River Section* Distance Difficulty** Wilderness Rating***
Peace River Hudson’s Hope to Peace River 375 km Class I Level 2-3
Peace River Peace River to Fort Vermilion 433 km Class I Level 2-3
Hay River Hay-Zama Lake to Meander River 148 km Class I-II Level 2-3
Hay River Meander River to 60th Parallel 149 km Class I Level 3
Chinchaga River Keg River area to Chin bridge 117 km Class I-II Level 4
Chinchaga River Chin bridge to the Hay River ~ 113 km Class I Level 4
Wabasca River North Wabasca Lake to Loon River bridge 237 km Class II Level 4
Wabasca River Loon River bridge to Tall Cree bridge 111 km Class I-II Level 3
Wabasca River Tall Cree bridge to the Peace River 105 km Class I Level 4

*These sections, or reaches, can all be broken up into smaller trips using other access points (which we can talk about when you call us) except for the Chinchaga River.

**Scroll down to read more about river classification.


Lake Approx. Size Driving time from High Level Wilderness Rating***
Footner 3.3 km X 0.6 km 15 min Level 1
Hutch 11 km X 0.5 km 25 min Level 2
Rainbow 13 km X 0.4 km ~2.5 hrs Level 3
Hay-Zama 32 km X 17 km 1.5-2 hrs Level 3-4


***Wilderness Rating

The wilderness rating is one we invented, to indicate how remote the area is. Of course, the “times-to-reach-help” are estimates, to give you an idea of how long it might take to paddle or walk out.

Rating Description Example
Level 1 Not remote. Farms, cottages or towns are easily found along the water. Cell phone service is patchy, but generally good. If help was needed, it would take around 45 minutes of paddling and/or walking to reach a telephone or other assistance. Paddlers do not need much experience in wilderness camping or survival to paddle in these areas. The Peace River between Shaftesbury Ferry and the town of Peace River.
Level 2 Somewhat remote. Cottages or cabins are sparse and there may be only 1 or 2 towns or villages along the way. Cell phone signals are patchy and unreliable — a SPOT GPS is recommended. If help was needed, 1-4 hours of paddling and/or walking would be required to reach a telephone or other assistance. Paddlers should have good wilderness camping skills and good maps so that in an emergency, they know the quickest way to get help. The Peace River from Elk Island Park to the Shaftesbury Ferry
Level 3 Remote. There are virtually no cottages or settlements along the water. Cell phone signals are nonexistent — a SPOT GPS or satellite phone is recommended. To reach help, 4-8 hrs of paddling is required, and/or 4+ hours of walking to reach a road (which should have traffic on it). Paddlers must be very self-sufficient and extremely careful to avoid difficulties. The Hay River between Meander River and the 60th Parallel.
Level 4 Very remote. There is no human presence along this stretch of the river. Cell phones are useless — a SPOT GPS or satellite phone is highly recommended. To reach help, 1-2 days of paddling could be required, and/or 4+ hours of walking to reach a road (which may or may not have much traffic on it). Paddlers must be very experienced wilderness campers, be very self-sufficient, know survival techniques, and be extremely careful to avoid difficulties. The Wabasca River from North Wabasca Lake to Loon River.


**River Classification

Class Title Description
Class I Rapids Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.
Class II Rapids: Novice Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and group assistance, while helpful, is seldom needed. Rapids that are at the upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class II+”.
Class III Intermediate Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers. Scouting is advisable for inexperienced parties. Injuries while swimming are rare; self-rescue is usually easy but group assistance may be required to avoid long swims. Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class III-” or “Class III+” respectively.
Class IV Advanced Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong eskimo roll is highly recommended (kayaks). Rapids that are at the lower or upper end of this difficulty range are designated “Class IV-” or “Class IV+” respectively.
Class 5 Expert Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential. Because of the large range of difficulty that exists beyond Class IV, Class 5 is an open-ended, multiple-level scale designated by class 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc… each of these levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than the last. Example: increasing difficulty from Class 5.0 to Class 5.1 is a similar order of magnitude as increasing from Class IV to Class 5.0.
Class VI Extreme and Exploratory Rapids These runs have almost never been attempted and often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions. After a Class VI rapids has been run many times, its rating may be changed to an appropriate Class 5.x rating.

River classifications came from the American Whitewater page here.