Guide to Waterways In and Around Wood Buffalo National Park

Rivière des Rochers and Slave River

Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca to Fort Fitzgerald on the Slave River

Duration of Tour: 3-5 days
Total Distance: 163 km
Rivière des Rochers - 51 km
Slave River - 112 km
Average Gradient: 0.4m per km
  1. Overall River - Grade II
  2. Rapids - Class I-III.(21km)
    stretch of Class VI+ rapids below Fort Fitzgerald), do not proceed .
  3. Skill of Paddler - Intermediate Open Canadian
    Note: Paddler must be expert in navigation by compass and hydrographic chart.
Start: Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca
Finish: Fort Fitzgerald on left bank of Slave River.
Access Points: Kilometre 100 Hay Camp
Maps Required: N.T.S. 1:250,000 scale 74 L Fort Chipewyan
74 M Fitzgerald
Provincial Access Maps 74 M/L

Canadian Hydrographic Chart

  • Chart 6301 Fort McMurray to Fort Smith (scale 1:31,680)

After the completion of the Bennett Dam on the Peace River, significant changes took place in the delta area; some channels became very shallow and the natural aquatic habitat of the beaver, moose and waterfowl began to deteriorate. As a result, a number of weirs have been constructed both by government and local Aboriginal bands to impound water and improve the wildlife habitat. One weir is on the Revillon Coupé. Another water control weir is at Little Rapids on the Rivière des Rochers. Originally the rapids were caused by a rock outcrop across the stream and an old barge channel went around them behind an island on the right side. Now this channel has been blocked and a control weir constructed across the bedrock of the rapids. A battery-operated lifting device has been installed to portage large boats over the obstruction, but canoes must be lifted over manually.

Motorized boats may wish to take the Quatre Fourches, as the battery-operated lifting device on the Rivière des Rochers may be inoperable at times.

Rapids occur at the confluence of the Slave and Peace rivers, followed by three others; Primrose, Demicharge and Stony Islands before the finish of the tour at Fort Fitzgerald. For more detailed notes on the Slave River, see the Peace and Slave River report.

Source : Canoe Alberta, A Guide to Alberta's Rivers 1978 , which is no longer in print

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