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“Our trip on the Magpie River with Boreal River Adventures has to be rated as our favourite. It had everything you want in a wilderness river experience: exciting whitewater, great campsites, and incredible scenery.”

Michelle, Magpie trip participant

Magpie River Adventure

Experience 9 days of incredible nature and world class whitewater rafting, explore charming fishing villages and culture of Quebec’s Cote Nord region and learn about local Indigenous culture and history.

Alongside a local Innu guide, a Canadian Geographic Ambassador (on select Canadian Geographic trips) and multiple Boreal River guides, you will feel rejuvenated from this unique immersion in nature.

$7,585 (CAD, per person)
Book Now

Upcoming departures
2023: August 19 – 27 | 2024: August 17 – 25
Have a group of 10 or more?
Custom trips and experiential education programs of 7 to 9 days start at $3,900/person.

5.0
Based on customer reviews

Find challenge and relaxation

Whether you’re traveling in a group, alone, or with your family, whether you’re age 10 or 78, we ensure that each guest experiences the adventure they like. You can paddle in an expertly guided raft or for even more adventure, you can navigate your own inflatable kayak.

“Thrills and relaxation, gourmet meals and breathe taking scenery. Oh, and a very cool helicopter ride!”

Tara-Lea, Magpie trip participant

Backcountry experience on the Muteshekau Shipu

We will access the Muteshekau Shipu (Magpie River) by helicopter or float plane and spend the week in the backcountry. You’re sure to spot a rich diversity of birds, catch some fish and if you’re lucky, see some northern lights! Bring your camera, your canvases and your journals.

Experience the river with Canadian Geographic Adventures

Your Canadian Geographic Ambassador

Travel with a Canadian Geographic Ambassador and see for yourself why this trip has been recognized as a uniquely Canadian adventure!

Stay tuned for announcement!

Your Cultural Guide

“The Magpie is like therapy,” Lydia Mestokosho-Paradis says. “You find calm there. You reenergize. It’s a time to reflect.”

Read more about Lydia

Lydia Mestokosho-Paradis

Details at a Glance

This trip is 9 days and 8 nights. Join a ‘scheduled departure’ with Canadian Geographic, or contact us for custom trips.

departs from

Departs from

Sept-Îles, QC
group size

Group size

Up to 12 (or bigger for private groups)
dates

Dates

2023: August 19-27 (Canadian Geographic)
| Private groups welcome for 2023 and 2024, July- Sept
activities

Activities

Raft, kayaraft, swim, learn whitewater and camping skills, eat delicious food

Activity level

You don’t need any river experience, but you need to be able to swim and be in good enough physical condition to do outdoor activities such as hiking and paddling for a full day
Remoteness: Very remote, fly-in-only
Physical activity: Active
Whitewater: Class II – III

Who’s this for?

This trip is designed to be accessible to a wide range of participants—from total beginners to seasoned river trippers.

We’ve had guests in their late 70s on our Magpie River Adventure and as young as 10 (supervised by a guardian). It’s a trip for almost anyone who is active outdoors and who feels comfortable doing the following:

  • Spending a full day outside with 6 to 8 hours of moderate activity like hiking and paddling (with rest breaks, of course)
  • Stepping in and out of the raft and getting out of a tent
  • Swimming
  • Lifting 10kg bags
  • Going on an hour-long moderate hike

You don’t need previous whitewater experience. You can opt-in or out to several side hikes—and you can increase the whitewater challenge if you choose to kayaraft (solo inflatable kayak) or paddle-board some sections of rapids. Participants looking for a more relaxing adventure can enjoy the larger and more stable rafts.

River Safety

Many people think of whitewater as extreme. In fact, whitewater is predictable and we have a lot of control over the rafts and how we navigate the rapids. The most important factor is our instructors’ years of experience, training, and knowledge of the river. We know the Muteshekau Shipu very well, and we can safely guide you down this river.

Safety practices

  • Guide credentials: Our instructors have extensive and industry-leading safety credentials and certification. Every trip has a minimum of 2 guides with Wilderness First Responder (an 80-hour medical course) and Whitewater Rescue Technician certification—As well, many of our guides also teach those disciplines!
  • Emergency plan: Every trip has an extensive safety plan with marked evacuation routes, off-trip support people and emergency communications protocols.
  • Emergency communication devices: guides carry a satellite phone and an InReach messenger device and locator beacon. They are always carried in separate waterproof containers in different boats.
  • First Aid: Each trip carries an extensive first aid kit, river safety equipment, and an AED (defibrillator).
  • Risk reduction: All activities are ‘challenge by choice’. It is up to you if you want to participate in a given activity and we can help you make that choice based on your skills and comfort.

Of course, river travel and whitewater paddling have inherent risks. We ask that you read through and sign our Liability Release Form before you arrive.

Please contact us if you have questions about safety. It’s one of our specialties and we enjoy talking about it!

What to Expect

A five-star experience

Whatever your reason for joining us, this journey is the perfect balance of challenge and relaxation. We guarantee an amazing river rafting experience.

Our trips are all-included, meaning that you won’t be surprised with extra costs along the way, and we’re not skimping out on quality!

  • Flying or driving to Sept-îles is easy and convenient for travellers like you. You’ll be meet at the airport (if you choose to fly in) and all your shuttles onwards will be taken care of.
  • Everyone in our group will be staying at the Chateau Arnaud Hotel in Sept-Îles on the trip’s first night (day 1) and for one night upon our return (day 9). This hotel is fantastic, clean and quiet! Staying at the same hotel on the first night limits travel-related issues from delaying our trip and gives us a nice buffer of time at the end so you don’t miss your flights home.
  • You’ll fly to Lake Magpie by helicopter, which is more reliable than by float plane.
  • You’ll be provided with a top-of-the-line tent to yourself, inflatable mattress and pillow so you don’t have to spend on those expensive pieces or wonder if your decade-old mattress will deflate over night.
  • All meals from day 2 breakfast to day 9 breakfast are extravagant, locally-sourced, and push the boundaries of backcountry cuisine. Drinks (2 alcoholic beverages per day) are also provided.
  • A local Innu guide comes on every trip with us. We couldn’t imagine rafting down this river without them! If you’ve booked the Canadian Geographic Magpie Adventure, a Canadian Geographic Ambassador will also be on our trip.
  • Boats (each trip has guided rafts—and we also bring along inflatable kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUPs), paddles, and related accessories). We also bring basic fishing equipment! Check out the full list of gear that is provided by Boreal River in the “what to bring” section below.

We also operate at a maximum 4:1 participant to guide ratio, and in addition we travel with an Innu guide and a Canadian Geographic Ambassador.

You’ll have a five-star experience throughout, like all our participants in the past!

What’s not included

We’ve tried to minimize additional costs, but wanted to offer some additional options for you:

– The 2 nights (first and last) at the Chateau Arnaud Hotel in Sept-Îles is booked at double occupancy. If you are travelling alone we’ll pair you with another traveler of the same gender. If you would prefer your own room, the single supplement is $295 CAD plus tax.
*Note: you will be provided with a tent to yourself while we are on the river.

-We encourage you to bring your own sleeping bag, but you can also rent a high-quality sleeping bag from us. Contact us for details.

– Quebec fishing permit – you can purchase this at a convenience store near the hotel in Sept-Îles

Keep in mind that the following are also not included:

  • Travel between your home and Sept-Îles, Quebec
  • Personal clothing and some camping gear. See ‘what to pack’ below for what you need to bring
  • Day 1 dinner in town: sample the local fare—you’ll have options from fine dining to fast food within walking distance of the hotel, before or after our 6:30 p.m. welcome meeting
  • Travel Medical insurance and Trip Cancellation insurance
  • Any costs associated with your emergency evacuation from the trip, if needed (your insurance should cover this)
  • Any additional expenses or costs incurred as a result of delays to the trip caused by factors beyond our control – i.e. wind, unsafe flying conditions, forest fire, etc.
  • Optional: Guide gratuities (recommended at $15 to $18 per day, per guide).

Itinerary

On your 3-day Gatineau river adventure

Your planning for this trip should be easy: you just need to get yourself to our meeting location with outdoor clothing and we take care of the rest.

Check out all the lists below. Remember for clothing: it’s best to avoid cotton and denim. We highly recommend Merino wool for all underwear, socks, base layers, and mid-layers.

As always, if you have any questions give us a call or send us an email. We’re here to help.

  • Your professional guides are always available (maximum 4:1 participant to guide ratio) and will adjust the skill level of the activities to fit your abilities and interests.
  • All ground transportation between the meeting location and the location of our boat-launch.
  • 2 nights fully guided camping — your guides will make sure you stay warm and comfortable.
  • All meals and snacks from day-1 lunch through day-3 lunch—amazing and locally-sourced food! Please let us know your dietary preferences.
  • We bring enough wine and beer for two drinks per person per night.
  • 25 minute online learning (optional, to complete beforehand)—you can do it on your phone—covering river hydrology and whitewater safety principles

    Equipment provided:
  • Inflatable whitewater kayak (self-bailing) and kayak paddle
  • Raft and raft paddle
  • Wetsuit (4/3 mm)
  • Helmet and PFD (lifejacket)
  • Large drybag (to store your camping gear and extra clothes)
  • Tent – you get a tent to yourself unless you’re a couple or want to share
  • Comfortable sleep system (high-quality inflatable mattress and pillow). You can rent a high quality sleeping bag from us or bring your own.
  • All kitchen equipment, including water-purification and handwashing system.
  • Group shelter
  • Composting toilet where you can have privacy and a great view

What’s Not included

On your 3-day Gatineau river adventure

  • Travel between your home and our meeting location
  • Personal clothing and some camping gear. See ‘what to pack’ below for what you need to bring
  • Day 1 breakfast before our scheduled meeting time.
  • Any additional expenses or costs incurred as a result of delays to the trip caused by factors beyond our control – i.e. wind, unsafe flying conditions, forest fire, etc.
  • Optional: Quebec fishing permit – you can purchase this at a convenience store in Maniwaki
  • Optional: Guide gratuities

What to bring

The weather and water temperature in the summer on the Gatineau river are warm.

We’ll provide you with a wetsuit (4/3mm) that you can wear if you want to. It’s a good idea to bring at least one complete layer of merino wool or synthetic clothing to wear under your wetsuit

Bring two sets of clothes and footwear: one for on the water and hiking, the other for evenings at camp. Remember: avoid cotton—it doesn’t dry and doesn’t insulate when it’s wet.

Please also bring a pair of surf shorts or quick-dry shorts to wear over your wetsuit—they’ll help protect our wetsuits when you sit!

Packing list for camp

  • Sleeping bag, rated to 10°c or below – you can rent one from us for $79 CAD
  • 1 pair of shoes (old running shoes or closed toe clogs—something to keep your feet safe and dry)
  • 2 or 3 pairs of thermal socks (1 or 2 different weights is a good idea)
  • Undergarments (synthetic or Merino wool)
  • Lightweight t-shirt (synthetic or Merino wool)
  • Lightweight long-sleeve shirt (synthetic or Merino wool)
  • Lightweight ‘quick dry’ long pants (synthetic or Merino wool)
  • Thick fleece or wool sweater
  • Top and bottom medium-weight synthetic or wool long underwear
  • Rain gear top and bottom
  • Toque (wool or fleece winter hat)
  • Sun hat
  • Small quick-dry towel
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Sunscreen, lip protection, and insect repellent
  • Water bottle, 1 litre
  • Sunglasses with strap
  • Prescription glasses with strap if necessary
  • Toiletry kit with biodegradable soap and shampoo as well as personal medications
  • Optional: reading material, journal, binoculars, camera (waterproof or with waterproof case)
  • Optional: fishing rod with tackle and hard carrying case.

Packing list for the river

  • 1 pair of shoes for the river. The ideal river shoe is lightweight and draining yet supportive enough for walking on portages and scouting rapids, with a grippy sole. These can be lightweight running shoes, water shoes with a supportive sole, or sturdy sandals with toe covering (not crocs).
  • 2 pairs of thermal socks for the river: wool, fleece, or synthetic
  • Bathing suit / surf shorts—important to wear over the wetsuit that we will provide you to protect our wetsuit when you’re sitting
  • Lightweight synthetic t-shirt – Merino wool or synthetic
  • Top and bottom medium-weight synthetic or wool long underwear
  • Long-sleeved neoprene ‘surf’ top or long-sleeved medium-weight fleece top
  • Thick fleece or wool sweater
  • Thick fleece pants

General Packing

  • Clothes for the trip home
  • Personal medications and other personal items you might need

$7,585 (per person)
Book Now

Upcoming departures
2023: August 19 – 27 | 2024: August 17 – 25
Have a group of 10 or more?
Custom trips and experiential education programs of 7 to 9 days start at $3,900/person.

5.0
Based on customer reviews

Why travel with Boreal River?

Boreal River has been specially selected as a Designated Travel Partner by Canadian Geographic for our consistent 5-star reviews and quintessential Canadian adventures.

We have over 10 years of experience in planning, designing and leading trips that support sustainable, local and small-scale nature-based tourism.

Most of the Boreal River Adventures guides are also rescue instructors with Boreal River Rescue. Our guides literally set the standard for river safety in Canada.

Have a private group?

Contact us to book a group of family & friends, colleagues, or students for a private or customized trip.


“Truly an experience of a lifetime. My now fiancé looks at pictures and wishes that he knew me back then. We have promised that one day we will go back and do the trip together!”

Mary, Magpie trip participant

What are people saying about Boreal River?