Reference to
Whitewater Runs
on Vancouver Island

This is a reference for paddling trips on Vancouver Island, with a focus on runs that are on the moderate end of the scale (and thus suitable for both open canoes and closed boats). It is not intended to be a complete guide or replace the "current" guide (Betty-Pratt Johnson's Guide to Whitewater Paddling on Vancouver Island). It is a summary of the whitewater paddling available on the island, with good detail and local lore.

Whitewater paddling is an extremely dangerous activity. Especially for people who blindly follow what they read on the internet. The information on this site is completely subjective and unreliable - unless you know what you are doing.
Map of Vancouver Island Whitewater Runs

Quick Reference

Run Class Levels Suitability

South Island

Koksilah River Env Can Gauge: Graph
Upper II+ (III+) (BB = rough mapping to Burnt Bridge rock gauge)
13-20 cms (BB: 1 - 2) = low
30-40 cms (BB: 3 - 4) = medium
50-60 cms (BB: 5 - 6) = medium high
70 cms (BB: 7) = high
80 cms (BB: 8) = very high
Canyon III (IV) At the Bright Angel gauge:
0.9 - 1.4 m = good
Kayaks / Solo Canoes
Cowichan River Env Can Gauge: Graph
Upper II All
Marie Canyon III 25 cms (0.7 m) = low
90 cms (1.4 m) = high
Lower II 20 cms (0.7 m) = low (probably minimum for tandem canoes)
90 cms (1.4 m) - high
Chemainus River Env Can Gauge: Graph
Upper III All
Copper Canyon V? Kayaks
Lower III- 12 cms (0.8 m) = low (minimum for all boats)
30 cms (1.1 m) = prime
40 cms (1.3 m) = medium high
50 cms (1.4 m) = high
Nanaimo River Env Can Gauge: Graph
Upper III- All
Middle III (IV) 20 cms (1.2 m) - low but still fun
35 cms (1.4 m) - excellent
75 cms (1.6 m) - good
150 cms (2.5 m) - high
Englishman River Env Can Gauge: Graph
Middle III 15 cms - low, barely runnable
30 cms (1.5 m) - lowish, but fun level
45 cms - good?
80 cms (2.2 m) = high
Nitinat River
Middle II- Canoes

Mid Island

Puntledge River
Lower III+ 65 cms - med.low
85 cms - prime
Oyster River
Upper III 16 cms - low but still good
35 cms - prime
Lower II (III) 14 cms - low, still good All
Quinsam River
Gold River
Upper IV? ? All
Middle III 70 cms - medium All
Lower IV ? All

North Island

Salmon River
White River
Adam River
Eve River
Nimpkish River


Jordan River
Surfing flat to huge, depending on swell Closed boats
Long Beach
Surfing always has surf Closed boats


River Levels
Clubs & Organizations
Paddling Sites