Best Fall Day Paddling Routes
By Tracy Beverley
Kawarthas Northumberland is home to over 330 lakes and rivers, many of which are connected by the historic Trent-Severn Waterway. This means that there are plenty of scenic paddling routes to enjoy. Although the region isn’t known for long portage routes, you can certainly find many options for day paddles. You can also combine locations over several days to experience a variety and have a cross regional adventure dropping in and taking out in various locations.
There’s no arguing that the fall is the perfect time for a paddle with the lack of pesky bugs, cooler temperatures and breathtaking fall scenery. One of the best places to see the fall colours is from the water. We’ve hand selected a few day paddling trips for you to sample. These are easy paddles, no portaging necessary and best taken on a sunny fall day.
Located near Highway 36 between Buckhorn and Bobcaygeon, Nogies Creek drains from Nogies Lake, south through Crystal and into the north shore of Pigeon Lake.
You’ll find an access is off Bass Lake Road off of highway 36 as you head towards Bobcaygeon. There is a convenient place to park and launch your canoe from a shallow gravel beach. You’ll feel like you’re paddling through a Group of Seven painting with the rocky shoreline and tall pines.
There are a few different paddling options on Balsam Lake with canoe rentals and amenities at the ready at Balsam Lake Provincial Park. One option is to head north around Indian Point Provincial Park and up through Coboconk into the Gull River. Coboconk Canada’s fresh water summit – this means it is Canada’s highest body of fresh water from which one can circumnavigate the world by boat.
The other option we’re suggesting to check out on Balsam Lake is the stretch of canal between Balsam Lake and Mitchell Lake. This narrow section of the Trent-Severn waterway is a hidden gem and will give you photo worthy fall views. There’s an easy access point from the Balsam Lake boat launch off of Balsam Lake Road.
Ferris Provincial Park
Ferris Provincial Park is a must visit in the fall. You’ll have a good mix of paddling, hiking, scenic views and tasty local treats. You can launch your boat in at Ferris Provincial Park or if you don’t have your own, you can rent a kayak from the park. The paddle from Ferris Provincial Park to Lock 10 is approximately 5km round-trip.
After your paddle take in the views while traversing the Ranney Gorge Suspension bridge and enjoy the lookout over Ranney falls. A visit to Campbellford isn’t complete without a trip to Dooher’s Donuts, Empire Cheese Factory Outlet and World’s Finest Chocolate Outlet.
Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Presqu’ile Bay and Marsh are sheltered enough to allow for some great paddling exploration. The water vantage point will give you excellent birding opportunities. Presqu’ile is a renowned bird watching destination in Ontario with over 300 bird species spotted within the park and its location acts as a major stopover for migrating birds and monarchs.
Boats can be launched at the Camp Office viewing platform or at Calf Pasture picnic area. Presqu’ile also offers scenic fall hiking trails and tasty food trucks await you at the entrance at Presqu’ile Park Place.
Eels Creek is accessible from Northey’s Bay Road off of 28. This route would be for more experienced paddlers as there are areas of moving water and small rapids. A short portage is needed to get past High Falls.
Eels Creek is a historic paddling route used by the original inhabitants of the land and early explorers such as Samuel De Champlain. You can discover more of the indigenous history at nearby Petroglyphs Provincial Park which is home to Largest known concentration of Indigenous rock carvings (petroglyphs) in Canada.
Bottle Lake in the Kawartha Highlands
Bottle Lake is a beautiful and very accessible lake. You’ll find an incredible sandy beach on the northeast end of the lake, waterfalls and mill ruins to discover. Bottle Creek is also a highlight to paddle as it empties into Bottle Lake and it is very easy to paddle up it as the current is mild.
You access Bottle Lake from Beaver Lake Road, east off of Highway 507.
Little Lake – Downtown Peterborough
If you don’t have your own canoe and you are looking for something more low key and perhaps with nearby food and drinks then head to Little Lake in Peterborough. You will find Kawartha Outfitters below the Silver Bean Cafe. Feel free to lily dip and chill out in this small lake. Soon you will be able to learn everything about the canoe on the shore of Little Lake as it will be the new home of The Canadian Canoe Museum.
These paddling routes are just the tip of the iceberg in Kawarthas Northumberland, to explore further click on one of the buttons below.