the gorge – making for a very long and rough swim if you capsize early.

Access

Put-In

Beech Hill Rd. There is a small pull-off and a path down to the water here. This puts you in above all of the main rapids, you can paddle down and then eddy out right right to scout the gorge before running it.

Take-Out

Old bridge Rd. This road is easy to miss so slow down as you approach, there is room for 3-4 cars at the bottom in a small parking lot.

Gauge

The gold river doesn’t have a gauge, so levels have to be guessed from rainfall, and general moisture in the ground. The water-source for the gold is up in New Ross so rainfall amounts in Kentville/New Ross can be used as an estimate. Usually 24-48 hours after heavy rain in Kentville the gold gorge will be up.

Media

6 - Indian Falls

Indian Falls provincial park
Class: IV Length: Park’n’Huck
Location: Indian Falls provincial park Character: 15ft waterfall
Gauge: Water Gauge Contributor: Karl Vollmer

Hazards

The entire River middle to river left section of the falls has exposed rock, and an unfriendly ledge at the base. In addition to the unfriendly entry there is a small pocket that a kayaker could easily get trapped in at the base of the falls, during the summer at lower water swimmers get stuck in the pocket eddy. At high water it may be possible to exit without external aid. Shore safety including live bait is highly recommended when running this drop.

The drop should be run river right along the slide with some lateral momentum to avoid getting pushed into the small eddy pocket on river left

Access

During the open season you can park your car at the parking lot less than 200m from the falls and walk in. During the off season, when the levels are likely to be sufficient for running the falls the gate to the park will be closed, so you will have to carry your boat about 500m down the road to access the falls. There is limited parking in front of the gate, room enough for 2-3 vehicles at most.

Gauge

use the Lahave River Gauge. It is runnable above 2.1m

Media

7 - Medway River

Pool drop, and Park’n’Play in Greenfield NS
Class: I - IV- Length: 5km and Park’n’Play
Location: Greenfield NS Character: Remote, Pool Drop
Gauge: River Gauage Contributor(s): Karl Vollmer

Hazards

The Medway river is a series of pool drops with very few continuous rapids or hazards. The section normally paddled is between Greenfield Nova Scotia and Buggy Hole a few Km downstream. At Greenfield on river left there is significant concrete and re-bar from an old mill in the river. The suggested put-in is below this obstruction. You can put in under the bridge at Greenfield but should ensure that you do not approach river left.

Depending on the time of year there can be fishing gear in the river, wood eel weirs and fishing platforms have sometimes been left in the river creating strainers. Some of these features can take up most of the river. While you are often able to spot this hazards long before they become a problem, it’s advised on any blind rapids to scout ahead first to ensure new fishing gear hasn’t been placed in the river.

At Bangs Falls there is concrete and some wood on river left under the bridge. It’s advised to stay river right under the bridge. This hazard is easily identifiable from upstream, but care should be taken at higher water levels as a swim at Perfect wave above the bangs falls ledge drop could drift into this dangerous area.

Bear Falls is the next major hazard on the river, and one of the few higher classed rapids on the river. It has multiple lines during almost all water levels. Fishing equipment is sometimes placed in this area so it should always be scouted before running.

Access

PUT IN

Taking care to stay to river right you can put in at the bridge in Greenfield, there are also numerous land-owners who have graciously allowed paddlers to launch from their river-side property in the past. Please contact local paddlers for more information.

DO NOT park in anyone’s driveway, or along anyone’s road. There have been issues where a paddlers car has obstructed access for emergency vehicles. Please reach out to the local paddlers for more information, and safe parking locations.

TAKE OUT

1 Hour Run: For a very short river run you can take out on right at Bangs Falls just after the bridge.

2 Hour Run: For a medium run you can take out after Bear Falls on river left. Do NOT approach Bear falls on river left as there is a large dangerous hole from river centre to river left. For all but experienced paddlers it’s suggested you portage around the falls from river right, and then paddle back over to river left below the rapid. There is a campground on river right which provides an easy portage path.

3 Hour Run: For a long run you can continue on from Bear Falls down to Buggy Hole about one km downriver. The take out is on river left in the pool just after the rapid where the road abuts the river.

Gauge

CKNS and MetOcean are pleased to offer Nova Scotia paddlers real-time water levels of the beautiful Medway River. The Medway River is a 75 km river in Queen’s County, with a medium-volume stretch of class II/III whitewater between Greenfield and Buggy Hole. This section is home to popular play features such as Perfect Wave and Fisher’s Hole, and well-travelled rapids Bangs Falls, Bear Falls and Buggy Hole.

The river level is measured in real-time using a custom made gauge built for us by our friends at MetOcean. The gauge uses satellite communication and ultrasonic technology to send data to the CKNS website conveniently available to you on your computer or smartphone.

The gauge was built by MetOcean engineer and local paddler Leigh Woltman . The gauge installation was aided by the generous volunteer efforts of local paddlers Karl Vollmer and Dave Dunne. In other words this is a community project that was completed by paddlers for paddlers, with generous help from CKNS and MetOcean!

The gauge is available at http://whitewaterns.ca/gauge/

Named Rapids

Mountain Falls Class II+ @ Highwater

An easy class II rapid comprised of a series of wave-trains. This is the first rapid you meet after leaving Greenfield. Little to no manoeuvring is required. This rapid is formed where the river narrows and bends to the right. It’s suggested to stay River Middle as on occasion trees have been observed on the edges. There is one more unnamed section of Class II water after mountain falls. There are large pools in-between them allowing time to deal with any upsets.

Perfect Wave Class II-

This is a small ledge directly above the Bangs Falls ledge, within view of the Bangs Falls Rd. bridge. At all but the highest water levels this is only passable on river right. River left of this feature is a very large eddy. This feature is one of the three primary play-boating features on the river. At most levels this is a wave feature that can fit 3-5 play boats at one time with direct eddy service. The neighbouring eddy is very large and can easily hold 20+ paddlers unless the river is in flood.

This feature is not recommended for beginners as if you come out of your boat you will likely have to swim over Bangs Falls and then over another small ledge under the bridge. A swim here is not hazardous, but the nearest easily accessible eddy is about 30-40m downstream on river right.

Bangs Falls Class III-

This rapid is the ledge drop just above the Bangs Falls Rd Bridge. At any but very high water this feature is only passable on river right. Directly below this feature is a hazard on River left under the bridge, so even at high water this feature should be run on river right.

Bridge Wave Class II

This is a small ledge/constriction created by the bridge just below Bangs Falls. The wave can be dropped in on from above, or accessed from below by paddling up directly behind the centre bridge pillar. When approaching this from above care should be taken that you do not pass under the bridge to river left of the right-most pillar, as there is concrete/re-bar and other hazards on river left under or directly after the bridge.

This is the second common Play-boating spot, it’s easily accessible from above or below the bridge on either side. This feature is primarily a steep wave, but at some water levels you can get a small hole at the surfers left of the feature.

Fishers Hole Class II

About 75m downstream from the Bangs Falls bridge is another small ledge drop, with a small play feature in river centre. There is a wooden bridge leading out to the play spot, this bridge is not in the river and is not a safety concern, but allows you to easily access this rapid from river left.

This feature is a hole, at optimum water levels it is deep enough for loops and other advanced play-boating moves. Swimming here is low risk, there are small Class I/II waves directly below it before it settles out into a pool. There is a large eddy river left of the feature. If you do swim and fall below the eddy it’s easiest to take out on river left and walk back up, but it is sometimes possible to attain back up the river.

Bear Falls Class III/IV

The most significant safety hazard on the river Bear Falls should be approached with caution. There can be fishing platforms and gear placed directly below the falls so it should always be scouted by taking out on river right and walking through Bear Falls camp-ground.

The most common line is the Sneak Route located on river right between two small shrubs. This feature can safely be done by most any paddler it is very low risk and pushes you into the eddy on river right at the bottom. At lower water your boat can hit rock, so swimming could result in minor injury, but the entry for the line is very simple, and requires minimal manoeuvring.

There are multiple other lines between the Sneak Route and River centre that can be run depending on the water level. They should all be scouted and relevant safety should be set-up. River left should be avoided at almost every water level due to a strong and retentive hole extending from river centre all the way to the bank on river left. River centre’s holes can be retentive at some water levels so care should be taken when running the centre line.

Buggy Hole Class III

This feature is located a little less than a kilometre below Bear Falls where the river jogs to the right and then takes a hard left as it comes up against a large slab of rock that extends most of the way across the river. The easiest line on this rapid is to simply maintain a position river centre and punch through the various holes and wave-trains. None of these features are retentive, and it ends in a calm pool so even a swim down the centre of this rapid is nothing more than a roller-coaster ride. If you are off-centre to river right there are some large boulders which could be hazards, make sure if you are going to come in contact you lean towards the boulder to prevent any possibility of pinning. In past runs these boulders have had large pillows on them, but that may change depending on the water level.

There is a Class III ‘move’ that can be quite fun. As you approach the rapid charge river right aiming for the edge of the large rock forming the bend in the river. There is a small (4-5 boat) eddy behind this rock protected by a eddy fence that can be upwards of 2 feet tall. If done properly you will launch into the eddy dropping 3-4 feet. Exiting the eddy can be complicated as there is a large boulder directly below and it often has a very significant eddy fence. This move is so fun, often we portage back up to run it multiple times.

Media

8 - North Branch

rural river run, below Indian lake
Class: II+ Length: 8km
Location: New Germany/Barss Corner Character: Gentle, remote, river-run
Gauge: Water Guage Contributor: Karl Vollmer, Christopher Ball

Hazards

At lower water this is a friendly river with only one rapid requiring some maneuvering, however at flood levels the river flows into the trees, and there are often trees that fall across the river creating significant hazards. Extra Care should be taken if it hasn’t been run in a while, or right after, or during flood levels. Scouting of blind corners should always be done. This river is also relatively remote, as there are few cottages along it’s banks, limiting access to help.

Access

Put-In – Full Run

Cornwall Rd Put in at the bridge, there is no parking available here, the private land owner who owns the driveway doesn’t mind if you put your boat in, but do not leave your car here.

Put-In/Take Out

Half Run McKay Bridge. There is a larger shoulder here to park one vehicle, you can either put in or take out here

Take Out

Full Run McKeen Rd. There is plenty of room for 2-3 vehicles here. The take out is at a large tree with a rope swing.

Named Rapids

Salmon Chute

The first drop of note on this run and should always be scouted. It currently has some sweepers just around the corner after the drop so care should be taken if you swim, to swim away from the sweepers. You can usually eddy out river right if you’re quick. This all changes when the river is in flood. After Salmon Chute there are a series of Class I / II Rapids before you come to McKay Bridge.

Just before McKay Bridge the river flattens out and has multiple paths. The first ledge after McKay Bridge has some fun play features at non-flood levels. After the ledges at Mackay”s bridge, there is a slow moving section that leads into Cabin Drop

Cabin Drop

Cabin Drop (fancy’s pool), which should be scouted to make sure it is still clear of debris is a strait-forward rapid. It is a center river smooth drop with fun pools and play waves below. There is a sneak route on the right if you want to avoid the larger waves. After Cabin drop there are a few Class 0/1 rapids before coming to the next named one.

Black Rattle

This rapid is hard to scout due to the treeline and comes up rather quickly as you are coming around a bend to the right. You go first river right over the first drop, but then immediately get river left, then center for the last part of the run. This is definitely the most fun run on the river, and takes some skill to line up as you can’t just let the river take you or you’ll be over some big ledges. When the water is high, the standing waves at the bottom are big. There are several places you can eddy out and play, but the current is strong when the water is high.

After Black Rattle the remaining river is Class 0/1 all the way to the take out.

Gauge

Media

9 - North River

Rural creek with a slide
Class: III,IV Length: Park’n’Play
Location: New Germany, NS Character: Creek, Slide
Gauge: Water Guage Contributor: Kelsey Thompson

Nova Scotia has several North Rivers but New Germany’s North river takes the prise…for sweetest North river I guess. When all of the creeks in the Cobequid Mountains run dry many river running and creeking enthusiasts set their sights on the North. This short but quality run has it all, big water, a great slide, creek lines, and some nice beat down potential at high water. The various forks and channels make for a “choose your own adventure” style run that is sure to please.

Hazards

The run starts off with a good sized rapid and a couple of nice holes to punch. Shortly afterward the river splits into two separate channels, the left more of a creek style slide and the right more of a river running scoot. Afterward the two channels reconnect before splitting again at the next drop. This time river right brings you to a tighter more technical section of small drops and boogie water while the left channel holds the runs crown jewel. On the left channel you’ll find one of the cleanest slides in the province that is good to go at almost all levels when run center left. The last rapid is a short ways downstream and has a hole in the middle that can dish out a mean beat down at high flows. Either than that is relatively straight forward. Take out after this rapid.

Low water– class III (Below 2.5) High water class III+-IV

Although more of a river than a creek the North requires solid river skills and the ability to read more difficult whitewater. All lines should be scouted, and care should be taken especially during high water.

Access

Put In

North River The put in requires a decent amount of walking along a dirt road, so allow time for the hike in.

Take Out

North River Rd.. Take out on river left just before the bridge over North River rd.

Gauge

Anything below 2.4 on the gauge is likely extremely bony, and lacks sufficient water for the slide. As the water level rises the mid-sections will become less bony, but the rapids will also get more intimidating. 2.45 is a good level for a intro creek run.

Media

10 - Ovens Tidal Race

Mid-bay small tidal race
Class: SURF Length: Park’n’Play
Location: Lunenburg NS Character: Small Tiderace
Gauge: Tidal Contributor: Karl Vollmer, Simon Barter

Tidal race next to Corkums Island is surfable in a longboat just south of Lunenburg on the way to the Ovens Natural Park. The wave forms about halfway through the tide, and works on mid to spring tides. The small wave can be surfed by sea kayaks on the south side of the rock that splits the channel indicated by the location. The Blue Arrow is the direction of the current on the flood and points to the location with small standing wave.

Hazards

This is a very low risk tidal race that happens on the flood tide. If you swim it flushes to calm water inland. In the tide race the water is shallow so a helmet is a must and a tough paddle is recommended as you may hit some rocks.

Access

PUT IN

Next to Garrets Cove where the water is right next to the road provides the best access to this feature.

Gauge

Shortly after the tide starts coming in the waves should start forming up.

Media

11 - Roseway River

Indian Falls provincial park
Class: SURF Length: Park’n’Play
Location: Seaforth NS Character: Sheltered SE Point Break
Gauge: Surf Forecast Contributor: Matt Delong, Karl Vollmer

Hazards

There are the remains of an old concrete structre just past Best Drop, especially at lower water levels, or when swimming these can present a hazard. Scouting is recommended.

After the cottage wave there is a Hydro dam that must be portaged around. make sure to give yourself ample time to exit the river before getting too close.

Below the powerline rapids there is often significant wood, and trees in the river so make sure to scout all blind corners before continuing.

Access

PUT IN

196 Bowers Rd make sure that you don’t block the small rural road with your vehicle, or park on someones lawn.

TAKE OUT

98 lighthouse rd

Named Rapids

Bowers Run II/III-

Just after the put in, this short rapid leads up to best drop, you can safely takes this on river right, with plenty of space for eddy turns, at higher water levels you can increase the complexity of this rapid by attempting to duck’n’weave through the larger boulders river center and river left.

Best Drop III-

Should be scouted, high water there’s a sneak route river left that becomes sketchy as water level drops. Main chute can be easily run strait center line or right a river-right lateral movement to jump into the eddy just below the falls.

Mill rapids II/III-

Nearly no consequence this small series of ledge drops of no more than a foot or two can be run almost any way river right of center, however above the last ledge you can practice a thread the needle by starting left, cliping the top wave and then catching the current towards river center / river right.

Cottage Wave II/III- (Park’n’Play)

This rapid is around a corner where the river drops over a smooth nearly river wide rock, it does create a small recirculation at the bottom of the rock, this has never proven to be highly retentive, but it can hold a boat for 1-2 seconds after capsize at lower levels, it’s easy to boof over, and at higher levels starts to turn into more of a wave and less of a hole.

Power line II

After Cottage wave you must take out before the NSPower Hydro dam, you can take out river left above it and walk around it. Putting in below it there is a small play wave river centre, it can be accessed via the eddy on river left via the very long seem, it can sometimes require a bit of practice to ride the seem all the way back to the centre of the river, this rapid continues until the Highway 103 Bridge. below the Dam the river will fork you want to take the far right channel first.

Stairway II

The rapids after the HW103 bridge, the river will fork just past the bridge, take the far left. There are sometimes small surfable waves with eddy access along this route, water level dependent, just keep your eye out and catch them as you can, none of them are road accessible and thus not listed as park’n’play, they are also primarily front-surfing only.

Harbour rapids II

Just before the Harbour the river will branch again into three sections, we take the centre branch as it has the most water, but there has at times been logs, or trees across this last section as it’s littered with rocks, so care should be taken and blind corners should be scouted especially after any flood events, or significant water level drops which may uncover previously submerged logs. This rapid is a series of wave trains, small drops and minor manoeuvring.

Gauge

Media

12 - Tom Tigney

Short park’n’run creeky river along the highway
Class: II,III Length: Park’n’Run
Location: Sable River, NS Character: Creek
Gauge: Weather forecast Contributor: Karl Vollmer

Hazards

This is a small creek run with minimal hazards, beyond those normally found in a class II/III environment.

Access

PUT IN

Park alongside the road and you can walk up to the top of the rapid via a trail running along river left.

Gauge

This is a very flashy river, and is usually only up after heavy rainful. Best caught when traveling to/from Shelburn for other reasons.

Media