There are many great places to go canoeing or kayaking in South Western Ontario. Here are three excellent paddling spots that the locals don’t want you to know about. First is Big Creek finishing at Long Point on Lake Erie, the second is Black Creek out of Port Dover, and my personal favorite The Nith River ending in Paris.
The best section of Big Creek to paddle is from county rd. 60 down to hwy. 59 at Long Point. There are however two portages between county rd.60 and the second concession, so I prefer to start at the second con session if I’m using two vehicles and park at the ramp on Front rd. at Port Royal if I’m in one vehicle.
Big Creek should not be run until after the spring run off. Because the creek is so narrow with many twist and turns, plus log jams it can make running this creek in fast water very dangerous.
If you access the creek at Front rd. you can paddle up stream or down stream, there is very little current after the spring run off, but is still plenty deep enough that you may see the odd small fishing boat or sea-doo in the lower part of the creek.
As you paddle upstream from the Front rd. access point or downstream from the second concession you will be surrounded by thick Carolinian Forest and small marshs off to the side for you to explore.
Downstream from Front rd. the creek gets wider as it heads into Big Creek Marsh. Cross straight across the marsh to hwy.59 at Long Point you can park a second vehicle here. From the second concession to hwy. 59 takes about 2-3 hours.
Black Creek can also be paddled upstream against the slow current, after the spring run-off.
I like to access the creek just below the lift bridge in Port Dover. There is a public parking lot on the west side of the creek.If you go down stream from here it will take you into the harbor and out into lake Erie. Water in the harbor can be very choppy from the boats coming and going.
As you go upstream under the lift bridge you will go past the Port Dover Yacht Club where you will see many beautiful yachts and sail boats. Also there are some old fishing trawlers wrecks sitting along the side of the creek.After the Yacht Club you go past some beautiful homes backing onto the creek.
As you past the last home the creek turns to the left, and opens up to a large marsh area.Past the marsh the creek narrows again, and carries on past Black Creek Conservation Area. This can also be used as your access point.
If water levels are low you may only be able to go a little farther after the bridge, but when they are up you can still go for a while. In the fall of 2008 I was able to go about an other half hour past the conservation area.
This is an excellent route to take for novice paddlers, we even took our two year old granddaughter on this trip. From the lift bridge in Port Dover to the conservation area and back takes about two hours. And last but not least my favorite paddling spot is the Nith River. The Nith is tributary of the Grand River running from New Hamburg to Paris.
If you are into white water paddling then this river is excellent to run with the spring run-off. Just after the run off there is still a good flow of water with some grade lll rapids.
Once the river drops to its normal level it can be run by novice paddlers. The river can be access at most bridges between New Hamberg and Paris. Most bridges are about two to three hours apart. This river can not be run upstream, as the water flow is to fast. You will need to plan your put ins and take outs.
My usual trip is from the put in just upstream from the bridge in Canning down into the Grand finishing at Optimist Park in the south end of Paris. There are some very nice sections of this river up stream too.All you need to do is pick a put out spot, park a vehicle and go back up stream a few bridges and put in.
The reason this is my favorite river is because it does not get a lot of traffic on it. Many times I have gone down the Nith and not see another person from put in to put out. Plus there is a lot of wild-life along the river. It is not unusual to see deer, muskrat, and beaver
You can get canoe and kayak rentals at Grand Experiences in Paris. So you have three great spots to go canoeing or kayaking if you are planning to visit South Western Ontario, or you live in S.W.O. and don’t want to travel a long distance to go for a paddle. I hope this is helpful to you.
I spend much of my spare time Kayaking and Canoeing. I’ve paddled many of the rivers and lakes in Ontario. If you would like to learn the basics and beyond of kayaking follow this link http://www.squidoo.com/learntokayak