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Paddle Lunenburg/Queens

River Route 1-1: Lahave River

Record #: LQR0024
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019
Last Full Update: 05 Nov 2014


Public Bulletin
Neither South Shore nor the Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association own or control the canoe routes, portages or campsites listed in this guide, and assume no responsibility or liability for the safety of those using the canoe routes, walking the portages, or using the campsites. 
lt is recommended that users approach all canoe routes, portages and campsites in a safe and responsible manner. Conditions can change through fluctuating water levels, natural debris, and logging activity. Arrangements must be made directly with the owners of the portages and campsites. 
South Shore and Lunenburg-Queens Recreational Coordinators/Directors Association are not liable for any errors or omissions in this guide.


Located In South Shore Region
Where To Find Us
New Germany, NS
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


Phone 902-275-3490
Contact Chad Haughn, President, LQRCDA

Description & Services

Information LaHave River One- New Germany to Bridgewater 
A long scenic paddle with some peaceful flat-water and challenging rapids. 
Skill Level: Intermediate, Rapids - Class 1-4 
Time: All day, High water trip through rapid sections (Spring and fall) 
Distance: 30 km 
Portages: Three - Total 1500 m 
Start: New Germany 
Finish: Bridgewater 
Click map to enlarge 
Click map to enlarge 
Click map to enlarge 
The LaHave is one of Nova Scotia’s major rivers draining an area that stretches almost 70 km inland. It has two main tributaries, the North Branch and West Branch (see River  
Route 2 and 3) that can also be paddled in high water. This lengthy route passes through a mix of farmland, forest and settlement. In many places, the cow pastures extend to the rivers edge affecting water quality and this is one of the reasons the LaHave wasn’t selected as a potential Canadian Heritage River (See the Shelburne River Route 8). In recent years, this problem has been alleviated by the addition of lime at the headwaters in Big LaHave Lake. This river and the North Branch are famous for salmon fishing which is allowed from May through September. Check with the Department of Natural Resources for regulations and licenses. 
For recreational canoeing or kayaking, the LaHave is exceptional for this province in that it provides a lengthy river trip with few portages. Of the two other major rivers in this book, the Mersey has long portages around six dams, and only short sections of the lower Medway can be paddled due to extensive rapids. As well, the LaHave has many access and exit options at numerous bridges crossing the river and other spots so you can plan a shorter trip or one with more or less white water. The highway parallels the river so it is easy to exit if necessary. Although you can see Route 10 from various spots along the river, it is not obtrusive. This 30 km section was the route of the annual LaHave River race that took place each spring from 1976 until recently. 
The Journey 
Access Point 1 - After your put in at New Germany Lake, paddle about one km toward New Germany to the river outlet and the first bridge. Go to the right under the first bridge since there is a rock pile on river left below the bridge. From here to the next bridge, you can expect Class 2 rapids and a long rock garden. 
Access Point 2 - If you want to avoid these, put in just above the second bridge on river right (left hand side looking up). Take the middle channel since there is a large concrete block river right below the bridge. 
Rapid 1 - Morgan’s Falls. Mandatory portage. 
You’ll just be getting comfortable when its time to take out for the first portage at Morgan’s Falls (300m). Here a new power generating dam (see Point of Interest One) has been built at the falls where there is a 4m vertical drop. Take out on the left river bank before a series of ledges leading to the falls (no obvious landing spot). Carry your boat about 15 m to a dirt road. Go along this road past a red barn and follow it into the woods down a steep hill toward the river. If you put in here, there is a small but tricky drop before the pool below. The current wants to slam you into the rock face river right 
and it’s a challenge to stay in the middle. To avoid this, carry your boat a short distance further down stream and put into a lovely large pool. On the opposite side of the pool is a good picnic spot with a slate beach and blueberries. The next 10 kms is flatwater with a few riffles ideal for the beginner. The riverscape changes from a forest of maple, pine and birch to one of small bushes and grasses with the forest further back as you approach Wentzell’s Lake. Look for ducks and eagles. 
Access Point 3 - New Canada Road Bridge in Pinehurst.  
If you want to avoid windy conditions on Wentzell Lake, take out at the New Canada Road Bridge. When leaving your car look for Veinot Road off Route 10. Here the river winds through fields and a mellow pastoral scene. Another good picnic spot is on the ridge just below the bridge. Wentzell’s Lake is a large, dramatic lake and may be windy so take advantage of the lee route if you can. 
Access Point 4 - Take out at Bridge Four, just below the lake unless you have the paddling skills for extensive rapids from here to Bridge Five. 
Rapid 2 - Frideaux Falls. Recommended Portage. 
About 1 km past Bridge Five, look for Frideaux Falls (also known as Fritters Falls). The portage is river left, another carry of about 300 m through a Christmas tree plantation. Expert paddlers may want to run Frideaux Falls if the water level is high enough. You should scout the falls beforehand along the portage route. The falls are located where the West Branch LaHave joins the main river. This convergence creates standing waves up to 2m if the water is high. Be prepared for an exciting run. 
Exit Point 1 - Cookville Provincial Park 
This tiny picnic park is on the LaHave River about five km below Frideaux Falls. Exit river left. 
Rapid 3 and Exit Point 2 - Cook’s Falls. Recommended Portage. 
From here it is a relatively easy paddle to the next rapids at Cook’s Falls. Exit river right. This is a long carry of 800 m and you may want to end your trip here since Bridgewater is not much further anyway. There is a small picnic park here at Cooks Falls, easy water access and ample parking River kayakers play here and do go over the falls if they have expert skills and the water is right (not too high, not too low). If you’re the hardy sort and not exhausted yet after the portage, paddle on under the highway overpass and over a long series of steep ledges that stretch across the river. The river becomes tidal soon after. 
Exit Point 3 - Take out below the new bridge in Bridgewater (just past the old bridge), river right at a dock under the parking lot. 
Points of Interest 
1 Morgan’s Falls - This dam was recently built for power generation. River right is an old fish ladder that allows the mature fish to get up and spawn. On the left is a louvred spillway that lets young smolts get back down. The louvres create a more natural river sensation to guide the fish. About 10, 000 smolts were in the spillway when we passed through in mid-May. The rest go over the falls. 
How to get there 
Exit Point - Cookville Provincial Park. Take Exit 12 and go up Route 10 3.2 kms. 
Exit Point 2 - Cook’s Falls. Take Exit 12 and turn toward Bridgewater. Turn right at the lights, down a hill and across the new bridge. Turn right up along the river about 3 km to Cooks Falls. 
Exit Point 3 - Bridgewater . Same as above but turn left after crossing new bridge. Just before the second set of lights, look for a short driveway that leads to a dock under the parking lot. 
Access Point 1 - New Germany Lake. Take Exit 12 off Highway 103 and travel 30km up Route 10 to New Germany. Access Point One is on New Germany Lake on Route 10 just past town at a public access area about one km past the graveyard. 
Beginner route - As mentioned above, beginners may want to put in at A2 and take out at A4 to take advantage of flatwater paddling. 
Expert route> - The LaHave River starts well above New Germany and expert paddlers may want to explore there when water levels permit. 
North Branch LaHave - River Route 2 
West Branch LaHave - River Route 3 
LaHave River Two - Bridgewater to LaHave
For more information 
South Shore Paddlers Association 902-543-8028 
Topographic map - New Germany 21 A/10 and New Germany 21 A/10
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information