Petawawa River

Algonquin Park Whitewater Route

The Petawawa River is perhaps the best-known river of Algonquin Provincial Park. The river travels from one side of the park to the other, taking on a different character with every kilometre. From the marshy meandering flow in the west to the rushing rapids of the east, the Petawawa is a dynamic and exciting river to travel. Between Lake Travers and Lake McManus the rapids vary from Class I to Class IV white-water, depending on the water level encountered. Although, there are portages around the rapids, it is essential to scout any whitewater before attempting to run it. Anglers will find northern pike, muskel-lunge and smallmouth bass throughout the lower stretch of the river


80km (50 miles) west of Petawawa


213 metres
(699 feet)


Varies by put in

Access by Waypoint

Lake Travers Access 78° 03’ 86” Lon – W 45° 57’ 62” Lat – N

Cedar Lake Access 78° 29’ 16” Lon – W 46° 01’ 52” Lat – N


There are several access points, including Cedar Lake to the north, Lake Travers in the middle and McManus Lake in the park's southeastern side. To access Lake Travers you will need to follow Highway 17 north from Renfrew. About 13 km north of Pembroke, pay attention to the directional signs marking the Barron Canyon and Algonquin Park. A short jog south on Doran Road leads to the Barron Canyon Road (County Road 28), which leads west to the park. Be sure to stop in at the Algonquin Bound store for any last minute supplies before visiting the Sand Lake Gate some 26.5 km later for park permits Continue west from the permit office for about 54.5 km to find the Lake Travers access point


The closest vehicle access campground is found at Achray, which offers 45 well-spaced sites next to Grand Lake. At Lake Travers you will find a cartop access area with plenty of parking and an outhouse.

Whitewater Routes

The most popular stretch for whitewater trippers is the section between Lake Travers and McManus Lake due to the proximity of the put-in and take-outs from each other. It is recommended to allow three days to run this section, which features Class 1 to Class IV rapids. From Lake Travers to the large rapid known as the Natch, the scenery is set amidst a forested valley. Down river from the Natch, the scenery begins to change to a more southern feel with maples and other deciduous trees lining the shoreline.