Chiganois River

Rural creek
Class: III - V Length: Park’n’Play
Location: Debert, NS Character: Remote, Creek
Gauge: Water Guage Contributor: Kelsey Thompson

The Chiganois only has a few drops on it but they are some of the nicest in the province. There are two branches, both have been run but the west branch is the one you want to put on. Putting on the East Branch means dealing with almost no water for quite a while before reaching the waterfalls that are at the confluence. The best option is to put on the West Branch and then hike up to the waterfalls on the East Branch once you reach the confluence. It’s a short and easy hike and is well worth the effort, especially if there’s no snow in the woods.

Above the confluence the West Branch of the Chiganois has a few minor class II drops. Once you reach the confluence you can see the two waterfalls that you’ll be hiking up to. These two drops are about as clean as they come. The first is a 15 foot auto boof into a huge pool. The second is a smaller wider eight foot drop. After this drop the two branches meet and float downstream until you reach Sam Higgins Falls. This is one of the best sections of whitewater in the province. The falls consist of four main drops, each of which have a pool in-between them with each pool getting smaller the further downstream you travel. To scout/portage the falls get out on river left on the corner of the river bend. The portage is steep and can be fairly difficult, It’s possible to scout the fist two drops from river right as well.

The first drop is a small ledge and the easiest of the four. Boof on the right. The next drop is a slightly more complicated ledge that is best run on the left. From here many people portage the next drop. The entrance is a tight s-turn with a hole in the middle of the second bend. This is closely followed by an off vertical drop where the majority of the water pushes into a wall, this is the crux move of Sam Higgins. Once through this drop a short pool follows into the finale. A narrow entrance with vertical rock walls on both sides opens up into a great drop that is best run on the right.

From here you have a few kilometers of class I to paddle to the take out. Be aware that near the take out there has been barbed wire across the river in the past. This is located beside a cow field and can be difficult to spot so stay alert.

Difficulty: The majority of the rapids are class III-IV with the hardest being class V. Paddlers should carry all appropriate safety equipment for a more remote day as access to roads once in the river gorge can be difficult.

Hazards

Access

From Halifax– Take Highway 102 North to Truro. From there take Highway 104 West towards New Brunswick. Take the Debert exit (exit 13), turn right towards Debert on Macelmon Road. Turn right on Plains Road toward Belmont. Turn left on Belmont/Masstown Road, the river will be on your right. Turn right on Graham Road and park on the side of the road, this is the take out you should be able to see the river down a hill to your right. Drop a car here then continue up Belmont Road towards the putin. Stay right on Upper Belmont Road, turns to dirt road. Stay right at fork. Put in on tiny feeder creek, sometimes it looks like a ditch.

From New Brunswick– Take Highway 104 East to Nova Scotia. Take the Debert exit (exit 13), turn right towards Debert on Macelmon Road. Turn right on Plains Road toward Belmont. Turn left on Belmont/Masstown Road, the river will be on your right. Turn right on Graham Road and park on the side of the road, this is the take out you should be able to see the river down a hill to your right. Drop a car here then continue up Belmont Road towards the putin. Stay right on Upper Belmont Road, turns to dirt road. Stay right at fork. Put in on tiny feeder creek, sometimes it looks like a ditch.

Gauge

Great Village River Scribble Hill. This isn’t directly linked to the Chiganois but is in the area and usually a good indicator. Anywhere above 1.4 is run able but not ideal, 1.5 and higher is perfect.

Media


Last modified May 26, 2019