Seymour River – Upper Run

Contributed by Claudia Schwab
What It's Like
Pool-drop, some flat sections, gravel bed, low volume
Scouting / Portaging
Scouting is easy, no portages required
3 hours
When to Go
Spring run-off and rain
2.08cms↓ (Jul 24 08:00)
Gauge and Levels: same 'rock' gauge as for Lower Seymour. Medium: 3 – 5. High: 6-8.  

Online gauge 
Low 30cms -> 50cms
Medium 50cms -> 80cms
High 80cms+

Scenery: Scenic coastal rain forest valley. Mountain views.

Length of Run: 12.5 km

Length of Shuttle (one way): 11.5 km

Directions: In North Vancouver, take Exit 22 from Hwy 1. Follow Lillooet Road north past Capilano College and the North Vancouver Cemetery to Seymour Demonstration Forest (about 5 km). Check in with the park warden to get access beyond the gate (see details below). To reach the put-in, continue on the road for about 9 km. At Spur 7 turn right. Go straight onto a gravel spur and drive until you get to the river. Check with the park warden on where to take out and how to get there. 

Description: At higher water this run has lots of play waves. At lower water there are many small boulder gardens and some flat sections. Not much happens in respect to whitewater until you get to the bridge at spur 4. Below the bridge, there are several boulder gardens and near the end of the run a couple of class III. The last one has a headwall that has caused trouble for quite a few paddlers it is possible to take-out before these last 2 rapids but the recommended take-out is at the old bridge abutment. 

For Vancouver Whitewater Club and Beaver Canoe Club there is a special agreement to be able to access and paddle the Upper Seymour River in the Lower Seymour Conservatory.  This is a privilege and there are some strict rules to follow, please respect these and be careful especially with speed limits and on the takeout road.  Many years ago there was an unfortunate accident where someone swam on this section and drowned flowing straight down into a high water canyon section.  Since then a landslide changed the canyon section so there is a short lake between the sections so a repeat of this accident is unlikely.

For access only one group is permitted at one time so please coordinate on the Vancouver Whitewater Club channels.  There only needs to be one active club member in your group but they will be nominated the group leader for the paperwork.

Drive to the Rice Lake Gate, stop and go chat to the warden.  Tell them you are with Vancouver Kayak Club (our old name) or Beaver Canoe Club and fill out your names and license plates and indicate a time you will be out and fill in an emergency contact.  

They will give you a pass to display on your dash and keys to access the take out road and a copy of the rules including a map.

Drive up to either Spur 4 (obviously sign-posted) or Spur 7, which is where there is a turn just before a gate.  Cars are not permitted to park on the beach at Spur 7, and the rules say to park on the pavement so we walked the 30m from there to the river.

Accessing the take-out requires a key and you can in fact drive all the way down to the suspension bridge and park by the river.  On this road (particularly when driving up) please use extreme caution!! Pedestrians may glare at you and Cyclists will not be expecting to see you, turn on your 4way blinkers and you are encouraged to use your horn on blind corners to let others know you are there.

You are not permitted to paddle downstream from here as there is the landslide just before the Seymour canyon and you cannot use this as a way to drop boats for the Seymour Canyon either.

When you are done please return your pass and key to the warden. Be mindful of what time the main gate to the area closes, in winter it is 5pm.