The Humber River has been the lifeblood of the paper industry in Western Newfoundland ever since the pulp and paper mill was built at Corner Brook in 1923. It is also known as a world class salmon fishing river. The whole watershed covers 8124km2.
The huge river system is divided into several parts. The upper Humber runs from Beaver Pond in the Long Range Mountains to Deer Lake. Deer Lake itself is a 50km expanse of water that ends just past the town of Pasadena and the newly developed Humber Valley Resort. The Lower section of the river runs from the end of Deer Lake to its final end at Humber Arm in the Bay of Islands.
The whole river system and many of its tributaries offer a multitude of recreational activities. The river changes from long wide steadies to raging class 5 rapids and back again several times before finally reaching the sea. The Humber is great place to paddle weather you like a canoe or a kayak. I've even done the lower section in a sea kayak.
The Lower Humber is a great place explore for paddlers of any skill level. Most of its 15km length is broad and wide and with trees growing right to the edge of the rocky-river bank. The best place to put in is at the bridge that crosses onto Humber Valley Resort at the end of Deer Lake. From here the river meanders its way through the beautiful Humber Valley, past the towns of Little Rapids and Humber Village. The rich soil along the rivers banks has made the Humber Valley one of the islands best agricultural sites and several farms can be seen from the water.
When the river reaches the town of Steady Brook it gets funneled between two mountains and picks up speed on its final run to the ocean. The geology of the area is quickly revealed as you pass by. The only real rapid on the route is at Shellbourne Island just past Steady Brook. Depending on the tide at the mouth of the river it may be a mere ripple or a class 1. It is easily run with no obstacles. Shelbourne Island has been rumored to be the site of a buried pirate treasure.
After Shelbourne Island the river continues on through the mountain valley passing the well known "Man in the Mountain" carved into the rock above us. Despite passing near the Trans Canada Highway in most places the river has a very serene feeling as you paddle the last few kilometers to the Bay of Islands.
This river was noted and mapped by the great explorer James Cook over 300 years ago and the history of the Humber in this region is intertwined with most of its residents. By the time you reach the wide estuary that begins at the bridge to the North Shore highway. You can take out at the bridge or at many different places further down. The bridge is the best take out point for canoes because the wind may be much stronger beyond this point.
The whole trip will take no longer than three or four hours and there are many different put in and take out points you can choose along the way. It is a great river for teaching canoe skills or just a relaxing afternoon. Despite its lack of serious threats the Humber is a high volume river and should be treated with respect, especially in high water. Always remember the rules of the river and the might Humber can give you endless enjoyment. Several operators in the area run private tours on the Lower Humber.
Exit the TCH East at Humber Valley Resort, 20km east of Corner Brook. You can put in just below the bridge.
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