Whether you prefer the gentle rocking of a canoe or the exhilaration of kayaking through rough rapids, or even stand up paddling on the lake, the Beaver Valley and surrounding area has it all!
This gentle flowing river is fantastic for novice paddlers. Winding through the Beaver Valley the route offers some of the greatest scenery in all of Ontario including views of the Niagara Escarpment and never ending countryside. Along the way you are sure to encounter a variety of wildlife including many species of birds, white-tailed deer and of course beavers! There are 4 access points to the Beaver River. The first is a 10km stretch from Kimberley to Epping that should take 2-3 hours to complete. It is surrounded by beautiful trees and nature, but paddlers should be aware of possible debris, logs, and beaver dams that may need to be portaged around. From Epping to Heathcote is a beautiful 5km stretch that should take 2 hours to complete. It is an ideal part of the river for families, but a few swift currents could be encountered depending on water levels and the season. The final stretch of the river is 3 km between Heathcote and Slabtown that should take 1 hour to complete. Small rapids and eddies may be encountered making this part of the river best for more experienced paddlers. Disembark on the west bank before the town dam before Thornbury.
The Sydenham River offers peaceful paddling in an urban area. This 5.5km stretch from Harrison Park to East Boat Launch should take paddlers 1-2 hours to complete. At the access point in Harrison park checkout the variety of exotic birds, RV campground, hiking trails and waterfall. Then set out down river! On your paddle you will see marshland home to gorgeous swans, pass lovely homes and gardens all in the shade of the riverbank’s walnut trees. Pull ashore at the Mill Dam and portage down the bank of the river. This dam also features a fish ladder that was built in 1959. Continue down the river until you reach the east harbour. Paddlers who would like a different route can paddle to Kelso Beach Park and the Pottawatomi River on the west side of the bay which has alternate exit points at the park and Harrison Field.
The Saugeen River rises in one of the highest points in southwestern Ontario, flowing to the west through gorgeous rolling landscapes all the way to Lake Huron. The route travels across agricultural land, but is mostly bordered by mixed forest giving paddlers the feeling of being surrounded by nature and the wilderness. The official route has 12 access points (#3-#15) but there are a few before and after the official route that paddlers can take on. The river varies from wide, slow-flowing sections to parts with rapids and eddies, making this river ideal for family canoeing. The rapids do not give paddlers too much difficulty except in the early spring when water is high and fast flowing.There are 4 access points that are within/close to Grey highlands. One of these access points is access point #2 with an 8.5 km stretch to the next access point in Hanover that should take paddlers approximately 2 hours to complete. It is important to note that this stretch is recommended for experienced paddlers only due to high water, obstacles, and heavy rapids that you may encounter. As stated before, the official route begins after that at access point #3 in the Hanover Town Park. Just after this access points lies the Hanover Dam that requires portage to get across. In this stretch waters tend to be deep and slow moving. This 5 km stretch to the next access point at the Maple Hill Dam should take approximately 1 hour to complete.The following access point (#4) gives access to a 14.5 km stretch from Maple Hill to the next access point in Walkerton which should take approximately 3 hours. In this heavily forested part of the river, several gentle rapids are encountered until you reach the Hydro Dam. Portage is required across the Maple Hill dam, the Hydro dam, as well as the Walkerton Dam. Once in Walkerton paddlers can choose to end their journey or continue as the river moves further west out of Grey Highlands. The 14.5 km stretch to the next access point is one of the most challenging parts of the river.
Why not enjoy a long paddle in your canoe or kayak or possibly partake in some wind-surfing at Lake Eugenia! Here a launch fee applies if you use the dock area to launch your canoe or watercraft. Most paddlers set-off from the beach. An irregular shoreline and central island make it great for exploring during your paddle. Irish Lake is a 20 acre lake located in the Municipality of Grey Highlands South of Markdale, Ontario. This non-motorized lake has approximately 50 cottages surrounding it. This small peaceful lake has a boat launch suitable for canoes or kayaks. Perfect for the novice paddler or for those with small children. In a quiet setting with no motorized boats allowed.A small launch area is located close to the road. With a maximum depth of 20 feet it is a great stop for paddlers!Wilcox Lake is another quiet and relaxing place for an enjoyable paddle around a small lake. A boat launch area is located near Wilcox Lake Road.