backcountry paddling near Montreal

I am going on a trip in a few weeks with a friend from Montreal. Any suggestions for where we should go? I am open to Class 2 whitewater, big lakes or tidal rivers with lots of wind, and tiny rivers running through wetlands. Multi-day backcountry camping is mandatory, not camping near roads. Let’s say within a five-hour drive of Montreal, preferably a bit less.

I have been to the Adirondacks and Algonquin and La Verendrye and would go back to either. I have often heard of the Gaspe Peninsula but know nothing about it (and I doubt it’s within driving range). My friend has heard of La Mauricie but knows nothing about it. Any info? Other possibilities?

There you will find descriptions of trips in those areas.

Many of the rivers on the Gaspe Peninsula will be low by now. It’s been a low rainfall year for much of North America. Rivers north of Montreal should be in better shape.

I hope you know that class 2 rivers that are great fun in a lightly loaded canoe can be a deadly risk with a full load.

Papineau La Belle is closer
to Montreal.

But I have a map of it at home where I am not…

La Mauricie
I’ve been there and enjoyed it. It was a reasonable drive from Montreal. I don’t remember many details, except BEARS. There was a bear already occupying my assigned campsite as I approaced it from the water.

Also Maine
There are a zillion good places within 5 hours of Montreal, in any direction. Not to mention the pond in LaFontaine park.

I would not bother with northern Vermont or New Hampshire—not enough water there. But Maine would be great.