Petawawa River: Cedar Lake to McManus Lake (5 days / 90 km)

Beautiful sceneries besides Petawawa River Cedar Lake to McManus Lake

The Petawawa River is a historical river in Canada, used in the past for moving logs from the logging operations in Algonquin Park and surrounding areas downriver to the mills. Fur trading, although done on this route, was less frequent, with fur traders electing to canoe the milder Mattawa River to the north. The Petawawa is currently used as a whitewater river with incredible rapids, waterfalls, and canyons over the 90 km it flows from Cedar Lake to McManus Lake. It cannot be canoed until its outlet as a tributary to the Ottawa River due to passing through a training range at the Petawawa Military Base. This river is best run in the spring when the water is highest, although it is still possible in mid-August. 

This trip was completed by myself (Erin) and my friend Maddy. We both work as wilderness guides for a summer camp, running week to month-long traditional self-sufficient whitewater canoe trips. We decided to do this route in the summer that the camp could not run due to COVID-19 concerns as partially a scouting mission but also because we couldn’t pass a summer without a canoe trip! 

Trip Completed: August 2020

Trip Summary

Starting Point: Brent Access Point (Cedar Lake) 

Ending Point: McManus Access Point (McManus Lake)

Total Distance: 90 km

Duration: 5 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Location: This route is located in the north and northeast part of Algonquin Provincial Park. The nearest town to the put in is Mattawa and the nearest town to the take out is Petawawa.

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of the Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin) peoples (source).

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: N/A

Map: Official Canoe Routes Map of Algonquin Park ($4.95). Note: We highly recommend using the Government of Canada 1:50,000 topographic maps. As well, the app “Avenza Maps” is also an incredible resource (free and paid geo-referenced maps that track your location ...

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