Bonnechere Caves

North Algona Wilberforce Township 7.4-ha provincially significant Earth Science ANSI.
Bonnechere Caves ANSI is situated in a Paleozoic Outlier containing Middle Ordovician, Ottawa Formation jointed limestones. Holocene karst features such as caves, karst windows and stalactites developed in the limestone. This ANSI is considered to have the most extensive and finest cave system in Ontario. [Earth Science Database, 1998]

An excerpt from Ole Hendrickson's diary on his paddle down the Bonnechere River summer 2011.

Friday August 12 – Eganville to Douglas

I drove from Pembroke to Douglas and left my bicycle at the bridge, then drove upriver past the Fourth Chute to the parking area on Grist Mill Road just outside Eganville. This is marked on the old MNR Pembroke District map as “public access to water”, but it is still at the lower end of Jessups Rapids and I had to drag the canoe through the shoals to get to water deep enough to float. It might be possible to put in upstream closer to the dam in Eganville and shoot the rapids in high water, but I would caution that this should only be done by experienced white water canoeists – at one point there is a ledge running across the entire width of river.

Fourth Chute after a summer thundershower




Natural bridge at Fourth Chute


The highlight of this segment of the river is Fourth Chute, one of the scenic wonders of the Bonnechere. The Fourth Chute area is relatively free of garbage. The best views of the Chute are obtained by walking through the tunnel under the natural bridge through the limestone rock. The portage around the Chute is tricky. One needs to be careful, approaching, to hug the right-hand shore so as not to get swept over the first drop. On the portage trail at one point I had to put the canoe down, turn it sideways, and drag it through small cedars up a short slope. The trail also has a lot of poison ivy.

Below the Chute the river is often shallow, with extensive areas of the river bed consisting of solid limestone. At the low water levels of August 2011 I had to get out of my canoe to wade and pull the canoe through the shoals (these cannot really be considered rapids). Paddling in higher water would be lots of fun.

Long straight stretch above Fourth Chute



Looking upstream at shoals


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