Broadback River: James Bay Highway to Waskaganish (8 days / 140 km)

This trip report summarizes the final 8 days of a 23-day expedition done along the Broadback River, from the James Bay Highway to the town of Waskaganish on James Bay (140 km). This section is characterized by large whitewater, great fishing, and relatively few portages.

We were a group of experienced canoe guides looking for a fun challenge. We had 3 fully decked tandems and 1 tandem with airbags. I’d recommend bringing the skirts if you’d like to run more whitewater. We were on the water in late August and had high water levels for that time of year. We had a great time and even paddled on James Bay under the Northern Lights!

Trip Completed: August 2020

Trip Summary

Starting Point: James Bay Highway

Ending Point: Waskaganish

Total Distance: 140km

Duration: 8 days

Difficulty: Expert

Note: This is a remote and challenging whitewater with many long rapids that can be difficult to scout. Water levels are hard to predict but tend to be lower in August. Lower water can make this trip easier. We paddled the Broadback in high water conditions.


The Broadback River flows through Northern Québec into James Bay. The closest town is Waskaganish.

Traditional Territory: This route is in the traditional territory of the Cree Nation, and is governed by the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Regional Government today.

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: We are not aware of a guidebook covering the Broadback River.

Map: WGS 1984 18U & 17U, and this map with campsites by Carte Plein Air

Permits: No permits are required. Given the circumstances due to Covid, we communicated with members of the community prior to committing to the trip, organizing our shuttle, and entering the community.

Outfitters & Shuttles

We organized our own shuttle and gear. Normally (when there isn’t a raging global pandemic), you can call the Waskaganish Cultural Centre to ask if there is someone who can help with shuttles. 

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