Noire River: Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage (5 days / 150 km)

Trip Reports - Noire River

The Noire River is a very special place for me because it is the first river I have ever paddled when I was 12 years old with my dad and my sister! Depending on water level, the river usually flows at about 3 miles per hour, is fairly narrow giving you the feeling of being deep in the wilderness, is filled with beautiful sand dunes and has beautiful sets of white water.

Trip Completed: July 2021

Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage
Noir River Rapids
Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage
Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage
Noir River Rapids
Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage
Noir River Rapids
Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage
Hell Portage
Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage
Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage
Saw 4 moose and 1 bear
Hope Depot to Aventure Riviere Sauvage

Trip Summary

Starting Point: km 175 Hope Depot

Ending Point: km 25 Aventure Riviere Sauvage

Total Distance: 150 km

Duration: 5 days

Difficulty: Moderate to advanced due to the long 30 km days and more technical rapids in the upper part of the river.


This route takes place on Crown Land in Quebec.

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of  Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ –  Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin)

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley – Hap Wilson

Map: The best and most reliable maps are from the FQCK, but for the details of each rapids, Hap’s maps in his guide book mentioned above are awesome. (Note that the km markings on Hap maps will differ from the Federation Quebecoise de canot et de kayak)

FQCK Maps:

Noire River Full Detailed Map

Km 83-25

Km 175-83

Campsite Reservations: Crown Land for the most part but you do go through a ZEC and the outfitter will charge you an amount per tent per day but there are no assigned campsites.

Permits: No if you go through the Outfitter. He will do it for you. If you go on your own you will have to contact the ZEC. See the maps above for the information.

Know Before You Go

Season: This river is navigable at many levels but, although we experience high water that year, it is usually at moderate levels during the months of July and August.

Cell Reception: None

Water: You will have to purify the water from the river.

Wildlife: I have never heard of any animal issues on the Noire River but it certainly is black bear and moose territory. I have seen both.

Waste: You have to carry out your own waste. Even at the outfitter, I can’t remember if they allow you to throw out your waste but it is way more curious to leave with them! There are no thunderboxes on this route.

Outfitters & Shuttles

Outfitter / Shuttle: We used Aventure Riviere Sauvage for the shuttle. We had all of our own gear but they do rent plenty of equipment.

Trip Report

Day 1: Hope Depot (KM 175) to KM 144

Shuttle: Around 3 hours and 15 minutes

Distance: 31 km

Time: 6 hours 58 minutes

We met Aventure Riviere Sauvage at 8 am at their parking lot right by the put-out at km 25. After loading up the shuttle we were on the road at 8:30 am and the shuttle ride was about 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Once at the put-in, there is about 50 m of portaging all of your gear from where the truck can make it to the water. The put-in is a beautiful sand dune with easy access to the water.

Very easy paddling day. There is only one portage to complete at around km 150 where there is a 2-meter fall. The portage is on river left and it’s about 45 meters.

This section of the river is absolutely beautiful and calm to paddle.

Campsite: One of the many dunes around km 140

Day 2: km 144 – 104

Distance: 40 km

Time: 8 hours and 15 minutes

This was another easy day of paddling. Although long, there were no real obstacles. 

We ran a small Class I rapid at km 124 and a very small and easy Class II at km 121. Both of these were very simple to navigate and would be for any intermediate paddlers.

Campsite: Around km 104-105 there was a beautiful beach with an upper sandy ledge and camp in the backwoods.

Day 3: km 104 – 85

Distance: 19 km

When we woke up on the third day we were greeted with a bit of surprise. The water had risen about 2 feet overnight. A very important reminder to always tie in your canoe! The river would continue to rise all day and we experience by the end of the day what most people would call high water for the Noire River.

Once camp was all packed up, we jumped back on the river and started to paddle. The first major rapid of the trip named The Wall was just around the bend at about km 104-103. The Wall is a series of easy Class I and II with the last section of it being a technical Class III due to the manoeuvre you have to make. First run the small sets of rapids at the top and keep in mind that to scout the Class III section you will want to be on river left. There is a well defined portage trail of about 85 metres that goes around the technical part of this rapid. The Class III section of this stretch is a bit tricky because the river bends to the left and there is a significant train wave that you need to navigate and a few obstacles to avoid along the way.  

About a km down from The Wall you will hit your next Class I/II rapid. The McDonald Rapid is a fairly easy down the middle run.

Moving right along we paddled on until km 91 to Targie Rapid. The portaging trail is on river left again and depending on your comfort level you can always portage it all the way through (450M) or you can portage the first big Class III/IV hit at the top and put in just bellow (about 75M portage). The Targie Rapid starts with a good Class III/IV hit with a descent hole at the bottom and then continues with another set of Class III, Class II and a last Class III hit. It’s definitely a technical rapid but really fun to run if you have the skill set for it. Make sure to scout it properly. We ran it at high water and it was definitely impressive.

Just around the bed after Targie Rapid we came up to the Canyon Staircase. This set of rapid starts with an ok Class II/III, a small section of flat water then a series of ledges that YOU CANNOT RUN and finishes with a technical Class II rapid with a last Class III hit. This is definitely a bit tricky to navigate. The portages are all on river right and you can portage the entire section (Around 730M) or you can portage sections and run the rest. You MUST portage the ledge section. We chose, based on our paddling skills, to run the first sets of rapid abode the ledges which at the high water we experienced was a Class II. It is my understanding that at medium water levels it’s a Class III. We then portaged the staircase section which was about 150 metres and put in directly in the Class II below and finished down the piddle the final Class III hit.

At about km 87 we came across another Class II that we ran easily and paddled on to camp. We chose to camp above Mountain Chute because this is a very well known of the river that requires quite a lot of energy to get through and we wanted to be well rested. 

This was certainly a challenging day. Lots of scouting, some small portages and the put ins, depending where you chose to go, can be a bit tricky jumping directly in rapids. The camp site above Mountain Chute was great.

Campsite: Camped at the campsite just above Mountain Shoute. Great spot campsite but not the kind of swimming area you may have been used to by now. 

Day 4: km 85 – 48

Distance: 37 km

We woke up fairly early so we could be on the water close to first light on the next day, for we had a big day ahead of us.

The Mountain Chutes section needs to be studied, scouted when on site and depending on water levels you may choose to do something very differently then we did. There are portage trails that go from the camp site all the way around the entire section. It’s a very challenging portage. Probably one of the hardest I have ever done and sections of it required us to lower our boats down a cliff side with ropes and pulleys. Depending on how much of this section you will choose to portage you can portage up to 1.3 km.

We chose to run the initial Class II above the falls and kept river left to make sure we don’t miss the put out to the portage trail just above the falls. This section, at the level we ran it, although a bit scary because of the consequences of the fall below, was actually easy. We then started the Hell Portage. It’s only about 200 metres but it’s narrow, bendy with lots of obstacles along the way and ends with a very steep cliff side that you will need to use ropes and pulleys to lower your canoes and yourself down. It’s very doable just take your time and be careful. The put in below the actual fall is also quite brutal. Rocky ledges and right into a Class II rapid. Make sure to allow for a decent amount of time to go around Mountain Chutes.

A couple of kilometres down this run you will come up to Islet Rapid at km 83. This is another interesting set of Class II, Class III/Ledge and a Class II finish. We chose to portage the Class II at the top and Class III/ledge and put in just above the final Class II. The portage trail in on river left and is not the best either.

Right after you put in, about 500 metres down river you come across the Ours Rapid, a Class IV rapid that you do not want to run. The portage trail is on river left and you can portage either the entire section or you can just go around the major Class IV hit, which we did, and run the final Class II section of it.

Mountain Chutes, Islet Rapid and Ours Rapid are all within 5 km of each other and it’s very physically demanding to get through. There aren’t many opportunities to camp in between them to break it up so just account for it in time. We started as early as we could and were below Ours rapid at about 2pm.

At km 79 you come across a small Class III but for us because of water levels it was pretty washed out. The rest of the paddle until km 48 was very easy. No real obstacle. On the map you will see a Class I/II at KM 61 but again it was washed out for us. Then at km 49 you will come across another Class II that was very easy for us again due to water levels. About 1 km down from this last rapid you come across the 50:50 Rapids. The portage trail is on river right and the campsite at this location is pretty amazing. We chose to empty our boats at the top of the rapid since we were planning on camping there and run this really fun Class III rapid empty. We made it to camp just before dark so we didn’t want to take any chances with our gear.

This was one of the longest days on water for me ever. It was very challenging and I would definitely recommend splitting it into 2 different days.

Campsite: Rapid 50:50 campsite. Beautiful campsite in the bush right by the infamous 50:50 rapid. 

Day 5: km 48 – 25

Distance: 23 km

Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes

The last day of this trip is also very fun with a good combination of Class II and III and all the portage trails are really well travelled. 

The real first obstacle you come across is at km 41. The portage trail is on river right but it was a pretty easy rapid to get through at the water level we had. For us the real first obstacle of the day was Manitou Rapid at km 39. This rapid is a fairly long technical Class II. The portage trail is on river right and you can portage all the way around it. 

You then paddle a few hundred metres and you come across your last Class III of the trip, Jam Rock Rapids! The portage trail is again on river right if you choose to go around it. Jam rock is a one hit drop that is super fun to run.

The rest of the river from here on to km 25 is a series of very easy swifts, Class I and occasionally, depending on water levels, Class II. You can navigate this last section very easily and run every rapid.

The take out is at km 25 right after the bridge. There is a concrete staircase that brings you up to the road and right across the road is the parking lot of Aventure Riviere Sauvage.

Trip Video


With proper guidance and depending on water levels, the Noire river is the perfect river for a first white water wilderness adventure. Everything down from km 83 of the river is really accessible. All the rapids have well defined portages and there are plenty of camp grounds all along the river.

From km 175 to 83, I would say that it is a moderate to advanced level river. You will need a bit more physical stamina to go through the portages (especially hell’s portage), the rapids are more technical and the portages are less travelled.

We took 5 days to travel from km 175 to km 25. We averaged 30 kms per day but had a 42 km day. We were pressed for time and wanted to travel a longer section of the river so we just went for it but completing those 150 kms in 7 or 8 days would be a much more relaxing and in some ways more enjoyable trip, IF, you enjoy relaxing on your canoe trips!

Author Bio

Marty Morissette. Online content creator. Push your limits | Create Memories

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