Imagine rafting on the pristine Magpie River
8 days—all inclusive—$5695 CAD tax included
The Magpie River is one of National Geographic's top-10 multi-day rafting rivers. You'll experience some of the best white water in the world. But we understand you are looking for more than just world-class paddling.
Whether you're traveling in a group, alone, or with your family, whether you are 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—navigate your own inflatable kayak.
When we stop for the night, you'll have plenty of time to relax however you like:
• Food, drink, conversation with the group
• Excellent trout fishing in the pristine waters of the Magpie
• Drawing, painting, writing, or photography—you'll be inspired by nature and if you're lucky, the northern lights
Whatever your reason for joining us, this journey is the perfect balance of challenge and relaxation. We guarantee an amazing experience.
Why choose the Magpie River for your next vacation?
Most accessible multi-day rafting trip in the world.
Fly to the Sept Iles international airport or even make it a nice road trip from the North East. Then we shuttle you just 90 minutes down the coastal highway to our helicopter, for the flight to Lake Magpie
Learn about local Indigenous culture and history from an Innu guide and how to bake bannock, a traditional bread. You'll also experience the charming coastal fishing villages and culture of Quebec's Cote Nord region.
Learn about the Boreal Forest from a scientist who joins each trip
Learn about the eco-systems, animals, and edible plants of the region. Even help out with some water sampling and other field research.
Smooth it, don't rough it.
This trip is a great mix of adventure: rafting, fishing, and hiking, and relaxation: comfortable camping, good food, and plenty of alone time. Enjoy individual tents and the Boreal River 'deep sleep' system.
3 reasons to join Boreal River
1 - Peace of mind policies
Two full-refund-weeks to sort out travel, a lifetime deposit if your schedule changes, and guaranteed departures
2 - Easy planning with pre-trip concierge service
A live Q&A video conference 6 weeks before we go, extensive gear list and rental options, and 24-hour response time
3 - Our business is safety
aren't just qualified, they're wilderness and whitewater safety and rescue instructors
Day 1 – Arrival in Sept-Îles and welcome meeting
We greet you at the airport and bring you to the seaside Chateau Arnaud Hotel. Depending on when you arrive, you’ll have free time until 6:30 p.m. to explore Sept-Îles. At 6:30 we have a kickoff cocktail and go over how to pack your drybags. Then it’s a dinner on your own. Within walking distance, you can choose between awesome pub fare with Quebec microbrew beers, high-end steaks and seafood (lobster, crab, scallops, shrimp are all fished locally), or the Quebec chip stand classic: poutine and milkshakes.
Day 2 – Fly to Lake Magpie and start trip
This morning we’ll get an early start before driving along the coast for about 90 minutes to our aircraft. Most trips use helicopters but small groups may fly on float planes. Both are amazing experiences. You’ll get a true sense of the immense wilderness you’re about to experience as you fly over lakes, rivers, steep cliffs, forested valleys, and barren hill-tops.
We start at the southern tip of the 100-kilometre Lake Magpie, just metres from the river’s start. Before getting on the water you’ll learn about river safety, practice strokes and raft maneuvers and then the whitewater fun begins!
We make camp after only a few rapids to ease you into the experience. The scenery changes several times throughout the trip and this first section is both spectacular and unique for its steep hills and mix of Boreal Forest and tundra-like open areas.
As we set up camp for the first time, we’ll show you how everything works, from your tent and sleep system, to the toilet and hand washing system, and the kitchen.
Once settled in, there’s time to get to know the river. Whether you want to try to swim through one of the rapids, or go for a 15-minute hike to a nearby hilltop with amazing views of the river, or both, Day 2 is designed to introduce you to #riverlife.
Days 3 to 5 – The river life: running the river and wilderness camping
Each morning the guides rise early to get coffee, tea, and fruit ready before preparing breakfast. After breakfast, we take down camp and pack up.
On the river, you’ll be delighted by how the continuous current tugs us along and how the scenery changes. Trees grow in stature as we descend the river and out of the highlands. Calm sections allow us to gaze at giant cliffs and we always scan the river banks for signs of moose, wolves, lynx, bear and osprey.
To ensure you get the challenge you’re looking for we bring multiple types of boats for you to try. From our guided rafts, to stand up paddle boards and inflatable kayaks, there’s the perfect boat for you. In the rafts, we paddle as a team and work on technique and coordination. For those who want more of a challenge you can use the inflatable kayaks; we’ll teach you how to charge down rapids and surf waves.
There are a few rapids that are too big to paddle. We’ll teach you how to ‘line’ (guide with ropes from shore) the rafts and/or do short portages to get around these.
Each camp on the Magpie has its own character and provides different vantage points of the river valley. We make our temporary homes on beaches, flat rock ledges and on the edge of the Boreal Forest. When we arrive in camp you change into dry clothes, relax with a book, take a swim, fish, practice your photography or help collect driftwood for a fire while our guides prepare a ‘happy hour’.
Our meals are delicious, wholesome, and plentiful. We cook sauces on a stove, grill meats and vegetables over open fire, and bake desserts in a Dutch oven. We use as many fresh, locally sourced ingredients as possible: produce from a greenhouse near Sept-Îles, organic Quebec farmed cheeses and meats, and wild caught seafood from local waters.
One of the greatest things about a river trip is how the group comes together. By day we work as a team to paddle the rapids and safely work through the obstacles along the way. At camp, with the leadership of the guides, everybody plays a part in making for a great trip. Every group is different because of the variety of people and experiences that come together. But we always share highs and challenges, moments of laughter and calm, and adventures that make for lasting memories and shared bonds.
Days 6 & 7 – Big whitewater and stunning falls
All of the whitewater practice and teamwork get put to use on Day 6 as we get to the biggest rapids on the river including ‘Chute des Femmes’, ‘Trust Falls’, and ‘Borealis’; big but super fun rapids that our team will guide you through.
Once we are through this section, our trip shifts from paddling whitewater to witnessing awe-inspiring falls and campsites. At Magpie Gorge, the river thunders through a canyon and tumbles over a series of dramatic drops.
We camp overlooking the gorge—this is undoubtedly a world class setting and the perfect way to enjoy our last evening and morning in the wilderness. There are a couple of hikes that we can do to gain different vantage points and take in the beauty and awesome power of the river.
Here we leave behind our rafts and extra equipment, while we take a forest path around the gorge and go for a short canoe paddle across a lake takes us to another spectacular location: the stunning 100-foot Magpie Falls. A beautiful mossy trail takes us to a breathtaking lunch spot amongst giant water-sculpted boulders at the edge of the drop.
From the Falls it’s a short paddle to the coastal highway where we’re met with a van that will take us the 80 minutes back to the hotel. On the way we’ll make a quick stop in a seaside village for souvenirs (cloudberry jam is a big hit).
Back in Sept-Îles you’ll have time to shower and get adjust back to ‘civilization’ before we meet for our farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day 8 – Good-byes and airport drop-off
After breakfast, we’ll drive you to the airport for your flight home. Alternatively, you can stay in the region to continue your adventure, which we would be more than happy to help you plan.Close
Boreal River provides all of the following with your trip:
- Your professional guides are always available
- We offer a maximum 5:1 guest to guide ratio. (The industry average is 8:1)
- An Innu interpreter and Boreal Forest ecologist
- All ground transportation and flights from Sept-Îles onwards:
- Get picked up (day 1) and dropped off (day 8) at the airport by your guides
- Helicopter or float plane flight to Lake Magpie
- Helicopter portage (equipment only) around Magpie Gorge and Magpie Falls
- Van shuttles to the helicopter (day 2) and from the river take-out back to Sept-Îles (day 7)
- Five nights fully guided wilderness camping—we'll provide you with all the necessary paddling gear, drybags, group camping equipment, your own tent and our deep sleep system, and any other gear you need you can rent.
- Two nights (first and last) at the Chateau Arnaud Hotel in Sept-Îles, 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 $120 per night.
- All meals and snacks from day-2 breakfast through day-8 breakfast—amazing food guaranteed! You’ll get to adjust your menu for your preferences (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) by picking your meals, or, if you prefer, leave it to us.
- We bring enough wine and Quebec microbrew for two drinks per person per day.
- Basic fishing equipment
What’s not included?
- Travel between your home and Sept-Îles, Quebec
- Personal clothing and some camping gear. See 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 and medical insurance
- Optional - Quebec fishing permit (can be purchased at a local convenience store before your flight to the river. Ask you guide and they’ll help you).
We know packing for the backcountry can seem complicated and be overwhelming if you’re not used to it. After all, the Magpie isn’t a Mexican beach and requires some specialty gear – but not as much as you’d think!
We’ve created the list below to help you get organized. You should note that sleeping bags and headlamps are available for rent if you’d rather not buy them. However, keep in mind that if used properly almost any gear you need to buy for this trip can last for years as your backcountry clothing or even your outdoor exercise gear. Just remember: No cotton or denim.
As always, if you have any questions just give us a call or send us an email. We’re here to help.
Equipment provided by Boreal River
- The Boreal River 'deep sleep' system:
- A three-season expedition tent—all to yourself if you are on your own
- A super comfortable mattress
- A full-size organic cotton pillow and plush pillow case
- A large drybag in which to keep all of your personal items
- A smaller drybag that will be accessible during the day in which you can keep your rainwear, sunscreen, etc.
- Whitewater helmet and flotation device
- Wetsuit, 'Farmer John' style
- Wind and waterproof paddling jacket
- All group camping equipment such as cooking and eating utensils, dishes, group shelters, etc.
Packing list for camp
- Three-season sleeping bag, rated to 0°c or below - you can rent from us for $115
- 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 (men ) (women)(synthetic anti-microbial is best; it dries quickly and keeps you clean.)
- Lightweight t-shirt (men’s) (women’s)
- Lightweight long-sleeve shirt (men’s) (women’s)
- Lightweight ‘quick dry’ long pants (women’s) (men’s)
- Thick fleece or wool sweater (men’s) (women’s)
- Thick fleece pants (men’s) (women’s)
- Top and bottom medium-weight synthetic or wool long underwear (men’s top & bottom (women’s top & bottom)
- Rain gear top and bottom (men’s top & bottom) (women’s top & bottom)
- Toque (wool or fleece winter hat)
- Sun hat
- Small quick-dry towel
- Small headlamp with extra batteries - you can rent from us for $25
- 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. We provide basic equipment but experienced anglers will enjoy using their own specialized gear.
Packing list for the river
- 1 pair of shoes for the river (women’s) (men’s). 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.
- 2 pairs of thermal socks for the river: wool, fleece, or synthetic.
- Bathing suit / surf shorts
- Lightweight synthetic t-shirt (women’s) (men’s)
- Top and bottom medium-weight synthetic or wool long underwear (Men’s top & bottom) women’s top & bottom)
- Long-sleeved neoprene ‘surf’ top or long-sleeved medium-weight fleece top (men’s) (women’s)
- Thick fleece or wool sweater (men’s) (women’s)
- Thick fleece pants (men’s) (women’s)
- Clothes for the trip home
- Travel documents (passport) and medical insurance cards or policies.
Our guides will be happy to help you plan your trip to Sept-Îles, and we’ve prepared a handy list of things you can do in the region before or after your trip with us, but here is some general info to get you started.
Travelling by air
Air Canada, Provincial Airlines, and Air Labrador offer daily flights to Sept-Îles connecting through Montreal and Quebec City. There is almost always a seat sale starting in late-April—so we recommend waiting until then to buy your tickets.
Travelling by car
Driving to Quebec’s North Shore makes for a great road trip. We highly recommend allowing ample time to rest and enjoy the many sights en route. Expect about 8.5 hours of driving time from Quebec City to Sept Iles.
From Quebec City there are two route options:
Option 1: Via Tadoussac - This route is the more scenic route and fastest, but does include lots of hills, bends, and undivided highway.
Follow Hwy 40 East to St. Anne-de-Beaupre. Continue on Hwy 138 East all the way to our rendezvous point. There is a short free ferry that crosses the Saguenay River from Baie-St-Catherine to Tadoussac. It runs hourly 24 hours a day. The historic village of Tadoussac, perched on the Saguenay fjord, is an excellent choice for an overnight stay.
Option 2: Via Rimouski or Matane - This route includes a ferry crossing that has to be timed and reserved in advance, but involves bigger highways and less hills.
From Quebec City, follow Hwy 20 East and take either the Rimouski - Forestville, Matane - Godbout, or Matane - Baie-Comeau ferry. Once you have crossed the St. Lawrence, follow Hwy 138 East to Sept Iles.
Rimouski Ferry Reservations: Website, phone: 1-800-973-2725, 418-725-2725
Matane Ferry Reservations: Website, phone: 1-877-562-6560
Travelling by train/boat
For those with extra time available, an adventurous route is to take a passenger train to the town of Rimouski followed by the weekly boat Relais Nordik* to Sept Iles. Reservations for the boat must be made well in advance, as it is a weekly boat you will need to plan for extra days in the region before and after your trip.
*This ship then continues to the remote lower North Shore, for a six night round trip voyage, carrying supplies to some of the most isolated villages in Quebec as well as providing sleeping berths and meals for passengers.
Relais Nordik Boat - Website, Phone: 1-800-463-0680, (418) 723-8787Close
Q. Where and when do we meet?
A. We’ll pick you up at the airport in Sept-Îles when you arrive on day 1. If you arrive on a previous day or are if you drive to Sept-Îles, we’ll meet at the hotel—Chateau Arnaud 403 Avenue Arnaud, Sept-Îles, QC G4R 3A7— at 6:30pm.
Q. When is the trip over?
A. We’ll drive you to the airport on day-8 after breakfast. If you have a later flight, we’ll drive you anytime.
Q. How do I register?
To register online, click the 'details/register' button on this page and fill out the form on the registration page. You can also call us and register over the phone at 1-866-242-9383. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate toanytime.
Q. What is the cancellation policy?
A. See our. Keep in mind we offer two worry-free weeks for you to sort out travel…etc. at no risk.
Q. What kind of insurance do I need?
A. Participants on Boreal River trips need to have appropriate Medical insurance and Medical Evacuation insurance. Any evacuation costs will be billed to the person that is leaving the trip. Insurance should cover emergency air evacuation from the river to a local hospital (this can cost $10,000 CAD or more), medical treatment within Canada, and repatriation to a medical care facility in your home region.
We also strongly recommend obtaining Trip Cancellation insurance, which will reimburse you for the unused portion of your Boreal River trip if you must cancel prior to departure or leave your trip early due to illness, accident, or family emergency. If you have insurance coverage from a credit card or an existing plan, please make sure that it will cover you for the above mentioned emergency situations and that you are covered while participating in whitewater activities and remote wilderness travel.
For an insurance package that will cover you for the specific situations encountered on our trips, we recommended something similar to what World Nomads offers: http://www.worldnomads.com/
Q. What type of experience do I need?
A. No whitewater experience is necessary. This trip is the perfect introduction to river travel. However, experienced paddlers will be satisfied with the quality and challenge of numerous class 3 and 4 rapids.
Q. What type of physical condition should I be in?
A. Expect five to seven hours of activity per day. You need to be comfortable walking on uneven terrain. Swimming ability is recommended.
Q. I am an experienced kayaker/canoeist. Can I paddle the whole river in my own boat?
A. Yes. If you are a confident class III kayaker or canoeist you will love this river. A kayak guide will lead the way down every rapid. See the Kayak/Canoe option toggle on this page for more information.
Q. Who will my guides be?
A. Your guides are professionals who have years of whitewater and wilderness travel experience. They are a diverse and talented group and they are all super nice and friendly people who enjoy sharing their passion for the river and helping everybody feel comfortable and confident.
Q. What should I tip my guides?
Offering a gratuity is entirely at your discretion. If you feel the guides and crew have done an exceptional job, you can tip if you choose to and the guides will appreciate it. We also appreciate other expressions of thanks including cards, letters etc. When guests provide a gratuity, it is usually in the range from a ‘thank-you’ up to 10% of the trip cost.
Q. Besides rafting and kayaking, what other activities can I do?
A. Standup paddleboarding (SUP), fishing, short side hikes, photography, forest interpretation and looking for edible plants. We have an Innu guide on each trip who can share their knowledge and experience and how to cook some traditional meals. We can also show you how to bake the perfect dutch oven cake!
Q. How much ‘downtime’ per day to fish and pursue other activities?
A. You can expect on average 2 - 3 hours per day in the late afternoon to pursue these activities. Or just relax with a book and a glass of wine or cup of tea around the fire.
Q. How is the fishing?
A. Excellent. This area is very rarely visited let alone fished. The river is clean as can be and the speckled trout populations are very healthy. Pike and lake trout can also be caught.
Q. Will we eat well?
A. Meals are plentiful, delicious, wholesome, and freshly prepared. Snacks are always available. Our guides love to cook and it shows. We do our best to source all our ingredients, from beef to broccoli, from Quebec farms. Please see the Trip Description for more on our great meals and your options.Close
"A perfect trip. Everything was well planned, well managed, and very professional. I loved trying kayaking, learning which little berries we could eat, and how to fly fish. Thank you again for everything and for the opportunity to live out such an incredible experience."
- Josée Tremblay
Lac St. Jean, QC
Magpie River Adventure 2010
"Thanks again for such a great trip! My three favourite things were: a) The food: exceptional, delicious and always a surprise - five stars b) Being outside in the fresh air c) The memories - definitely worth spending time with my family."
- Adam Marien
Magpie River Adventure - 2014