Distance: 13.5km / Time: 4hrs / easy paddle
Beginning at Edenvale Conservation Area this section of the Nottawasaga River navigates through dense forests, silver maple swamps and open meadows teeming with wildlife. Before launching your vessel, discover a monument at Glengarry Landing, a National Historic Site, where a flotilla of 29 batteaux was built in a desperate expedition to relieve the British troops at Fort Michilimackinac during the War of 1812. Downstream of Edenvale, the river cuts through the 25 meter deep gorge of the Edenvale Moraine, made of materials deposited by the retreat of the glaciers, and flows into Jacks Lake, part of an ancient lagoon and a popular local fishing spot. Passing under the Klondike Park Road Bridge, the Wasaga Beach Sports Park launch is on the right. The Wasaga Beach Sports Park offers numerous amenities, including a waterside picnic shelter, restrooms, a playground and sports facilities, to name a few.
Distance: 6.5km/ Time: 2hrs/ easy paddle
Jacks Lake, part of an ancient lagoon, is a popular open-water fishing spot, rumoured to be “the spot” to land monster fish. An easy paddle suitable for beginners of all ages, Jacks Lake offers a unique experience during every visit, due to its ever changing water levels. Launch at the Wasaga Beach Sports Park, which offers lots of amenities, including free parking, a waterside picnic shelter, restrooms and sports facilities to name a few, and paddle upstream into Jacks Lake. Explore the tree studded edge of the lake, spot beavers, swans, a variety of frogs and turtles. Drop a line and do a bit of fishing if you like before looping back downstream with the current to the
Wasaga Beach Sports Park.
Distance: 10km/ Time: 2hrs/easy paddle, no rapids
Home to the largest group of parabolic sand dunes in the entire province, this section of the River meanders along sandy shores, where you can get lost in the beauty of the crest shaped sand sculpted by glaciers and rimmed with dense vegetation. The Wasaga Beach Sports Park offers an ideal launching point due to its many amenities. Just beyond the launch there is a series of rapids that are easy to chute through no matter what your skill level, but add a sense of adventure to the journey. The river twists and turns through provincial park lands and fragile habitats, offering majestic views of the iconic Oxbow Dune, home to Bank Swallows and their tiny nests. It’s important to respect the natural beauty of the dunes and their longstanding residents, many of which are endangered,by leaving them untouched. Downriver expect to receive encouraging waves from the cottagers on shore and as you approach Schooner Town, the historical winter quarters of the Royal Navy of 1812.
Exit the river to your right before going under the bridge. After the bridge the heavy boat traffic is typical, making for difficult paddling conditions.
Distance: 0.7km / Time: 2hrs / easy paddle but can vary based on weather conditions
The main hustle and bustle of Wasaga Beach takes place at Beach Area 1, the most commercial of the beach areas. Wander around the shops and stock up on supplies, or energize yourself with local food and drink. There are events happening at the beach almost every day throughout the summer months. This is also an area where the rare
and protected piping plover nests each year. Enter the shallow water from the west end of Beach Area 1 and enjoy the panoramic views across the bay. Paddling across Beach Area 2, you’ll pass a picnic area with grills, as well as a playground and beachfront boardwalk.
Note: all Ontario Parks – Wasaga Beach Provincial Park facilities are operated seasonally.
Distance: 2.4km / Time:40min / easy paddle but can vary based on weather conditions
Just steps from the Main End, Beach Area 2 offers parking, washrooms, picnic areas and easy access to the Nancy Island Historic Site. This is where the gallant battle of the HMS Nancy was fought and is now home to the charred hull of the 1789 Schooner. As you paddle along the sandy shoreline, between Beach Area 2 and 3, imagine the excitement on August 8, 1934, when the first successful overseas flight from mainland Canada took off on this beach, destined for England in the ‘Trail of the Caribou’. Back then planes weren’t the only vehicles on the beach; until 1973, cars were also allowed to cruise up and down the sandy strip. At Beach Area 3 you can visit the Provincial Park Office, access amenities and connect with the Shore Lane Trail to explore more of the Town.
Distance:0.8km / Time: 20min / easy paddle but can vary based on weather conditions
Arguably, the best views of the shoreline and escarpment are from Beach Area 3, where people aren’t the only ones enjoying the view. Here you’ll often find dogs frolicking in the water and lazing in the sand because this is the only section of the beach that welcomes canine friends. If you are not an animal lover, don’t worry – they are only allowed within a fenced area. Beach Areas 3 and 4 offer washrooms, parking, picnic tables, and access to the trails system. The west end of Beach Area 4 is a 5 minute walk to Schooner Town and the Nottawasaga River paddling routes, where local outfitter Free Spirit Tours is located.
Distance: 1km / Time:30min/ easy paddle but can vary based on weather conditions
Did you know that the sand you see on the beach now is the only sand it will ever have and that Wasaga Beach provides habitat for over 230 bird species? See how many birds you can spot as you paddle between Beach Areas 4 and 5. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild turkeys and deer enjoying the vegetation. Travelling west, the beaches offer a more relaxed and local flavour, and at Beach Area 4 you will find families and cottagers enjoying the green space and shade of large old growth trees at the edge of the sand. Beach Area 5 has an OKA (Ontario Kiteboarding Association) launch, which is another great activity to do in Wasaga Beach. While paddling this area, please keep an extra eye out for kiteboarders!
Distance: 2.1km / Time: 40min/ easy paddle but can vary based on weather conditions
As you paddle the pristine waters of the Blue Flag designated Beach Area 5, you will notice the many ways the shoreline and ecosystems are being respected. Further west, you will find what was once a small community called “Brock’s Beach”, better known now as Beach Area 6, often the quietest of the beaches. Only a 10-minute walk away from Beach Area 6 you will find a range of dining and shopping options at 45th Street. Beach Area 6 also links directly to the Carley Patterson Memorial Trail, which meanders along Trillium Creek and connects to the town wide cycling network, including the Collingwood Wasaga Connection.
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Parking is available at Access Point 1. The paddle from Access Point 1 to Access Point 2 takes you from Kimberley to Epping. This 10 kilometre stretch takes about 2 to 3 hours to paddle. This stretch of the river is rugged and scenic. Mature trees along the banks completely envelope the river in some locations, making it seem as if you are paddling in the wilderness. Paddlers should be be aware of possible debris, log jams and beaver dams which you may need to make a short portage around.
Parking is available at Access Point 2. This can be the takeout point for a paddle from Kimberly to Epping or the put in point for the Epping to Heathcote paddle. The Epping to Heathcote paddle is 5 kilometres long and takes about 2 hours. Paddlers will find this stretch of the river beautiful, wild and winding. The tree canopy opens up considerably. This stretch of the river is ideal for families, although a few swift currents may be encountered depending on water levels and season. For paddlers completing their journey in Heathcote, note the dock on the right (south) side of the river prior to the bridge.
This Access Point has parking and can be the takeout point for the Epping to Heathcote paddle or the launch for the 1 hour/3 kilometre paddle from Heathcote to Slabtown. Small rapids and eddies may be encountered in this section. Once in Slabtown, disembark on the left (west) bank before the town dam. This launch is also home to Free Spirit Tours. Shuttle service back to your car up river is available.
Parking is available at Access Point 4. This is the takeout for the Heathcote to Slabtown paddle.