Widgeon Creek Paddle

I went on a day-long paddleboarding trip with a few friends from Pitt River, up Widgeon Creek till the Widgeon Creek Campground. We then went on to do the hike to Widgeon Falls.

I was the first to arrive around 8am, so I was rewarded with a serene view of the Pitt-Addington Marsh all by myself.

Pitt-Addington Marsh

We thought the Pitt Lake Boat Launch was still closed due to a dispute between the Katzie First Nation and the province of BC, so we respectfully parked outside the park boundary (google maps) to launch. Later we found out that the area was quietly re-opened with many canoeists and kayakers launching from the parking lot.

Because we parked 3km further out, the entire route was 15km round trip, taking about 3.5 hours to complete. Had we launched at the boat launch, the journey would be closer to 10km and doable in 2 to 2.5 hours, not counting the time spent chilling at the campsite.

It was a breeze on the way in, with minimal wind in the morning gently pushing us along. From launching our paddleboards at 9:30, it only took about 1.5 hours to get to the campsite.

Entering Widgeon Creek

The view was fantastic, the water was calm but pretty muddy and red. The water in Widgeon Creek was quite still, felt more like a lake than a flowing creek. Inside the creek, there were no motor boats allowed so that’s always a plus.

One major downside about this paddle was crossing Pitt River, with motor boats speeding up and down to get to Pitt Lake. At one point, a boat came in each direction at high speeds, sandwiching some paddlers in the middle. I had to paddle on my knees like my life depended on it, because it did.

Another minor negative about launching outside the park gate was a lack of toilets. One had to hold it until reaching the campsite to use the public pit toilets. With the boat launch seemingly reopened, launching there would be much preferable. But one would still need to cross the busy Pitt River regardless.

A great blue heron taking flight in Widgeon Creek.

We took a break at the Widgeon Creek Campsite, keeping our social distance with 2m apart, no food sharing, etc. Some of us went on to hike to Widgeon Falls, while others took a nap or watched the groups’ paddleboards.

We hung out at the campsite from 11am to about 2pm before heading back out on the water. On the way back, we fought a head wind of about 12km/h the whole way, which was very intense at the end of an already physical day.

I stopped to take a breather at the mouth of Widgeon Creek. With waves gently rocking my paddleboard, I could have fallen asleep for a nap. Maybe I would one day, but probably with an anchor put in for additional assurance.

The last leg of the journey, crossing Pitt River with full strength of head wind was a grueling hour of hard work for me. And don’t forget that paddle-for-your-life excitement while crossing the river.

The last leg of our journey.

The way back from campsite took 2 hours and felt much longer than that. We ended our day around 5pm, and I was pretty exhausted. I think 15km is about my current maximum distance for paddling in calm water, probably a lot shorter in choppier waters. Need more training to level up!

Overall, Widgeon Creek makes for a fantastic day paddle, with a great mix of lake paddling and river paddling. The water in the lake and creek was muddy though, and not very inviting for a swim. I came back for a fall paddle a few months later and the water was crystal clear.

  • Difficulty – wind can be strong on Pitt Lake
  • Boat traffic – speeding boats on Pitt Lake makes this paddle too dangerous to bring a toddler
  • View – fantastic views with very little noise in Widgeon Creek
  • Facilities – pit toilet available at boat launch
  • Overall score – 7/10

6 responses to “Widgeon Creek Paddle”

  1. […] I had to paddle against a few bouts of strong headwind, which seemed to be dependent on the turns of the river. When the river flows in the same direction as the wind, the effect was the strongest. I remembered my struggle with this kind of head wind as a beginner paddling back from the nearby Widgeon Creek. […]

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