Back to articles Family rafting adventure at Horizon X

Categories: Family Fun

We were very excited to be going on a family adventure with some friends to Horizon X this summer. They're a smaller rafting company located on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. We loved that they offer a "gentle rafting" adventure so we could share the experience with our adrenaline junky kids (ages range from 7-12)
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Horizon X is on Ile du grand calumet in Quebec about a 5 hour drive from Toronto. Since we were only going for the weekend (2 nights) we decided to forgo bringing our own tents to camp and paid a bit extra to enjoy "glamping" in one of the cabin-tents they rent out, which include cots.
There's lots of space at Horizon X for regular campers (with tents) as well as one cabin that is available to rent. Washrooms, showers and a common room are accessible to everyone who stays at Horizon X and were new, clean and extremely welcoming!

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Paddle boat fun

While the highlight of our trip to Horizon X was obviously white water rafting, there was certainly lots of other fun things to do when we got there. I think, between our two families, we had every watercraft out on the river at one point (paddle boat, kayaks and canoes). The river was great for swimming too, although we quickly learned just how fast the current runs and were particularly cautious with the smaller kids in the water. Fishing was yet another great activity the dads and kids, enjoyed!

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Wet suit wonders

The day of our big adventure on the river, we all got "suited" up in wet suits to keep us warm and dry. Safety is of the utmost concern to the staff at Horixon X, and it is mandatory for all rafters to wear helmets and life jackets.

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Paddle, paddle, paddle!

After a rockin' high-energy party bus ride to the beginning of our journey, we geared up and piled into our rafts. Most of our group were very excited about heading into the rapids but a few of us were nervous at the beginning. One thing that certainly helped calm our nerves, was the extreme confidence and obvious ability of our guides. We can't rave enough about the amazing staff at Horizon X. They were all so friendly, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful and FUN!

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The natural beauty of the Ottawa River

As exciting as riding the rapids was, I think we all agree that we were thoroughly moved by the extreme beauty of the Ottawa River and its natural surroundings. We were lucky enough to see a bald eagle fly over us (carrying a fish in its talons), got to pass by a tall barren tree with 3 majestic blue heron nests in it and then also got to see a few ospreys soaring overhead! The guides were great at stopping to let the kids see the birds and were constantly telling us interesting facts about the Ottawa River.

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The family rafting trip is about 16 km long (my arms were noticeably tired the next morning!) with 5-6 rapids that we rode through. The water was quite high on one of the bigger rapids, the Elevator Shaft and Dragon's Tongue... so the guides let us all out on the scenic rocks while they took the rafts through themselves and we hopped back in at the bottom.

Another stop we made on the trip was so everyone who wanted to could try body surfing down the rapids. It was an exhilarating and crazy experience for the brave souls who did it, and another lesson to everyone about the utter strength of the river's current. We had two safety kayaks paddling beside us the entire trip so they could quickly scoop someone up if the current swept them away while they were body-surfing or if someone fell out of a raft at any time.

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Relaxing in the hot tub

After a long full afternoon of white water rafting, we were all tired, hungry and had a bit of a chill. What could be better than popping into the fabulous hot tub at Horizon X!

There's an option to have your meals included in your vacation package... we opted to just cook ourselves, but I have to admit their bbq chicken did smell divine!!

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Campfire complete with ghost stories

After we had warmed up, dried out and filled up our bellies, we got to enjoy a wonderful campfire that the staff build every evening down by the beach. Our kids were so happy to roast marshmallows and make s'mores but the real treat I thought was having one of the talented staff play his guitar for us! I've heard that the star-gazing at Horizon X is stunning, but sadly we had a cloudy evening so didn't get to enjoy any. We did get to hear a great local ghost story though told by one of the staff about a fur trader, Jean Cadieux who died on the beach in the 1800's which added some colourful local history to the evening.

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Fabulous family fun at Horzion X

All in all we had an incredible weekend of outdoor activity and adventure at Horizon X. The setting was breathtaking, the staff were FANTASTIC and there was just so much amazing stuff to do. The kids are already asking to go back next year, which is always a true sign that it was a great holiday!

We highly recommend Horixon X to anyone who's interested in white water rafting, whether it's a family with kids or a bunch of adults who want to try their more adventurous rafting trips. The Ottawa River is a gorgeous spot and I'd say that the best way to truly experience it is in a raft with Horizon X!

For more information, please visit their website

Lisa Crowley has 2 fabulous kids with her Kiwi husband. She runs 2 great businesses, Once Upon A Child, Ajax and She enjoys an active lifestyle with her family: hiking, biking, camping, paddling, skiing and travelling (and is always on the look-out for her next adventure!)