DID YOU KNOW?
Fossils are particularly abundant in the limestone rocks at the chutes. Sometimes embedded into a rock face, or lying loose on the ground, these fossils are often of plants, shells, and other aquatic life. See our "Rocks Tell Tales" exhibit for examples of such fossils!
Access this EcoSpace
The Chutes and Rapids can be accessed but such an adventure requires planning. First, one must be sure that the river is 'low' this will make for a pleasant hike along the river bank. Second, one must gain permission from the Little Red River Cree nation to pass through the John D'or Reserve Land. Third, the trail down to the river can be very rough and a 4X4 vehicle is recommended. Once on the river bank hike upstream about 7 km to reach the Chutes. There are no significant hills but may require manuvering over large boulders. From Fort Vermilion plan for a 8 hr adventure!
As always - if you have questions we are happy to help!
Vermilion Rapids and Chutes
From its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains, the Peace River meanders (700 miles 1167 kilometres) northeast joining the Slave and Mackenzie River systems on route to the Arctic Ocean. Only the Vermilion Rapids and Chutes interrupt navigation on the Peace. The Peace is recognized "unofficially" as a Canadian Heritage River.
(Meatina Powistik "The Real Rapids")
The Rapids are 78 kilometres (49 miles) downstream from Fort Vermilion. Keep a sharp lookout to the south for the Wabasca (Loon) River. It is somewhat hidden by a wooded island. From here, it is about 20 kilometres (13 miles) downstream to "The Rapids". They're not visible from afar, but canoeists should hear their distant roar. They have been described as "herds of great sheep jumping over one another." They are about a mile wide and the roughest part is only ½ mile in length.
Running parallel to the south bank is a trail used by many people through the years. You can disembark at the Upper Landing where an old storage shed reveals names of river travellers from days gone-by. The trail, about 8 kilometres (5 miles) long, takes you "up hill and down dale" weaving a path through the poplars and taking a final long slope to the river's edge.
(Nepegabeketik "Where the Water Falls")
"The Chutes" look like a series of fan-shaped, stone steps made of limestone rock and shale. They are approximately 4 kilometres (2.4 miles) below "The Rapids". Depending on the season and whether the river is running high or low, "The Chutes" range from 15 to 25 feet in height. In low water they are dangerous and could cause a shake up if you try to go over them. In high water, with proper experience, they are navigable.
The boat which supplied power for police scow, Carrying Premier Brownlee and his party (1929)
Little Red River Post
The old Hudson Bay post of Red River is approximately 6 kilometres (3.75 miles) downstream on the south side. After "The Chutes" the nearest settlement is Fox Lake, about 21 kilometres (12.6 miles) downstream on your right.