Cooks Falls, on the Whitemouth river, is a drop-pool style of rapid created by the narrowing effect of shorline rock outcroppings and several river wide ledges. This class 2/2+ rapid has a variety of features which are very dependant on water levels and fluctuate dramatically throughout the season. Water levels are solely determined by precipitation as the Whitemouth river is an isolated drainage river, so it's important to check water flow before you go. (levels can fluctuate between 250 and 6000 cfs) .
Cooks Falls offers something for everyone, from ledge-holes, to small standing waves. One of favorite beginner and intermediate teaching sites, students enjoy the safety of the large sheltered bottom pools, clean shoreline access, easy eddies, gentle wave trains, and a clean run-able line. More intermediate paddlers will enjoy searching out the subtle play features. Intermediate play features really start to appear at 2000 cfs+ and get cranking for advanced paddling in flood levels of 4000-6000 cfs+.
Special Note: Cook's Falls is a relatively safe spot to play, however the water is shallow so you must be cautious of rocks. There is a large reef-style rock at the bottom of the rapid, which creates a relatively dangerous hole at certain water levels. The water is stronger than it looks and requires proficient scouting from all angles before you jump in to play. Other potential hazards include logs and other objects traveling through the rapid which may be uprooted during high water. Portage on either side of the rapids.
Cook's Falls Campsite: Most of the time the campsite is open but to play it safe, call Glen (204)348-7752 for reservations. The campsite is located adjacent to the rapids, on the East side of the river. It is often the site of choice for local paddlers, regardless of where they are paddling in the region because of its central location. A 20 minute car ride will take paddlers to several other class 2 rapids, all on the Whitemouth River. Sturgeon Falls is a half-hour drive and Whitemud Falls is a one-hour drive from Cooks.
Cook's Falls Campsite, privately operated since 1994, was originally opened to allow local paddlers access to the rapids. Since then, it has evolved into a beautiful, quiet, and clean site that really makes an effort to cater to the boating community. Amenities include out-houses, picnic tables, fire pits, a tank with drinking water and "loonie" showers. There is also a renovated old barn that can be rented for social events, along with a BBQ and kitchen. It's a really good time! Cooks Falls is approximately 60 minutes from Winnipeg or the Ontario Border.
If you are traveling from Ontario:
Traveling west on the Trans Canada Turn north onto highway #11 at Hadashville Follow highway #11 past the town of Elma to the junction of the #11 and #44 Turn west and drive a few km's and turn north on Rice Road. (see directions below)
If you are traveling east from Winnipeg:
Take highway #15 (Dugald Road) east to the town of Elma. At Elma, turn north onto highway #11. When you get to the junction of #11 and #44, turn west. Drive about 1 km and turn north on Rice Road (watch for the small green sign with white lettering).
From Rice Road:
Heading North on Rice Road you will cross a set of tracks (these are uncontrolled so be cautious). The road will dead end and turn left and bring you to a four way uncontrolled intersection. Hang a right onto River Road. The road will dead end and turn left again, then after the big dip, it will dead end and turn right. Watch for the Cook's Campground sign on the second side road (low on the ground), and hang a left. Look for a bright red barn in the distance. Congratulations you have found it!