Paddling the Beaver & Nottawasaga Rivers
The Beaver River
The Beaver River is a popular waterway in southern Georgian Bay where people can enjoy water sports like canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. The river itself begins in Clearview, Simcoe County and then flows into the Grey Highlands. It runs into Eugenia Lake on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment towards the small community of Eugenia. It winds through Beaver Valley and then into the Town of the Blue Mountains where it passes two large dams before emptying into Georgian Bay.
If you are looking to get out for a fun filled day, you have the option of different durations as well as multiple different access points along the river for canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding.
The first can take you from Kimberly to Epping. It is about a 10 km stretch that will take you about 2-3 hours on average. This part of the river is wild and beautiful with little to no human activity because of the dense forest on the banks of the river. There is parking available at both the entry and exit points.
The next entry point is Epping and starts the trip that will take you to Heathcote. This paddle is about 5 kilometres and takes about 2 hours to complete. This stretch of the river will open up but still winds through the beautiful country side. There is parking at both locations for drop off and pick up.
As you continue down the river, the final section before the town dam is a 1 hour, 3 km.-long route that goes from Heathcote to Slabtown. Here you will encounter some small rapids and eddies along the way which can be quite fun. Once in Slabtown you will have to exit to the west bank before going over the small dam (this may sound scary but it is a simple task).
Contact information is provided for rentals, guides and shuttle services below.
The Nottawasaga is a wide and winding waterway where many people enjoy relaxing canoe, kayak or paddle board trips. Surrounded by provincial park, dense forest, and ancient sand dunes, you will be captivated from start to finish. The river also has some historical significance to note. It is home to the HMS Nancy, a schooner that was part of the British Royal Navy during the war of 1812. It lost a battle against three American warships but with the help of the Nottawasaga the crew escaped and later returned with reinforcements to retake the American ships.
The Nottawasaga river covers quite a distance as it stretches from the Minesing Wetlands all the way to Nottawasaga Bay. There are multiple entry and exit points along the river for you and your family to get on and off the river. You will also be able to choose the length of time you would like to spend on the river which will depend on where you start and finish.
A popular starting point for many is the paddle from the Edenvale Conservation Area to the Wasaga Beach sports park. You will float through a few popular sites including the Silver Maple Swamps, the Edenvale Moraine, and Jack’s Lake. The journey takes about 4 hours and is approximately 13.5 kilometers. It is definitely one of the longer routes but if you are experienced with vessels or would just like to spend a day on the water this is a great launch point. There is parking available at both the sports park and Edenvale conservation area.
Paddling around Jack’s Lake is another very popular option on the Nottawasaga river. The launch point is at the Wasaga Beach sports park which has parking, bathrooms and other amenities for you and your family. This is an approximate 2-hour trip which is about 6.5 kilometers of traveling. Jack’s Lake, which is part of an ancient lagoon, is a locally famous spot for catching monster fish as well. So if you are big into fishing this is definitely the trip for you.
The next trip down the river would be the journey from the Wasaga Beach Sports Park to Schooner Town. This is an easy paddle with some low rapids that takes about 2 hours and is 10 kilometers. On this trip you will get to see the largest group of parabolic sand dunes in all of Ontario. It is important that we remember to respect the natural beauty of the enveloping sand dunes and dense forest, as well as the wildlife within as many of them are endangered. Again, there is parking at both entry and exit points.
If you are looking to get on the river but only want a quick paddle, the best option for you would be at the Oxbow Dune access point. This paddle only takes about 1 hour and on the trip you can expect to see many cottages and friendly waves from land. The exit point is at Schooner Town which has parking available for you.