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Elora Gorge

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    I find myself on one of those "we always go paddling, I just want to camp" week/ends. The wife has said it may be okay to head to elora tomorrow or saturday.

    We’ve never been. Where exactly is it? (put in take out) Do I need to bring a bike for shuttle duties?

    I know the level is low, but it’s better than no paddling, or the glass smooth lake. and driving any further is out of the question (I’m lucky she’s considering this).

    Any help would be great. I only have internet access for the next couple hours. I’ll check back and hopefully someone can help. We have a cell with us as well 313.231.1438.



    well things at Elora have changed a bit since i was frequenting the river there.

    There used to be two put-ins.

    1. was outside the GRCA park, on the other side of the river in town is a park where you can go down som efairly steep stairs and walk down a rockbed to the gorge. This used to be an decent option.
    2. there was a grass parking lot inside the park where you could walk up-river some then cross into private property. As I understand this was closed a few years back. Perhaps it’s re-opened?

    The accomodate this, GRCA created a new putin location which is about 25% of the way down the river as I understand near the "chute". I’ve never taken this route before.

    It’s usually best to have some type of shuttle if paddling at Elora, but its not out of the question to walk back to your car (without your boat on your back). Especially if the put in is inside the park, and possibly now its even better with the new putin…

    Also you can purchase an arm band that the tubers use at elora. This would give you access to the bus which shuttles you to the top of the river to retrive your car. Also not a bad option on weekends.

    Anyhow to get there, enter the Grand River Concervation Authority (GRCA) and get yourself a camp site. Then you should be able to find the take out fairly easily, maybe ask the rangers. It’s at a very low bridge, basically a concrete slab with holes in it. The river runs inside the holes.

    There is some camping really close to the take out, so that might be a nice place to camp if you are staying there.

    Sorry I don’t have more for you…

    I just go to Minden / Gull when my wife wants to camp and I want to kayak. The logistics are better (shuttle etc) and the camping is really nice. Its a bit further then Elora from Toronto (assuming you live there) but its a nice drive.


    Thanks for the responses and Mark for meeting us there (being sick and all).

    I would still love if a local could PM me some specifics about this easy summer run. Where can we put in for an easy run? I think we found the take-out in the park. And when does the level come up in the fall? Had difficult does it get? (Finally bought the wife a tent heater to extend our camping season)

    At this level this seems to be an easy paddle to help sell the wife, and build her confidence.

    I know the Gull is better, but it takes us 8 hours to get there on a friday night, and they don’t have showers. East Race is only 3 hours away and guaranteed water, safer, so it’s an easier sell to the wife.

    I appreciate (and support) WO and the Minden Preserve is a great site. In practial terms we (at this skill level) are not going to drive up there for a normal weekend when we are only using the protion below Otter slide. The wife is afraid of the horror stories she constantly hears about swiming Otter Slide. Rip on me for our lack of skill if you want, at least we’re trying to get into a sport in our mid thirties.

    I would ask that all of you who responded about the Gull, join and support Whitewater Ontario, and the preserve itself.

    I belong do you?

    Grant Miller
    Member AW and WO.


    I live in Guelph for most of the year, and I am not fortunate to own a drysuit, so i do not know the conditions for most of the year. But I have been there many times.

    As far as put in take out info:

    JoeJoe got it right. There is a put in within the park at the chute. Ive seen the wooden stairway, but when i walked the road above it, i totaly missed it and walked the trail to irvine creek. Its there though. All water below the chute is all class 1/2 at low water levels.

    To get to the other put-in go north on highway 7, turn right on ross st. (right b4 the river) pass the ruined building on the left, and park in the parking lot ahead. Walk back to the ruins, and there will be a pathway leading down to the river. theres a couple s-bend rapids before the chute (class 3) – portage RR.

    If you want flow information look at the "whats running" (waterlevels) page, click on elora. The top link gives you current flow, the bottom, gives you historical flows.

    In my experiences, a flow of 5- 5.3 is ideal flow rate. Not too rocky, just enough water. Nice waves. Anything below 4.5 is getting too bony for my liking, but still runable. I cant vouch for anything higher than a 5.5. Havent been. I suggest you dont go at anything higher unless someone can tell you otherwise.

    Hope this helps.

    Try the Madawaska river, or MKC sometime. Really nice river, with half decent rapids, and awsome campsites. I went to MKC last year, and was in a class with a 70 year old. The guy went down class 4’s after the 1 week course. Boosted my confidence and skills also. Make it a week/weekend trip. Well worth your time. If you dont want a course, try the middle mad, or palmer rapids. I suggest the middle, below staircase rapids. All class 1/2 for a few km and never gets old. So many lines you can take with friendly hydrolics you can play with.

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