High Falls on the Bonnechere River

High Falls on the Bonnechere River is a picturesque little waterfall near the southern boundary of Algonquin Park. In the 1800s, it was a significant impediment to the transport of logs down the river.

2006 May 03

On Wednesday, my friend Richard and I went exploring along Turner's Road in Algonquin Park. Our primary goal was to visit High Falls on the Bonnechere River at spring water levels.

The Little Bonnechere River drains a portion of south-eastern Algonquin Park, bounded to the east and north by the Petawawa watershed and to the west by the Madawaska watershed. While McKaskill Lake is often taken to be its source, North Branch, Redpole, Fairy and Prong are also headwater lakes. During the 19th century the river was an important transportation corridor for the timber trade. It is hard to imagine today that this small river was used to float massive, squared white-pine logs to eventual market in Quebec City. High Falls was a significant obstruction.

High Falls on the Bonnechere River in Algonquin Park

The upstream approach to High Falls.

High Falls on the Bonnechere River in Algonquin Park

While the river is small, the flow is very turbulent.

High Falls on the Bonnechere River in Algonquin Park

Looking across.

High Falls on the Bonnechere River in Algonquin Park
High Falls on the Bonnechere River in Algonquin Park

Richard contemplating the final drop.

High Falls on the Bonnechere River in Algonquin Park

It is not at all evident today how they managed to get the squared timber over this obstruction. Old photos indicate a dam above the falls and old surveys indicate a timber slide, but evidence of these are gone.

Bibliography

Roderick Mackay (1996), Spirits of the Little Bonnechere, The Friends of Bonnechere Parks.

Mark Stabb and Roderick Mackay (2002), Walks of the Little Bonnechere River, The Friends of Bonnechere Parks.