Catalone River

Catalone River run
Class: River Run Length: 15km
Location: Catalone/Myra Cape Breton Character: Wild & swampy with more trees than christmas.
Gauge: Visual, check from bridge Contributor: Denis Thibeault


The upper section has a lot of sweepers and strainers requiring portages. Beaver Dams also create adventurous situations. Road support is very remote and an evacuation would not be easy. There is a large swamp where deep channels disappear requiring slogging through chest deep swamp in spots, or jumping between swamp grass tussocks while dragging your boat. The lower section also has sweepers and strainer and one noteworthy canoe pinning rock garden squeezed between shore and a large fallen tree. There are also some broken canoes in the river to watch for and hunt camps along the way.


Put in: Big Hill Road / Shibinette Lakes: pull out trail on river left upstream side. Trail goes to Shibinette Lakes if one wanted to try starting at the real Catalone headwaters. Or put just in at the bridge. Find the Put in from Albert Bridge take Trout Brook road up along the Myra River to Big Hill Road. This is a steep road with switchbacks and marbles for gravel. The alternative is to drive the ATV roads from New Boston the back way to get to Shibinette Lakes trail/ Catalone River. The backroad shuttle is 7.5KM between New Boston Bridge and Big Hill Rd Bridge. Makes for a great mountain bike shuttle!

Take out (1)/ Recommended put in for short run: New Boston Road Bridge Take out (2) Why 22 Bridge. Park on River Left downstream side of the Bridge, high clearance vehicles can drive right to the river access. Paddle through the rapids after the bridge and take out on river left just before Catalone Lake. Take out (3) Catalone Gut if paddling Catalone Lake.

Emergency access: The upper is remote and emergency access would best be either up or down the river at most decision points. The Lower has a road nearby on river right side.

Named Rapids

Upper Catalone: 10KM

Lots of tight grade 1+/2 boogy water that get easily chocked up with sweepers, strainers, log jams and other christmas decorations. Immediately after the first tight section right from the bridge there is a calmer open section that is fairly smooth traveling. Watch for narrowing again, it’s a trick. You’ll come out to a large open swamp, the main current appears to veer river right, and it does. Then it does’nt. The swamp is approximately half a kilometer in length and about 250 meters at it’s widest. Veering away from the main current right at the start towards River left will set you up with the shortest swamp slog possible towards the next main current. Either way, be ready to slog through some swamp or hop from tussock to tussock for up to a few hundred meters until you find river again. After this particular swamp there are other braided sections but a clear path is more evident. Another open section leads to another narrow fun section then the river flows between several swamp lakes. Stay in the centre current or go explore the swamp lakes on river right or Fielding Lake on River left. Then cruise through more fun tight technical stuff all the way to the New Boston Rd Bridge.

Lower Catalone: 5.5KM

This section starts at New Boston Road and makes for a great evening or quick paddle venture from industrial Cape Breton. The Lower is just over 5KM. It starts off immediately with some fun easy grade 1+/2 rapids then rolls into a clear meandery swamp stream. There is a large swamp lake on River left at one point and the main flow is easy to follow river right. Watch for shallow beaver dams. Halfway through the river tightens up and the pace picks up. You will come to a spit with a small impassible channel river left and a main channel river right. You can scout from the island or shore. In the Right channel there is a large tree down from the island. This pushes paddlers into a river right technical grade 2 rock garden. Canoes have been pinned here. After the island garden the river continues through to the hwy 22 rapids. Take out on River left just after the bridge. Or paddle to the ocean through Catalone Lake.

Catalone Lake: It’s a lake.

Catalone gut: it’s a short snakey stream leaving the lake into the ocean at Mira bay Drive.


There is no gauge for this year, you need to visually check it from the Bridge.