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Magpie, Canada : Multi-day Rafting Trip

In terms of dramatic scenery, untouched wilderness, spectacular camps and numerous fun rapids, the Magpie is without question one of the top whitewater rafting destinations in the world and in the top few in North America. Earth River pioneered rafting on this now classic trip completing the first rafting expedition in 1988. 

$4,500/person Call 845-626-2165 for More Info

Trip Details

Brief Overview

Cost: $4,300 Note: Additional $250 charge for the helicopter to put in

Total Travel Days: 9, days on trip 7

Group size: up to 18

Guide/client ratio: 1 - 3

Season: August

Meeting place: Sept- Iles, Quebec, Canada. Hotel Château Arnaud 

Accomodations: 6 nights camping.
1 night Hotel Château Arnaud at the end of the trip (night 7)

Suitable ages: 8 - 80

Multi-sport activities: Rafting class 4, class 3 whitewater inflatable kayaking, standup Paddleboarding, fishing.

Private departures: Custom groups of 12 or more participants are welcome. Please contact the office for more details

Trip Highlights

"Magpie Highlights:

  • World class whitewater
  • 6 nights dramatic camping, some camps across the river from waterfalls and cascades
  • Top of the equipment
  • A week of solitude
  • Rafting from Magpie lake to the St. Lawrence river
  • Chance of viewing an aurora borealis
  • Helicopter to the start of the river
  • Miles of untouched boreal forest
  • Opportunities to inflatable kayak for all
  • Delicious menu
  • A night at hotel Chateau Arnaud overlooking the Saint Lawrence river
  • Potential to see moose, otters, wolf, bobcat, loons, ospreys and more.

What's Included

What's included

  • All food/some beverages during the trip
  • 6 days of guided actives (4 days rafting, 2 days sea kayaking)
  • Guides are happy to set up tents and camp, you may help as much or little as you desire on a daily baises.
  • Sitting by the fire and river under the stars.
  • Plenty of fishing opportunities
  • Sotar rafts, type 5 life jackets, helmets, tents, dry bags
  • Stand up paddle boarding, Inflatable kayaking
  • Shuttle and and from the river
  • Hotel the last day at Chateau Arnaud
  • Dinner last night of the trip
  • 3 - 1 client to guide ratio
  • Top notch instruction

Not Included on Magpie Trip

  • Round trip airfare from U.S. to Sept Iles Quebec..
  • Taxi from Sept Iles airport to the hotel.
  • guide tips (typically 10% of trip cost)
  • fly fishing gear
  • catch up fees for late arrivals including; add. hotel, taxi, charter flights and add. meals.
  • Travel before of after trip

Getting There

From the Northeastern and Southeastern U.S. and Europe the Magpie is faster and easier to reach than any multi-day western U.S. river like the Salmon or Colorado. 
There are a number of ways of reaching the starting point including flying, driving or a combination of both.

 Fly to Montreal which has direct flights from many large U.S. cities. Arriving in Montreal, transfer to the 2 hour flight to Sept Ile arriving the evening before and spend the night in a hotel (on your own)

2) Fly to Montreal a day early and spend the evening in Montreal. Catch the early flight up to Sept Iles the following morning to meet the group.

3) Fly to Montreal a day early and transfer to the short flight to Quebec City and spend the night in the beautiful old section of the city. Quebec City is one of the most beautiful and historical cities in North America. Catch the early flight up to Sept Iles the following morning and meet the group.
(NOTE:  All flights from Montreal to Sept Iles have a short layover in Quebec City, so a stop over in Quebec City can be arranged through Air Canada at no additional charge)

4) Fly into Montreal and rent a car and drive up to Sept Iles (8 hours). The southern route is relatively flat along the St. Lawrence River and involes taking an hour ferry.  The northern route is spectacular with an impressive, mountainous coast line. There are whale watching tours offered near Tadoussac where the Saguenay River meets the St. Lawrence River. Both drives take you past (or through) Quebc City.

5) Drive to Sept Iles from New York: 15 hours, Boston: 13 hours, Washington D.C. 23 hours, Chicago. Although it makes the drive a bit longer, it is possible to visit the spectacular Gaspe Peninsula and Nova Scotia on the drive. 

Flight times to Montreal:
New York  (1 hour)
Chicago (2 hours)
Washington D.C. : (1.5 hours)
Atlanta (2.6 hours)
Houston (2.6 hours)
Western U.S. Cities (5-6 hours)
London (6.5 to 7 hours)
Paris (7 - 7.5 hours)

Day By Day Itenerary

Day by Day

For seven days we explore a wild area few people have ever seen.  The whitewater is outstanding and builds in difficulty with the most challenging 4+ rapids coming at the end. For most of the trip, participants will have the option of inflatable kayaking.  The rivers numerous class 3 and 4 rapids and warm water make this one of the better inflatable kayaking rivers found anywhere. We will camp on beautiful islands with beaches covered with tracks of moose, bear, wolf and lynx. Clear, star filled nights may include the magical pulsing light of the aurora borealis. Pine trees laden with osprey nests and rocky shores lined with sun-bleached, bone-colored driftwood abound to feed evening campfires. The Magpie's remote falls, deep pools and pristine water make for excellent trout fishing.

This morning we fly (on our own) into the small French-speaking city of Sept-Isle, Quebec where we meet in the lobby of the Chateau Arnaud Hotel. After a trip briefing we board the van for a beautiful one hour drive, along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River,  past high sea cliffs, remote beaches and impressive waterfalls, to our rendezvous point with the helicopter.  One of only two commercially run rafting rivers in the world that are accessed by helicopter,  the ride is exhilarating as we glide over remote lakes and wild river canyons through the seemingly infinite, rugged glaciated wilderness that unfolds in every direction as far as the eye can see. We arrive at 30 mile long Magpie Lake where we camp the first night. 

This morning we paddle a few minutes to where the Magpie River spills from the lake. The river is a relatively warm, 68 degrees, due to the top few feet of  lake flowing into the river. The day is filled with numerous class four rapids. For the more intrepid in the group there will be a chance to paddle many of these rapids in their own inflatable kayak while being accompanied by a kayak guide instructor who teaches paddling skills and leads the way through the rapids. The terrain varies from old growth boreal forest, to hillsides of thick white lichen, green moss and granite much like Norway. Our final rapid of the day, Marmot (whirlpool), is large, technical 4+. Our night's camps is tucked away in a cove, just below Marmot. 

Today we run a series a class 4 rapids down to our first impassible class 6 rapid where the guides line the boats around.  After lunch we run a few more rapids down to our second class 6 rapid which the guides line the boats around. In the afternoon we float down to camp on a swift current with only riffles. The scenery in this section is stunning, with 1,000 foot walls rising from the boreal forest.  There are numerous ospreys fishing in the river. This is the perfect section of river for first timers to try the inflatable kayaks and stand-up paddle-board.  We spend the night on a beautiful little island, surrounded by beach, in the middle of a miniature lake. This is the perfect place to try out the stand-up paddleboard. 

In the morning we raft a series of class 2 and 3 rapids down to 3/4 mile long, class 4, Saxophone Rapid. Above Saxophone is an excellent opportunity for people to try the inflatable kayaks and even the stand-up paddle boards.  Above Saxophone, we put people with a little more experience back in the inflatable kayaks. We raft Saxophone down to a beautiful lunch spot on a granite bluff where the river makes two sweeping 90 degree turns affording river views in all four directions. After lunch, there are numerous class 3+ rapids down to a large sand and pebble beach where we spend the night.   


Today contains the biggest rapids of the trip including double drop (4+), Ledges (4+), 13 foot high Trust Falls (4) and Picket Fence (4+).  At nearly a mile long, Picket Fence is the longest, most technical rapid on the river.  In the early afternoon we paddle across a lake to the magnificent Gorge Camp for the night.This is one of the most spectacular camps in the world. The camp hangs on the edge of a stunning granite gorge laced with three impassible class 6 cataracts.  if there is an aurora borealis that evening it will be in view of the camp, directly over the first falls.  The Gorge Camp views are only surpassed by the views from the Falls Camp the following evening. 

This morning we take one hour hike to the base of the first falls in the gorge.  The view is surreal as we stand a mere feet away from the wild maelstrom dropping over one hundred feet in a few hundred yards. There is an incredible place to swim in a calm eddy just below the falls.  While we are hiking and swimming, a helicopter arrives to the camp and portages our camping gear down below the gorge to our final night's camp. Later in the morning we hike down to the end of the gorge and board fast (5 MPH), stable, inflatable kayaks for the two mile lake paddle to the top of 90 foot high Magpie Falls where we eat lunch. Here the entire river hurtles 90 feet of the Laurentian Plateau in a thunderous crescendo of sound and spray. A constant rainbow, rises from the mist and never leaves the falls. We camp on a ledge directly across from the main falls and directly above a second 25 foot falls. If there is an aurora borealis in the evening, it will be to the north, directly over the falls


This morning we paddle the sea kayaks or stand-up paddle boards down river, with current for 4 miles to the take out where we meet the van. In the early afternoon we arrive back into at Sept Iles and check into the hotel. That evening we have a farewell dinner.

After breakfast, we transfer by taxi (on our own) to the airport for the flight to Montreal and then on to our international flights. 

Magpie Video