WHITE WATER IN QUEBEC CANADA, White water rafting in Quebec is quite an adventure and the little-given Pontiac region is a natural playground for a Quebec rafting adventure.

As nature suckers, my hubby Eric and I love the Pontiac’s region of spectacular wild beauty so much that in 1989 we moved then.

We’ll noway tire of its timbers, undulating cropland, rushing chute chute and tranquil lakes.



Pontiac lies in the Outaouais (pronounced Ooo-Tah-Ways) and known as West Quebec is a region of Québec.

Because we also enjoy city life, we find Pontiac’s proximity to the nation’s capital, Ottawa and its twin city Gatineau further enriches our lives with nearby urban activities.

With Ottawa being less than an hour’s drive away from our farm bordering Gatineau Park and Pontiac region, it means that flying into that city, renting a car and heading out is easy.

Pontiac is a sprawling territory where small villages dot the landscape.

Some are located on the Ottawa River, which is renowned for world-class whitewater rapids as well as kayaking, canoeing and stand-up-paddle boarding.

white water rafting quebec
Paddling in a quiet bay of the Ottawa River near HorizonX. Photo by Eric Fletcher

What complicates the definition of Pontiac precisely is that it refers to both the Municipality of Pontiac in Outaouais and also Pontiac County.

Both areas offer excellent paddling opportunities.

Where to go?

Here are my top picks, covering the adrenaline rush of whitewater to the serenity of paddling still, clear lakes.


This mighty Ottawa River forms the boundary between two Canadian provinces, Ontario and Québec.

Unsurprisingly, several outfitters along its Pontiac’s north shore specialize in whitewater rafting, plus kayaking, canoeing, and SUP-ing.


white water rafting quebec
White water rafting Ottawa: The Ottawa River is the boundary between the two provinces, so there are plenty of rafting adventures within driving distance from Ottawa.

Esprit Rafting Adventures was touted as “Best Outfitter on Earth” by National Geographic Traveller magazine.

After several watery experiences both in Pontiac and abroad with owner-operator-guide Jim Coffey, we can say Esprit delivers quality adrenaline rushes with experienced, fun guides dedicated to sound eco-tourism principles like Leave No Trace.

Here in Pontiac, Jim offers two-channel day trips on the Ottawa River, canoeing, kayaking, a package of whitewater rafting and bungee jumping, day-trip rafting of the Petawawa River, plus in-your-face river boarding.

white water rafting ottawa
A Quebec rafting adventure is quite the adrenaline rush.

What’s that?

Doing the latter means you’ll grab a riverboard; don a lifejacket, flippers and helmet; jump into the rapids – and swim for it.

Seriously keen?

Take courses: Jim offers swift water rescue, raft guiding training, beginner kayaking, whitewater canoeing, wilderness medical training and more.


ottawa river rafting
Full moon on the Ottawa River transforms white pines to silhouettes. Sad to haul the raft out at the end of our full-moon rafting with HorizonX.

Top ten in my books is HorizonX’s full-moon whitewater paddling experience because it’s an out-of-the-world adrenaline rush.

Under the light of the silvery full moon, Eric and I paddled the raft with our group, secure in the knowledge that owner-operator-guide Martin Bertrand is a master at reading the rapids.

In his capable hands, we paddled a tranquil stretch of the Ottawa River, with moonlight transforming the surrounding forest to a silhouette of white pine framing our liquid world.

ottawa river rafting
Group time exposure during the full-moon Ottawa River rafting trip with HorizonX.

We disturbed an osprey (fish hawk) surveying its domain and, with a sudden spike to our heartbeat, heard the rushing rapids ahead.

Martin said, “We’ll stop in the eddy at the top left of the rapids to take a look,” which we did. “Ready?” he said, “Then, let’s go for it! Backpaddle!” he shouted!

And then, as the raft righted itself, “Now paddle! Paddle hard! Harder!” and we were off, into the dark tongue surrounded by frothing, raging water.

With his shouts spurring us on, we paddled as hard as we could and, screaming in exhilaration, we were through it.

Oh my.

Of course, HorizonX also offers daytime whitewater rafting, river boarding, kayaking, canoeing, plus lessons.


quebec rafting
Windigo, our canoe, in the early morning before we paddled down the Black River. Photo by Eric Fletcher

For canoe tripping on the Black or Coulonge rivers, Black River Inn Outfitters will not only rent canoes but outfit you for your experience.

They provide shuttle service to transport you, your boat and gear to the put-in point, and you can park your car at the very (very) rustic inn.

Both rivers have serious rapids.

Therefore, either know you need to be a wilderness whitewater paddler fully prepared for shooting whitewater, or sturdy enough to manage challenging portages or be able to line canoes downstream.

Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Then you may need a guide or to choose another set of rivers.


Or, simply rent a canoe and paddle for the day down the Black River’s tranquil section. Every year, Eric and I do this with friends – a lovely, easy paddle.


Artist Tina Michaud and her partner Jim Gibson – are owner-operators of a beautifully quirky inn called That Canadian Lodge, at Rapides-des-Joachims.

Now, before you try to pronounce that village… we English-speaking (Anglophone) folks have a tricky time with it, so that’s why everyone calls this Québec island settlement “Swisha.”

So, what’s to shout-out about?

Bring or rent your canoe or kayak and enjoy tranquil paddling, fishing, or take a workshop with Tina and paint the river landscape.

Watch for eagles, black bear, white-tail deer and other wildlife.

Nearby hiking trails mean you can explore the forested trails, find a pretty waterfall, and discover beaches along the Ottawa River.

Stay either in the lodge itself or rent a rustic, private cabin.

Whatever you choose, this lodge delivers down-home, no-frills yet wonderfully warm Canadiana back-country charm.


white water rafting Quebec
Have fun white water rafting Quebec or take the more sedate option of paddling in Gatineau Park to spot birds, such as this loon on its nest at Lac Phillipe.

Gatineau Park’s Philippe and La Pêche lakes are perfect spots to rent a canoe or kayak – or stand-up-paddleboard (SUP) and explore.

These lakes are easily accessible by car or bicycle from Ottawa/Gatineau and both Philippe and La Pêche have campgrounds where you can tent or stay in a yurt.

Rent a canoe or kayak from Ottawa’s Trail head or Mountain Equipment Co-op, then drive to the park’s other lakes where rentals are unavailable: Taylor and Meech Lakes.

What are you waiting for?

Discover why Eric and I fell in love with the Pontiac… come and explore our neck of the woods.

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