Paddle Lunenburg/Queens

River Route 5-2: The Mersey River (Lake Rossignol to Liverpool)

Record #: LQR0029
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
Liverpool, NS
Areas Served Lunenburg County ; Queens County (NS)


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

Description & Services

Mersey River Two - Lake Rossignol to Liverpool 
This part of the Mersey has six large dams creating narrow lake-like sections in between that are forested with a few islands. 
Where: Near Liverpool 
Skill Level: Beginner/intermediate, Rapids- Class 1-2 
Time: Day trip or overnight 
Distance: 18 km 
Start: Dam #3 
Finish: Milton - Numerous other access/exit points 
Click map to enlarge 
Click map to enlarge 
Click map to enlarge 
If you are planning to do the river from Lake Rossignol down, you’ll need to portage around Dam One, Two and Three. Be prepared for some long carries (see below). There are only two short paddles in between these dams of one km and three km. Since most of us like to maximize paddling and minimize portaging, the recommended start is below Dam Three into the longest stretch of river. The route has a wilderness feel with few cottages or development except at the dams. At the same time, the road parallels the river for its entire length, close but out of sight making for easy exit if needed in an emergency. This river unlike most in this book can be paddled spring through fall and is well suited to beginners. 
Water Safety Notes (See also River Notes) 
Dams - It is easy to get out at the dams up a short bank to the road. Stay away from the power stations (yellow buildings) both above and below the dams. The current below the dams is considerable and subject to automatic water releases so put in well below the current. Spillways (channels off to the side where the excess water goes) are also subject to changes in water level. See letter from Nova Scotia Power, Page 139. A light canoe or a strong back is recommended if you plan to do many of the portages. Strong winds may also be a factor as noted below. 
The Journey 
Dam One - Upper Lake Falls. Portage about 300m. Exit at ramp to the left of the dam. Carry down the road and put in well below the dam. Paddling the sections of river in between the dams is like paddling on a lake. 
Dam Two - Lower Lake Falls. Portage about 600m. Take out to the left of the dam. Once past the dam, follow a woods road along the river about 400m to where the current slows down. There’s a pretty spot here for a picnic and an easy spot to launch. 
Dam Three - Big Falls. Portage about 600 m. Take out to left of dam and carry down road past the houses and put in just above the bridge or below. Watch out for current coming from the spillway. From here is a long paddle of about 8 km to Dam 4. That may be enough for some people especially if the wind is in your face. This can be a windy section of the river. There are a few attractive islands along the way with big stands of softwood. A point of interest in this section of river is the Mersey Lodge, an attractive old building and grounds with wonderful stonework and gorgeous custom-made rugs. Once owned by the Bowater Mersey Paper Company Limited, it is now operated as a commercial lodge. 
Dam Four - Lower Great Brook. Portage about 200m. Take out river left, cross the road, go left to a woods trail on your right, go down this trail and put in below the dam. You can expect moving water in the canal but its quite gentle. The lake before Dam Five can be a windy spot. 
Dam Five - Deep Brook. Portage about 300m. Take out on the right side of the dam this time and carry down the stairs or go to the right along the road that curves down and past the power station. Continue down a trail along the river to a point beyond the current about 50m. 
Dam Six - Cowie Falls. Portage about 300m Take out above the dam river left, carry down the road past the power station, and turn right onto a dirt road that goes along the river about 100m. 
Rapid 1 - Once past Dam Six, the river picks up speed. At the first bridge in Milton, take out river left and scout the rapids. 
Exit Point 1 - Milton. Danger - just before the second bridge, a dam stretches across the river here with a 2m drop and a dangerous hydraulic wave at its base. Make sure to take out well above the dam on river left in a small cove between two blue buildings and a parking lot. 
How to get there 
Take Exit 19 off Highway 103 and head up river toward Milton. 
Exit Point 1 
Take out is possible at any of the dams, at a few points where the river meets the road or just above the dam, river left at Milton (E1). 
Access Point 1 - Dam One 
Turn left onto the River Road off Route 8 about three km from Milton. Travel about 20 km up this road to the sign for Upper Lake Falls at Lake Rossignol. 
Access Point 2 - Dam Three 
Turn left onto the River Road off Route 8 about three km from Milton. Travel about 14 km up this road to the sign for Big Falls Station. 
Camping is possible at various spots along the river. 
You may want to carry on to Liverpool and the ocean. If so take out river left above the dam in Milton and carry over Bridge #2 and down past a small park (Tupper Park) to a boat ramp. From here the river is wide and tidal down to the town of Liverpool about 4 km with many historic old homes along the way. Take out just before the bridge river left at a public launch area in front of Lane’s Privateers Hotel and Restaurant where they 
make a good coffee. 
No connections on down river trip. 
Up river connections: 
Lake Rossignol- Lake Route 5 
Christopher Lakes - Lake Route 3 
Mersey River One- This Route - Part One
Topographic map - Liverpool 21 A/2
Eligibility Ages: 16 year(s) and up 
Children under 16 with adults - please use own discretion depending on skill level

Special Information