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Paddle Lunenburg/Queens

River Route 6: The Petite River

Record #: LQR0030
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2019
Last Full Update: 06 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
Petite Riviere, NS
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


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

Description & Services

This short, pretty river is a fun spring run with a mix of white water and stillwaters ending in the scenic coastal community of Petite Riviere founded in 1632. 
Where: Near Bridgewater 
When: High water trip in spring or fall 
Skill Level: Intermediate, Rapids - Class 1-2 
Time: 2 hours (not including portage) 
Distance: 10 km (Part One 7km, Part Two 3 km) 
Portages: 2 (One by car) 
Start: Conqueral Mills 
Finish: Petite River 
Click map to enlarge 
This river is short as the name suggests (Petite means little in French) but nevertheless offers an exciting and scenic run for intermediate paddlers. The landscape is mostly forested with some impressive softwood stands, marshes, farmland, an historic oar mill, a few homes and some good picnic spots. Unfortunately, in a few places, the forest has been harvested to the waters edge. Although the provincial Forest/ Wildlife Guidelines recommend leaving a buffer zone to protect the waterways and wildlife, it is not mandatory. 
Like the landscape, the paddling is also varied. In spring, you can expect whitewater that will test your manoeuvring skills with peaceful stillwaters in between to catch your breath. An annual race takes place on the river every April sponsored by Michelin Tire Company. Some sections are rocky even in high water but passable. Side slipping or ferrying will come in useful. Expect to run over a few submerged rocks that are hard to see due to tannin. A plastic canoe or kayak is preferable for this reason. The route passes close to the road and so has many possible entry and exit points if necessary. 
The Journey 
Access Point 1 - at Conqueral Mills just above a bridge that is just below what used to be a large concrete dam. After put in, hug the right shore till past the bridge. 
Rapid 1 - About 30 seconds later, there’s a one metre waterfall across the river with ledges on the right and a passable route on the left. Over the next kilometre, expect more rapids until you come to a foot bridge that is too low to pass under safely. 
Update - Footbridge is now gone and river is passable here with no portage. 
Portage 1 - Take out river left for a 10m carry around the bridge. The next two km are a mix of easy moving waters and a long stillwater paddle past grass-lined banks, big red maples and maybe a duck family or two if you’re lucky. You’ll see a large stone bridge with steel girders that is easy to paddle under on river right. As you paddle on, look for a mature softwood forest on your right of large spruce, hemlock and pine. 
Rapid 2 - The white water here ends in a tricky drop river right that can be paddled if the water is high enough or take out river right for a 20 m carry. Soon you’ll enter a long stillwater that curves to the left and into the mill pond. 
Exit Point 1 - Take out before the dam on river right at Exit One. Expert paddlers may want to put in below the dam and continue to Access Point Two at Browns Brook. They can expect Class 4 rapids in a boulder strewn path with significant drops and a difficult exit if they capsize. Take out just before a foot bridge on the right side and portage around it since you can’t usually pass underneath. A kayak or play boat is recommended for maximum manoeuvrability. 
Portage 2 - Load your boat and do the necessary car ferrying. Leave your car in the parking lot of the fire hall in Petite River.  
Access Point 2 is 2 km down the road just below a foot bridge on the Petite where Brown’s Brook joins it. From here, its a 3 km fast water run to the sea with some haystacks, several small drops and more manoeuvring around rocks. The river passes under two more bridges and circles around a small pond. 
Take the right channel past the first bridge to remain in the river and not go into the pond. 
Exit Point 2 is just above or below the firehall in the community of Petite River on river right where the river becomes tidal before the highway bridge. 
Points of Interest 
1 Mature softwood forest. 
2 Old oar and handle mill. 
How to get there 
Take Hebbs Cross Exit between Exit 14 and 15 on Route 103 to Conqueral Mills. For Access and Exits see above route description. The town of Petite River is about 12 kms along a road that follows the river from Conqueral Mills. 
Fancy Lake - See Additional Lake Routes 
LaHave Islands- Ocean Route 4
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information