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Valley Explore
WalkExplore the Ottawa Valley on foot. This guide offers walking trails through hamlets, towns and...
BikeThe Ottawa Valley offers excellent biking opportunities for the beginner and the sports enthusiast....
DriveThe following tours, designed for the independent traveller via car or bike, will escort you along...
XC SkiThe Ottawa Valley has a variety excellent cross-country trails for various skill levels. This guide...
CanoeThe Ottawa Valley offers a variety of interesting paddling excursions with rivers and creeks...
WaterfallsWaterfalls, large and thunderous or sleek and elegant, are fascinating natural formations. The...
Canoe Route Guide

The Ottawa Valley offers a variety of interesting paddling excursions suitable for various skill levels. This guide provides you with information on flat-water canoe day trips. Travel by water and experience Renfrew County's rugged natural beauty, swirling rapids, steep rock cliffs and brilliant wildlife.

1. Barron Canyon
Information This 7 km-long route is one of the most popular and awe-inspiring of the 1,600 kilometres of established canoe routes in Algonquin Park. A one-way excursion is to drive one vehicle to...
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DIFFICULTY:Easy to moderate
START / FINISH:Brigham Access. 11 km past Sand Lake Gate.
2. McManus to Whitson Lake
This canoe route travels through a series of long thin lakes on the east side of Algonquin Provincial Park. McManus, Smith and Whitson Lakes are part of the Petawawa River, a famous whitewater river, who’s headwater originates near the western boundary of Algonquin Park and flows to the Ottawa River. This day trip takes you past forest destruction caused by a severe windstorm in 1999 that passed through Algonquin Park.
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START / FINISH:McManus Lake. 15 km from Sand Lake Gate
DISTANCE:-20 km there and back -2 portages. However, they both can be avoided by lining canoe up the swift moving water. (see article for details) -90 m -500 m
3. Grants Creek
This canoe route winds through small lakes, a large marsh (a provincially significant wetland) and includes rapids, a waterfall and plentiful wildlife, on the northern tip of Renfrew County. The headwater of Grants Creek begins from Chateau Lake located on the border of Algonquin Provincial Park and the creek travels 18 km to Grants Creek Bay on the Ottawa River. The creek is designated as a proposed Ontario Provincial Park due to its ecological importance. The easy half-day trip takes you 4 km return to a pleasant picnic and swimming spot. The full-day trip is 12 km return, with 3 portages, through a winding creek, small lakes and a large marsh. Paddle by an active Great Blue heronry and watch for ducks and Double-Crested Cormorants. Please be considerate of this fragile natural environment. View the heronry from afar; do not approach or disturb the nesting birds.
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DIFFICULTY: Half-day trip easy. Full-day trip moderate.
START / FINISH:3 km west of the village of Stonecliff on Hwy 17
DISTANCE:-Easy half-day trip: 4 km to first portage and back. -Moderate one-day trip: To the end of the marsh and back: 12 km. -3 Portages: -200m (steep) -200m (very steep and rocky) -600m (flat and easy going)
4. Corry Lake
A varied day’s canoeing starting where the Chalk River is narrow and passes through the open vista of an unspoilt wetland. The route traverses the small Otterson Lake and the larger Corry Lake interspersed with diverse scenic sections of the Chalk River. The one-way excursion recommended is to drive one vehicle 12 km northwest of the village of Chalk River and canoe down river to a second (shuttle) vehicle left at Clarke’s Landing or further down river to the Petawawa Research Forest Visitor Centre. Almost guaranteed to spot ducks, turtles and other wildlife of interest.
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DIFFICULTY: Moderate flat water. Best in spring with higher water levels to avoid exiting canoe before beaver dams. Alder branches may be a slight impediment just before Otterson Lake.
START / FINISH:Start 12 km northwest of Chalk River village, finish at Corry Lake or Petawawa Research Forest Visitor Centre.
DISTANCE:- 11.5 km paddling from Bronson Rd to take out at Clarke's Landing on Corry Lake, or alternatively, plus another 4.5 km to the Petawawa Research Forest Visitor Centre. - 1 portage: - 250m (unmarked)
5. Black Bay
This route takes you from the cottages at Black Bay, along the rocky walled Barron River, to the scenic First Chute. The Barron River was formed 10,000 years ago as raging water from melting glaciers made its way to the Champlain Sea. This stretch of the river runs along the Barron River Provincial Park. Be sure to bring binoculars to view the plethora of wildlife, including sandpipers, turtles, herons, and turkey vultures.
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START / FINISH:Put in canoes in Black Bay, 7 km west from the Town of Petawawa.
DISTANCE:23 km there and back
6. Muskrat River
This flat water canoe day trip, 12 km north of Cobden, travels from Muskrat Lake along Muskrat River to Mud Lake and further if you desire. Be sure to bring binoculars to view: Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers, American Coots, Gallinules, Black Terns and the occasional Osprey. This canoe route follows a section of Samuel de Champlain’s 1615 expedition into the interior of Canada. (see Points of Interest).
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DIFFICULTY: Easy flat water
START / FINISH:12 km west of Cobden, at Muskrat Lake on Hwy 17
DISTANCE:- Variable, there and back. - NO PORTAGES
7. Snake River
This canoe route runs up to the edge of the proposed Snake River Conservation Reserve due to this area being a provincially significant wetland system. Green heron may be seen fishing from the river banks. This is a small heron that has a metallic-looking blueish-green back and a neck that is dark chestnut. Here in Snake River, it is at the northern extent of its range.
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DIFFICULTY: Easy flat water
START / FINISH:12 km west of Cobden, at Muskrat Lake on Hwy 17
DISTANCE:- Variable, there and back. - NO PORTAGES
8. Madawaska River
This route takes you along a picturesque section of the Madawaska River, passing by cottages, sections of undeveloped shoreline, and the hamlets of Springtown and Burnstown. The Madawaska River originates in Algonquin Park flowing hundreds of kilometres until it reaches the Ottawa River. While paddling keep an eye out for King Fishers, Great Blue Herons and other wildlife. The natural flow of the river (towards Burnstown) is such that little strenuous effort is required. However, if you decide to retrace your route, it is recommended you time it during "non-peak" demand for electricity. The current will increase as Ontario Hydro allows more water to flow through the Barrett Chute dam, several miles upstream and at the head of Calabogie Lake. An excellent shuttle pickup point is Burnstown Beach.
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DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate.
START / FINISH:-Start at Cherry Point Park, 3 km north west of Calabogie on Hwy 508 (Calabogie Rd)
DISTANCE:-26 km there and back -13 km one way
9. Grassy Bay
Grassy Bay, a flooded wetland area, off Calabogie Lake, is a great place for “naturalist canoeing”. It is a designated Provincially Significant Wetland. Separating the bay from the lake is a causeway, originally built as a crossing for the K&P railway line. The causeway acts as a barrier to the current movement created by the Madawaska River flowing through Calabogie Lake.
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