The river cuts its way through a steep banked valley producing many surfwaves and grade II-III features in the sharp corners and over rock ledges. Additional features are created by boulders and ledges that constrict the flow. The valley is very scenic with consistent gradient and features through the first half of the run(to take out #1), it then mellows as the river valley opens up the rest of the way to the old ford(Take-Out #2). At the right flows the Brazeau river quite likely offers the best playboating in the area with numerous friendly surfable features.
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It is possible to reach the Brazeau from the North via Hinton or from the South via Nordegg. There are 2 possible takeouts, the first one cuts out large amounts of flat water on the end of the run though from the river it is poorly(i.e. not at all) marked. Take out #2 makes for a longer run in a very scenic place with a takeout that is easier to identify.
From Hinton: From Highway 16 travel south on Switzer drive towards the Hinton Hospital. From the traffic lights at the hospital turn South on the Robb Road and follow for 30.4Km(just past the km 32 marker) and turn right (South) onto the the Pembina River road(PR) follow for 54Km to a Y, stay right at this Y. It is poorly marked but this is now the Cardinal River Road. Follow for 20.6km and through the Smallboys village to the garbage dump just East of the village.
-Take-out #1 from Hinton: This take out cuts down significantly on the flatwater section of the run but requires more hiking or use of a 4 wheel drive vehicle, additionally, at river level this take-out is only marked with rocks and trees….not terribly dis-similar to the rest of the river's bank. On the East side of the Smallboy's garbage dump turn right(South) onto the gravel road and follow for 1.2Km. Look for a small dirt 4×4 trail on the right(South). Follow this 750m to its end at a clearing. From the clearing there is a poorly marked trail/bushwhack ~100m heading South-West to the river.
-Take-out #2 from Hinton: From the Smallboy garbage dump continue down the Cardinal River road for an additional 7.6km to a gravel road leading off on the right(South) follow this 1.5km to the river.
From Nordegg: Travel west on Highway 11 for ~2km. Turn North on Highway 940 and follow for 61km to the bridge over the Brazeau river, follow for another kilometer to the junction with the Cardinal River Road. Follow the Cardinal River Road for 6.6km to reach the gravel road of Take-out #2, or follow 14.2km to the Smallboy's garbage dump for Take-out #1.
From either put-in return to the Cardinal River Road. From the intersection at the garbage dump(Take out #1 turn off) travel West on the Cardinal River Road for 5.3km through and past the Smallboy village to a well travelled cutline on the left(South) side of the road. Follow this cutline trail several hundered meters to a clearing with a ford crossing a small creek. At this point it is 1.5km to the river, start hoofin' it or continue on with 4×4. After the ford the off-road track continues to the left and meets up with a cutline. Follow the cutline to a large lagoon/pond and either paddle across or take the cutline detour path around it. On the South side of the lagoon/pond the cutline continues. If you have not already done so park here. On foot follow the cutline until it drops into a gully and ends, cross the creek at the bottom of the gully and continue up the hill on the other side(from the top of this hill you may be able to hear the river). Continue to travel South/Southeast for ~200m until you reach the river and find a suitable place to put-in.
Scenic medium to large volume river with numerous fun surfing oportunities.
Average: 5.1m/km (0.51%)
Max: 30m in 2.8km(1%)
Uncontrolled and fed by snowmelt and glacial runoff. Surf is good above 110cms
Low Flow: 30-60cms
High Flow: 150-300cms
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