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, Lukas Dee


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.



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. If you are putting in at the Bangs Falls bridge do not walk up the driveway on river Left (by the Dry Hydrant). Please use the driveway next to the church on river right and stay on established trails. The Pinsky’s who live there have give us permission as long as we are respectful, and do not damage their property.


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.

4+ Hours Run: For a full day run you can continue down to Charleston, this lets you experience the following additional rapids. Little Salmon Falls, Rocky Falls, Black Rattle, Glode Falls, Poltz Falls, Hemlock Run, Salmon Falls, Island Falls, Salters Falls.


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

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.

Little Salmon Falls:

After a longer section of flat water following Buggy Hole, the river flows between multiple little islands. The main current leads you to a small narrowing where the are a few standing waves and a rock wall on river left. The eddy that is formed by the rock wall can give good access for surfing the waves at the right level.

Rocky Falls:

Once you are through Little Salmon Falls, you will already be able to see the horizon line where the river narrows again. This is Rocky Falls, one of the longest rapids on the Medway. With good water reading skills this rapid can be paddled without scouting, although care should be taken as there are some large features towards the end of the rapid that can dish out a mean beatdown. River center is the most straight forward with some maneuvering. Scouting is easiest on river right.

Black Rattle:

After Rocky Falls a meandering section of river, leads to a left turn. A long series of standing waves and scattered boulders stretch approximately 250 meters down the river. This is the Black Rattle. No scouting is necessary as you will be able to see all the way to the flat section below. Some boulders turn into holes at high water.

Glode Falls:

About 1km down from Black Rattle is Glode Falls. As the river turns slightly to the right the road appears on river right. A small series of waves and rocks leads into a ledge where larger waves and holes are formed. Center-Right is the most straight forward where most of the water flows and with sufficient speed all features can be punched through. On river right there is a large boulder that looks like it forms a cool eddy to boof into, although after looking at it from below, you will be able to see a piton rock hiding just behind the boulder. It is known as Parrott’s Piton. This rapid will need to be scouted as there is a fishing station set up on river left, and fishing gear can find it’s way into the main current. Easiest way to scout is stopping on the shuttle drive as the road is next to the river here. If on the water, getting out on river left and walking along the road is also very easy.

Poltz Falls:

After Glode Falls a long paddle across flatwater, where snacks and good friends help keep spirits high, leads you towards a narrow section of river that splits as it wraps around an island. Both channels are fun yet quite different in character. River left is more mellow, although there are two ledges along the island that create eddies to hop into. They are similar to the Buggy Hole eddy move, but a bit smaller and more forgiving. At high water the eddies can become sticky holes. River right has more water flowing through it. Large standing waves and a few holes create fun features to either punch through or play in. At the bottom, the two channels merge back together and the river flattens out again.

Hemlock Run:

Two wide sections of river which are connected by a short burst of faster moving water as the river splits and narrows around another island. Not much of a rapid to speak of, but river right will be the shorter option.

Salmon Falls:

The second wide section of river will narrow again abruptly as it enters Salmon Falls. More standing waves form and become rather large in size towards the end of the rapid. At high water the river becomes quite confused as it flows out of the rapid, and can

easily catch out a paddler who has let his/her guard down too early. At lower water a large boulder sticks out at the bottom of the rapid and should be paddled by on river left.

Island Falls:

Shortly after Salmon Falls, the river turns right and narrows again. A long series of ledges and boulder gardens are split up by small islands in the river. As you enter the rapid there is a standing wave on river right that is super fun to surf. Eddy access on river right makes catching the wave fairly easy. Read and run your way down the rest of the rapids that stretch for about 750 meters when including the last two ledges that take you past Oak Island.

Salters Falls:

After you’ve paddled another section of flatwater, you will join up with road again where it crosses a small tributary over a bridge. The river narrows and flows over three main ledges. The first one leads into a large wave train where the paddlers with enough energy left can grab a good surf. There is a boulder towards the end of the wave train on river left that marks a large eddy where paddlers can take a look at the features ahead. As the wave train flattens out the river drops over the second ledge. This ledge is best paddled river center and the paddler should be ready to do some fast maneuvering to avoid multiple large and sometimes sticky holes. Paddling past the holes the last ledge creates a series of smaller and more confused wave trains. The takeout is now just a few paddle strokes away.