Spring creek info

Caution! Paddling on spring runoff, rivers and creeks, can be extremely hazardous due to cold water, cold weather, rapids and/or debris floating in the water ie. ice, logs, fences etc. For this reason an intermediate to advanced paddling skill level is recommended. The information presented on this website is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered or used as a guide for the described river/creeks.

Eagle Creek

Distance: 23 km
Time: 6 hours approximate
Put in: Eagle Creek Regional Park
Take out: Ed & May Scissions Environmental Center
Water levels: Eagle Creek is completely dependant on snow melt and therefore flows only in the first week in April, after that the water level drops off dramatically. There is a Saskatchewan Watershed monitoring station on the creek but it does not provide real time data so an alternate system to gauge water levels has been devised. Highway 376 passes over the creek just down stream from the regional park, check the level here. Count the number of boards visible from the water to the underside of the bridge. 14 boards indicates a good volume of water, 17 boards indicates a lower volume of water but still adequate to paddle on.

Getting there:
To the put in, from Saskatoon drive West on highway 14 for 37 km, turn north onto highway 376 and travel a further 20 km to the Eagle Creek Regional Park turn off.

To the take out, from Saskatoon drive North West on highway 16 for 22km, turn west onto grid 784 (the first left after the weigh scale) and travel a further 35 km.

Character of the creek
Eagle Creek finds it's way through rolling coulees and pasture land, at times cutting deep into the high banks, which provides a stark contrast to the flat prairie. Erosion is evident along its entire length and in many places buffalo bones can be seen protruding from the eroding bank. Another interesting feature are all the rapids and riffles along its length. The rapids are not overly difficult but it is recommended that novice paddlers should be paired up with more advanced paddlers. Caution must be taken when running the rapids, if a boat tips over the water is extremely cold and it can be a long way to a warm vehicle. Be sure to pack a change of clothing just to be safe.

Eagle Creek

Torch River

Distance: 25 km
Time: 8 hours approximate
Put in: Recreational area north of Love
Take out: White Fox bridge
Water levels: The Torch River gets the bulk of its water from Candle Lake. There is a dam at the mouth of the river, which controls the water level. In the spring the Sask. Watershed Authority opens the dam in preparation for the melting snow pack. It takes about a week for the water to make its way down to the stretch of river north of Love. There is a water monitoring station on the river but it doesn't provide real time data. The Sask. Watershed Authority can be contacted for flow rates. 25 - 30 cubic meters per second is ideal for paddling. For the past 4 or 5 years the water has stayed high due to a deep snow pack and lots of rain in the area so paddling in August or even September isn't unheard of but typically late May is the best time to go.

Getting there:
To the put in, from Saskatoon drive 274 km to Nipawin, from there take highway 55 to Love (16 km), turn north at love and travel another 19 km, then turn west and follow the road to the river (6 km) The final 1 - 2 km can be very muddy when it rains.

To the take out, from Saskatoon drive 274 km to Nipawin, from there take highway 55 to White Fox (8 km), continue north to the Torch River bridge (5km).

Character of the river
The Torch River is diamond in the rough. We are very lucky to have such a great little whitewater river so far south. It's a fun and easy whitewater river, and a great place for novice paddlers to work on technique and build skill and confidence. The river winds it's way through the aspen parkland and is lined on both sides with tall banks and stands of trees. At times it really feels like a wilderness river. There are a ton of great whitewater features on the river, long stretches of easy class 1 rapids with lots of boulders to dodge, surf waves to play on and sections of current to practice front and back ferries in. If you're not into white water there are always easy chutes clear of rocks to make your way down. Water levels on this river are important, if the water is too low you'll spend a great deal of time dragging your canoe over rocks and beaver dams or if the water is too high, it will wash out all the whitewater features. So picking the time you paddle on this river is essential. Caution must be taken while paddling this river due to the cold water. Even in late May the water can still be cold because of the fact that it is snowmelt water.

Torch River

Red Deer River

Distance: 27 km
Time:
Put in: Hudson Bay Regional Park
Take out: Highway 3 bridge
Water levels: The Red Deer River gets the bulk of its water from snowmelt with its peak water level in May. There are no monitoring stations on the river.

Getting there:
To the put in, from Saskatoon drive 331 km to Hudson Bay, from there take highway 9 south to the Hudson Bay Regional Park.

To the take out, from Saskatoon drive 331 km to Hudson Bay, continue for 13 km to the bridge that goes over the river.

Character of the river
The Red Deer River is a great river for paddling, provided there is enough water. It twists and turns its way through a small valley. The river is wooded on both sides giving it a pleasant feel. With little to no rapids, the Red Deer River is a great river for novice paddlers looking for a mini adventure. Deer, Elk and many species of birds can be seen from the water as you float by.

Red Deer River

Makwa River

Distance: 5 km
Time: 2 hours approximate
Put in: Bridge over the river
Take out: Marked landing
Water levels: The Makwa River gets the bulk of its water from snowmelt with its peak water level in late April to early May. There are no monitoring stations on the river.

Getting there:
To the put in, from Saskatoon drive 296 km to Meadow Lake, from there take highway 55 North, shortly after leaving Meadow Lake the road will curv to the West. Turn North on highway 4 and travel 6.5 km, then turn West. Travel 14 km to a bridge that passes over the Makwa River.

To the take out, from the put-in. Travel a further 100 m west from the bridge and turn North . Follow this winding road for 4.5 km until it makes a sharp turn to the left. Park at the corner
where it turns left. In the spring the ground is too wet to drive a vehicle down to the river so leave it on the side of the road. There is a foot path which makes it's way from the road to the river.


Character of the river
The Makwa River is diamond in the rough. We are very lucky to have such a great little river so far south. It's a fun and challenging whitewater river. Your day on the river will start with a run through the culvert which passes under the road! The outflow from the culvert is a good place to warm up the skills needed for the rest of the trip. The river winds it's way through the aspen parkland and is lined on both sides with tall banks and stands of trees. At times it really feels like a wilderness river. There are a ton of great whitewater features on the river, stretches of class 2 rapids with lots of boulders to dodge, surf waves to play on and sections of current to practice front and back ferries in. Water levels on this river are important, if the water is too low you'll spend a great deal of time dragging your canoe over the rocks, if the water is too high, it will wash out all the whitewater features. So picking the time you paddle on this river is essential. Caution must be taken while paddling this river due to the cold water. Even in May the water can still be cold because of the fact that it is snowmelt water. The takeout is just before the river joins the Beaver River. However, the Beaver River cannot be seen from the takeout, so if you reach it, you have gone too far. At the takeout there is a black cable strung across the river, and a grass area on river left. Note that some distance prior to the takeout, there is a yellow rope strung over the river, so don't confuse these. From the takeout, walk across the grass area to a vehicle trail. Follow the trail to the left, starting diagonally up the steep bank. Keep an eye open for a foot trail on the right that leads straight up the bank. Follow the foot trail when it is found, to the top of the hill.

CAUTION: Due to the culvert at the beginning, many strainers and the challenging rapids, this river is not recommended for novice paddlers!

 Makwa River

Waterhen River

Distance: First section,8 km. Both sections, 48 km.
Time: First section, 2 hours approximate
Put in: Bridge over the river
Take out: First takeout, snowmobile trail. Second takeout, the Dorintosh bridge.
Water levels: The time to run this river is from late April to June. There are no monitoring stations on the river.

Getting there:
To the put in, from Saskatoon drive 296 km to Meadow Lake, from there take highway 4 until you get to highway 55. Turn north, follow this to highway 26 and turn north again. Follow this road to Goodsoil and then to the bridge over the Waterhen River.

To the take out, if you are paddling both sections of the river the takeout is at the Dorintosh bridge. The quickest way to get to the dorintosh bridge is to take the grid road to Dorintosh, about 3.5 miles south of Goodsoil. there are two sections to this river. If you are only paddling the first section the takeout can be tricky to find, from the town of Goodsoil, go 1/2 km south until reaching the Waterhen River Road. Follow this road 4.5 km East until the road turns South with a trail continuing straight. Follow the trail headed straight East for a short distance (200 m) until it deadends at a trail coming from the South going North. Follow this trail North for a little more than one km, until there is a fork in the trail. The right fork is to be followed. Continue down this trail through a gravel pit until reaching the river (200-300 m). Note that sections of this trail were very wet in 2007 you might not want to take a vehicle down the last section as it is quite steep.

Character of the river
The Waterhen River is a great river for bird watching. The river winds its way, lazily, through the forest, we saw many swans, on the water and flying overhead. The Waterhen River is a shallow waterway with a rocky bottom and clear water. A watchful eye is needed to pick out a clear route through the many shallow rapids. While on the water you'll notice a constant elevation drop as you paddle. This drop contributes to a good current. The best time to paddle on this river is from the end of April to June. The first take out is on the river right, just as the river widens and a couple of islands can be seen in, the not too far, distance. Around a point you will see a very large beaver lodge just off of the shore. The take out is behind the lodge. There may also be a small snowmobile trail marker at the edge of the trees. The Waterhen is a good river for those who have a novice skill level.

Waterhen River

Whitefox River

Distance: First section, 19 km. Second section 14 km.
Time: First section, 4 hours approximate
Put in: Garrick bridge.
Take out: First takeout, Love bridge. Second takeout, Whitefox bridge.
Water levels: The time to run this river is mid to late May. On April 20th, 2007 the river was flowing at 116 m3/sec and had dropped to only 11 m3/sec by May 10th! Obviously the water levels on this river drop fast. So picking the right time to paddle this river is critical.

Getting there:
To the put in, from Saskatoon drive 285 km to Choicland, from there take highway 55 to Garrick. Turn south, follow this for 6 km untill you come to a bridge that passed over the Whitefox River.

To the take out, From the put-in, drive north 4 km, turn right and travel 16 km, turn south and travel 4 km to the Love bridge. From the put-in, drive north 4 km, turn right and travel 16 km, turn south and travel 4 km to the Love bridge. If you are continuing on with the second section of the river. From the put-in travel 6 km north back to highway 55. Turn east and travel 17 km. The take-out is the bridge that passes over the Whitefox River. Map 73H8 shows a picnic site on the north side of the highway, which may be used as the take-out. I haven't paddled the second section of the river so I can't say if there is access to the water from the picnic site.

Character of the river
The Whitefox River is a great little river. Its elevated banks create the feeling of seclusion and provide shelter for a wide variety of wildlife. The Whitefox River is a major corridor for wildlife. In the afternoon that our group spent on the river we saw moose, elk, deer, eagles, bear tracks, turkey vulture and what we think was an osprey. This is a small river but during spring flood it carries a large amount of water. Caution must be taken in choosing when to paddle this river. At its peak the rushing water may be too strong for novice paddlers to handle safely. Adding to the danger is a large number of strainers, a few of which nearly span the entire river.

White Fox River

Garden River

Distance: 6.5 km
Time: 2 - 3 hours approximate
Put in: Small bridge just off the grid road
Take out: A gravel bar on the river left side, where the Garden River flows into the North Saskatchewan River.
Water levels: The time to run this river is mid to late April. Water levels on the Garden drop fast. The window for running this river is only a couple of weeks.

Getting there:
To the put in, from Saskatoon drive 230 km north to Prince Albert, from there take highway 55 North East. Turn East four km past the pulp mill on the Cycil Ferry road (grid road 465) Drive East for 11 km. You will drop down into the river valley and the river will be easily seen from the road. There are two bridges for putting in. They are both seen from the road.

To the take out, From the put-in, continue east on the road and up the hill. Turn South or right at the first grid road you come to. Follow this for a ways. It will turn to a dirt trail then end up in a farmers field.

Caution! The dirt roads can be very wet and muddy. There is a very good chance you could get stuck.

Character of the river
The Garden River is great little river with high banks. . It flows through agricultural land and forest and in sections the banks are high and steep giving it the feel of a wilderness river. This river can be a very challenging paddle for the novice canoeist. It drops more than 90 feet in less than 6 km’s. This drop produces a good deal of current that erodes the outside bend of many twists and turns producing sweepers around every corner. It was reported that the day after we ran it a large sweeper had fallen across the entire river.

Due to the tight maneuvering and many sweepers this river is not recommended for novice paddlers. Intermediate or expert skills are required.

Garden River

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark, Thanks for posting the spring creek info, this is great stuff. I was thinking of doing Eagle Creek and drove out too take a look at the water level tonight (April 19th). The creek level was at 11.5 boards... do you think it will be at reasonable levels (14 or more boards) in 4 days this weekend, or should I wait until the following weekend? I am not sure how long these higher water levels stay in Eagle typically. Will be my first time down and doing it solo so don't want too many surprises. There was some pretty large waves downstream of the takeout bridge. Thanks again for this posting. Thorsten

Wildpaddler said...

Hi Thorsten,

I'm not sure how much experience you've got but I do not recommend paddling spring runoff creeks solo. The water is very cold and if you end up in the water it could be a long cold swim. There are other dangers as well, a few tricky sections with some pretty good rapids so if your white water skills are not up to pare you could get your self into trouble. There are also barbed wire fences that run from the shore down into the creek. I don't even want to imagine what would happen if a person got caught in one of those. Bottom line is I DO NOT recommend paddling any of the spring run off creeks alone. Too bad for the short notice because there is a group of paddlers going out first thing tomorrow morning to paddle it.

Mark

Fire me an email if you have any other questions

ganjamonster said...

Hey Mark, do you happen to know of any resources that will help me to find someone to explore the rivers with in the Regina area? I posted an ad on Kijiji, which received exactly zero response. I don't want to go out alone, any suggestions?

Thanks

Wildpaddler said...

hey ganjamonster,

I would check with the local paddling club or outdoor shops. They usually will know of people that get out and paddle on the rivers. Some of my contacts have been gained this way. The best is if you can get local knowledge of the river you are interested in. I have a network of people in central Sk that watch the water levels for me. They give me a call when the water is flowing and a small group of us drop what we are doing and head out for a paddle. Many of the contacts we just happened to meet while on the river or arranging the vehicle shuttle.

If you find some great spring creeks around Regina please let me know about them. I'm sure I could put together a group of people that would come down to paddle them. We have been known to drive many hours one way to paddle a really good spring creek. Unfortunately we don't have much snow north of Saskatoon this year, so it's likely that none of the creeks will flow this year.

Mark

Clint said...

Hi Mark,

Great site. Really interested in paddling Eagle Creek for the first time this spring with my son ... any reports on whether its going to run this year?

Cheers,

Clint

Wildpaddler said...

Hi Clint,

It is unlikely that Eagle Creek will flow this year. There simply wasn't enough snow. I have to offer some words of caution, I don't know what your skill level is but I don't recommend paddling Eagle Creek if your skills are lacking. Some of the rapids are a bit tricky but the real danger are all the fences that run down into the water. Last year I counted almost 20 of them. One of them spanned the entire creek and can be very dangerous. I don't want to think about what would happen if a boat tipped just before one of the fences.

Young Benjamins said...

Has anyone checked out Eagle creek this year yet? I might go look on the weekend if I dont hear back.

Thanks

Ralph

Brent Clark said...

My brother in law says its the highest he has ever seen it. So we are going on Sunday.

Young Benjamins said...

Has anyone checked eagle creek this year? I might get out to check the water level later this week.

YB

Young Benjamins said...

Eagle creek was 17 boards at the put in point yesterdayAlmost time to go

Young Benjamins said...

Yesterday we canoed Eagle Creek on what appeared to be a beautiful day for a paddle. The water level in the creek was 16 boards at the put in point, the temperature outside was +17 and the watershed authority website showed eagle creek flowing at 13 m3/s. I paddled the creek last year and was ecstatic to do it again. The first quarter of the journey went very smoothly although there were large blocks of ice along the shorelines at certain locations. The second quarter leg of the trip saw us encountering about 10 ice jams that we had to portage around. Some of these ice blocks were the size of a truck and over a foot in thickness. At one location the ice was completely intact and the maximum stream flows seen over the weekend had deposited fine grained mud on top of the ice as the water flowed over top. At approximately the half-way point of the trip we encountered the fasting flowing section of the river so far. At the bottom of these rapids, which were flanked on both sides by rather steep cut banks, was a very intimidating barb wire fence. The fence must have been built last year in anticipation of high spring flows so the lowest of four barbed wires was entirely above the water level. We crashed into the cut bank, filled with water and jumped ship. The next 10 minutes was a battle to drain the canoe and drag it up the muddy hill without being swept into the fence. This fence was built using steel fence posts which stood 4 feet above the 4 feet of water in which we tipped. If the significant ice that was flowing through the creek had not removed those fence posts then they are here to stay. If I was canoeing with my girlfriend, as I did last year, I guarantee I would have lost my canoe and maybe worse. Yesterday we got lucky and we dragged everything to the grid road over the next hour and got a ride. Mark, consider removing Eagle Creek from your blog.

zeppelin7171 said...

Anyone know more about this barb wired fence? Am hoping to go this weekend and we're novice paddlers. A heads up on GPS co-ordinates would be helpful.

Young Benjamins said...

zepellin 7171 I can send you the coordinates as a kmz file for google earth.

zeppelin7171 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Polly said...

Went Yesterday. It was great. The fence that is in question is half washed away and was easy to pass. Also found a canoe along the way. If you think it may be yours, please tell me the model and some description.