Nestled on the mighty Madawaska River, Palmer Rapids is three little sets of rapids, body surfing spots, pebble beaches and campsites that is perfect for a day trip or a weekend-long adventure. Bring the kids for some swimming, rent some boats for the whitewater, and have some fun!!
Palmer Rapids Summary
Palmer Rapids is a georgeous spot along the Madawaska River where you'll find three great sets of class 1/2 rapids, beaches, body surfing, and (usually) campsites galore!
The whole swathe of land on the south side of the river is owned by a local guy (whose name escapes me at the moment). He uses some kind of ESP know sense when you arrive and drives down to collect $15/tent/night, and to offer you some bundles of wood for sale.
There are areas for large groups of 10 or more and then probably a dozen or so smaller sites littered along two long ridges. You'll find some outhouses a couple garbage cans for amenities, unless that tent we left up there last year is still standing!
There are three little sets of rapids up at Palmer that make for a fun bit of padding for beginner and intermediate whitewatter fans. When we go up we usally bring a couple kayaks, a 16' whitewater canoe, and lately a solo canoe, too. All are great fun up at Palmer.
The top set is probably the toughest, and sometimes can't be run late in the season (at least not by me). The middle two are hard to screw up, with a nice drop at the very end.
I have seen kids go down the second and third sets in an innertube, so don't sweat it too much and have some fun!
There are two spots where it's relatively safe for you can jump right into the rapids:
- at the bottom of the first set, if you walk out along the beach you'll see a huge rock sitting along the edge of the rapids... that's your target. Don't go too deep!
- at the end of the last set, walk up along the pebbly beach on the north shore, then jump out into the deep water when you gather up the guts!
MKC maintians web page with their weekly water level reading - very, very handy! If the water flow goes below 30cm/s it the river starts to get really unrunnable. Over 70-ish and you're looking at some big water!
Greater Madawaska Canoe Rental
Every time we go - whether it's the Madawaska or Palmer - we get our boats from Don Adams at Greater Madawaska Canoe Rentals. Don knows the area like the back of his hand, will drop your boats off anywhere along the river, and he conveniently lives across the street from the pull-out!
I can't find the link to his contact info anymore, so here is his location (take a right immediately after the bridge over the Madawaska going west on 41) and his number is (613) 333-2240.
Local Weather Forecast
You can check out Palmer Rapids for the closest weather forecast. The weather can change on a dime up in the Valley, so what you get in Quadeville isn't always what you get down river... be prepared!
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