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Paddle Lunenburg/Queens

River Route 3: West Branch LaHave

Record #: LQR0027
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
West Branch Lahave, NS
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


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

Description & Services

A short river like the North Branch, with challenging rapids for experienced paddlers and some long stillwaters. 
Where: Near Bridgewater 
Skill Level: Intermediate, Rapids- Class 1-3 
Time: One day 
Distance: 23km Rhyno Lake to Frideaux Falls 
Start: Rhyno Lake 
Finish: Frideaux Falls 
Other access/ exit options in between 
Click map to enlarge 
Click map to enlarge 
The West LaHave flows from Rhyno Lake to the LaHave River at Frideaux Falls. The upper part is mostly forested with some harvesting, lots of marsh and duck habitat. Few homes can be seen along this route. While the upper section has long stillwaters, the lower section has more rock gardens requiring considerable maneuvering. A river kayak or canoe with air bags is recommended. 
The Journey 
Access Point 1 - Rhyno Lake 
The water is fast moving at first with a .5 m drop soon after entry and lots of rocks. About one km past the put in, the river turns sharply to the right into a boulder garden that would be tricky in an open canoe. From here, there are long stillwaters, moving water and no sizable rapids until just before the Midville Branch Bridge(A4). An option for open canoes and less skilled paddlers is to put in at A2 and take out at Midville Branch Bridge. 
Rapid 1 - Hirtle’s Falls 
This rapid is an old dam site with big boulders but no drop. The water picks up speed beforehand. Take out and scout river left. Portage to the road through the woods and back to the bridge. It is runable in a canoe in high water but you need to know how to manoeuvre a boat so you don’t broadside on the boulders. Expect more boulders past the bridge too for about 500 m. 
Rapid 2 - About one km past the bridge is a ledge that can be paddled.  
Again it would be tricky in a canoe but possible in a kayak. Scout or portage on river right. The channel is also on the right. 
Rapid 3 - Kayak Falls - Intermediate to Expert 
Further on about 2 km is a short falls with a very tricky 90 degree left turn at the base. Shortly after is a series of 4 steep (1m) drops followed by a long boulder garden. Take out above the falls river left and scout or portage the falls and down along the ledges. 
Rapid 4 - Frideaux Falls - Intermediate to Expert 
This is where the West Branch meets the much bigger LaHave producing 2m standing waves when the water level is high. Scouting beforehand is essential. Take out river right before the drop. If you pass the drop, don’t miss your chance to eddy out river right or you may get swept into large standing waves and a tricky turn with no chance to scout. To portage (or scout), follow a trail along the river that goes up over a hill to a clearcut below the falls. If you decide to run it, the best channel is on your left. However the force of the LaHave current wants to push you into the right shore which requires some strong ferrying skills to avoid. If you plan to end your trip after running the Falls, take out river right near the clearing in the woods and hike up to your car at E2. It may be advisable and easier to continue to E3 but this spot is listed as an emergency exit for either above or below the falls. 
Exit Point 1 - Smith Road above Lower Branch Road 
This bridge is 20 km downriver from Rhyno Lake (A1) and above Frideaux Falls. To drive there, take Exit 12 off Highway 103 toward New Germany. At about 3 km, cross the river and turn right toward Lower Branch. The old bridge is gone now. Turn left at the new bridge and go upriver along a dirt road (Smith’s Road). There are a number of good landing spots along this road. After leaving one car here, you can get to Access Point One, Two or Three by returning to Highway 103 or continue through Midville Branch to Route 325. 
Exit Point 2 - Frideaux Falls 
Take Exit 12 off Highway 103 toward New Germany as above. At 3 km, cross the river and turn right toward Lower Branch. After travelling 4.5 km, turn right at a sign saying Forest View Drive. This looks like a soon-to-be subdivision. Drive about one km down this road to a clearcut on your left. It is about 100m through this clearcut to the bottom of the portage trail around the falls. 
Exit Point 3 - Cookville Provincial Park (Not on map) 
This tiny picnic park is on the LaHave River about five km below Frideaux Falls.Exit river left.To get there by car, take Exit 12 up Route 10 and travel 3.2 kms. (See LaHave River - River Route One map. On the LaHave River map, this is Exit One.) 
How to get there 
Access Point 1- Rhyno Lake 
Turn off Route 325 toward East Clifford and go 2.4 kms. Turn left at Lakeshore Drive and put in at a small beach on your right, or carry on to the bridge a short distance (200m) further on. 
Access Point 2- Wentzell Rd. 
This bridge is about 6 km downriver from Rhyno Lake. Turn right off Route 325 past Baker Settlement and go .6 km to the bridge. 
Access Point 3- Monk Rd. 
This bridge is about 9 km downriver from Rhyno Lake. Turn right off Route 325 just past Baker Settlement and go 1.6 km to the bridge. 
Access Point 4 or Exit - Midville Branch bridge 
This bridge is 15 km downriver from Rhyno Lake. Todrive there, take St. Philip’s Street out of Bridgewater or take Route 325 and turn right about four km past Newcombville at Haines Road #2. At the Midville Branch crossroads, turn left about .5 km to bridge. 
Beginner trip - A2 to A4 Take out well above the bridge on river left. 
Seven Mile Lake- Lake Route 9 
LaHave River - River Route 9
Topographic map - Bridgewater 21 A/7
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information