Trip Rating: 4.0/5
The Christie Conservation has three separate trips ranging from calm water to class V whitewater. This is a great trip for people local to Hamilton.
Trip Idea #1: Christie Lake
The lake section of the conservation area is a man-made reservoir created by the construction of the Christie Dam.On the far side of the dam is some serious white water in the spring months and two monster sized waterfalls. More on that later on.
The best launch site is at the North East side of the reservoir. It’s easy to get confused and go to the rental shop. Not only are the rentals below average, the launch spot is very difficult to get to from the parking lot with your gear. When you enter the park, turn to the right and follow the road to the very end of the park. Ignore the signs for the kayak rental shop (unless you are renting). The paring lot is attached to a very nice boat ramp. The map below should clear things up.
Trip Idea #2: Upper Spencer Creek
There is a small portage at the far west side of the lake. If you make the portage, you will end up in the Upper Spencer Creek. Depending on the water levels, you can paddle through the Christie Wildlife Area up to Highway 5. It’s possible even further, but I have never been able to.
Trip Length: Doing this stretch of the trip adds about 45 mins to the total time of trip 1.
Cost: $10 per car.
Difficulty: Assuming you are wearing the proper safety gear, this trip is fairly calm. There may be strong currents in the spring or after storms to watch out for. As always, use caution.
Trip Idea #3: Class III-V(I) Whitewater
On the East side of the lake, below the dam is a very advanced whitewater run. I am not in any way recommending that anyone ever attempt this run. In fact, don’t. However, it is a beautiful hike, and if you see some crazy people running it, it is entertaining to watch.
There is a cascade waterfall, an abandoned mill and two spectacular waterfalls. Trust me when I say, you do not want to get to close to them in a kayak!