York River Routes
Egan Chute - Conroy Marsh Route
One of the best section of the river to paddle is between Egan Chutes Provincial Park and Conroy Marsh. It's a good two-day outing for novice canoeists or advanced paddlers looking for a leisurely getaway.
Access/Parking: Egan Chute Provincial Park is 10.5 kilometers east of Bancroft, along Highway 28; the public access road is northeast of the highway bridge. Also, since it's a river route, you'll have to shuttle a second vehicle to the public launch at the west end of Combermere, along Highway 62.
Not far from the starting point, about 400 m, is Egan Chute itself to the left of the cascade is a short but fairly steep 50-meter portage that is regularly used.
Just beyond Egan Chutes are two more drops - Middle Chute and Farm Chute. Both have portages (100 meters on the left and 200 meters on the right), but these are not regularly used and can be difficult to follow. The first trail keeps close to the rivers edge, the second heads almost directly up and over a knob of granite. Both also have campsites on the east bank.
Other sites are found not far downstream, one situated on one of the many sandbars found between the Great Bend (where the river takes a dramatic twist to the northeast) and King's Marsh. Other sites for camping can be found further downstream. Parts of the river, have large sections of deciduous swamps and forest leaves, suits the York's Native name, Shawashkong (the river of marshes).
If you're not that interested in making your own bush camp, it is possible to paddle a full six-to-eight-hour day and end your trip at the alternative take-out at the Boulter Road bridge. You can book a cabin at any of the local resort.
If you paddle only the first half of the route, you will miss the Conroy Marsh route altogether.
Located just below the Boulter bridge, there are three sets of swifts, Conroy Rapids, that can easily be run or lined down.
Because of its size the Conroy Marsh is a easy place to find yourself lost in. A couple of kilometers downstream from Conroy Rapids the waterway spreads out over 2,400 hectares, with Robinson Lake to the west and Winter Lake, Garden Lake, One Mile Bay and the mouth of the Little Mississippi River to the east. To keep on track, it's best to stay in the center of the main channel and eventually you'll meet up with Negeek Lake, where the York River flushes into the Madawaska River.
From here it's just a short paddle west, under the Highway 62 bridge, and then left toward the public launch in Combermere. Or you could travel east on the Madawaska and take in a week of adventurous whitewater paddling all the way down to the Ottawa River.
Time: 1-2 days
Number of portages: 3
Longest portage: 200 meters
Level of Difficulty: Novice - portages around Egan, Middle and Farm Chute are extremely steep but the river itself is a novice route.
Alternative access: Put in from the Boulter Road bridge, reached by turning east off Boulter Road onto Hass Road, and then left on Havergal Road. You can also access the river at the end of McPhees Bay Road off Highway 515.
Alternative route: The route can be divided into two daytrips by making use of the Boulter Road bridge access and staying at area resorts or campgrounds.
Algonquin Park York River Route (Permit Required)
Access/Parking: Take HWY 62 N from Bancroft turn left onto South Baptiste Lake Road in Birds Creek. Keep driving till you reach HWY 648, turn right onto HWY 648 travel along HWY 648 till you reach Elephant Lake Rd (HWY 10), turn right onto Elephant Lake Rd, follow Elephant Lake Rd turn left onto Kingscote Rd. Follow Kingscote Rd to Pine Grove Point Lodge to purchase Park Permits. After getting permit go to access point on Kinscote Lake.
Although not a popular route this route offers good fishing, camping experience. Camping is available at Byers Lake and at the mouth of the York River.
Travel North on the Kingscote Lake , portage to 1200 m to Big Rock Lake keep on the North Shore in the Upper NE shore you will
Time: 1-2 days
Number of Portages: 5 - two to avoid dams, one will take you around High Falls.
Travel North on the Kingscote Lake - 3000
m - at the end of lake in NE corner
1p - 1200 m from Kingscote Lake to Big Rock Lake
Big Rock Lake keep on the North Shore - 750 m
2p - 650 m from Big Rock Lake to Bayers Lake
Travel East (SE) on Bayers lake to the mouth of the York River - 1500 m
3p - 150 m about 1700m in on the York River avoid 1st dam
4p - 300 m about 500m after 3p avoid 2nd dam
5p - 450 m about 1500 m after 4p avoid High Falls
Follow York river to Benoir Lake Paddle across Benoir Lake to exit at Kingscote Rd.