Canada’s capital city is a hub of tourist attractions, nightlife, and unique amenities, but it is also well-equipped with stunning nature views. Ottawa, Ontario is a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts, whether you’re looking for biking paths, waterfalls, provincial parks, or walking trails. One of the activities that Ottawa residents love the most is kayaking, and there are plenty of great spots for it. Between calm, serene lakes and fast, challenging rapids, Ottawa has everything to offer in terms of kayaking.
Are you in the market for Ottawa real estate but want to make sure that you have plenty of places to kayak near home? Look no further; we are breaking down our 6 favorite spots to kayak in Ottawa.
Located just off of Highway 508, Calabogie lake is a scenic waterscape with the ultimate views of the rolling hills of Ottawa Valley. You can enter the lake from Barnet Park, which has a boat launch, restrooms, and free parking. From there, you’ll be able to have a relaxing day paddling across this stunning lake.
If you are wanting to make a weekend getaway out of it, Calabogie Peaks Resort sits alongside Calabogie Lake and offers visitors with rentals, resorts, campgrounds, and lodging. There are also a vast number of wildlife viewing opportunities at Calabogie Lake. Grassy Bay is a flooded wetland located near the lake that offers an abundance of duck, geese, and other bird sightings.
Another calming kayaking spot, White Lake is nestled just south of the Madawaska River. Clear waters, a border of towering greenery, and a variety of narrows are what define this beautiful lake. The surrounding trees keep wind from being a pressing issue during your kayaking trip, and the diversity of the waterscape gives you options for serene or challenging waters. Bonus points if you can find the locals’ favourite swimming hole on Hardwood Island!
White Lake’s north end provides many amenities for kayakers, including RV parks, campgrounds, cottage rentals, and boat launches. If you’re looking to turn your kayak trip into a weekend excursion, the north end is where you want to be. Waba Cottage Museum and Gardens along the lake offer picnicking spots and rest areas for you to take a break when you need it.
Known as a whitewater playground, the Ottawa River offers exciting rapids, swimming holes, jumping rocks, and guided tours. Whether you are seeking a thrilling adventure or a serene paddle down the river, Ottawa River is sure to provide. While the river is highly known for its high-adrenaline activities, it’s important for kayakers to not overlook the calm waters that lie still within the Ottawa River. You can find an easy access point in most towns along Highway 17, and the Ottawa River shoreline provides camping spots for those who want to stay longer than just a day.
In addition to just kayaking opportunities, the Ottawa River offers canoeing, swimming, white water rafting, paddle boarding, and more. You’ll never be bored on the water when you visit the Ottawa River.
While the Rideau Canal is more widely known as a top spot for paddle boarding, it also makes for a beautiful spot to spend the day kayaking. If you are looking for a relaxing trip on calm waters, Rideau Canal is as calm as it gets. You’ll be able to scope out wildlife while moseying along the canal, passing by countless others soaking in the serenity of the day as well. Whether you are a new or seasoned kayaker, this route is perfect for everyone.
Silver Lake is a sparkling lake just off of Highway 7. Along with vast waters, Silver Lake offers friendly cottagers that are happy to chat with you or join you on the water. While the lake may not be ideal for an all day excursion, it will certainly serve you well for a few good hours. We recommend going around golden hour for the most beautiful view of the water; it’s only then that you will truly understand why they call this Silver Lake.
The Silver Lake launch spot is just past the provincial park entrance on Hwy 7. Along with lake access, there is also free parking, a washroom, and a few benches in this area.
This 230km waterway connects to a large variety of lakes and still water, giving you an all access pass to kayak to your heart’s desire. You can begin your trip meandering along the river, make your way through a few rapids, and land in some calming, still waters for a break. Regardless of all the relaxing lakes along this route, people most frequently come for the exciting challenge that comes with Madawaska’s rapids.
For the most exhilarating runs, head to the Upper Madawaska between Algonquin Park and Bark Lake, or you can opt for Middle Madawaska, which offers 5km of Class I-IV rapids. Not only does the “Mad” give you excellent kayaking experiences, but there are also some opportunities for rafting, canoeing, and paddle boarding.
Best Places to Kayak in Ottawa
We hope this list gave you some jumping off points for the best spots to kayak in Ottawa. No matter if you are looking for a calm trip or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Ottawa has several places for you to find it all. So, grab your gear, pack some lunch, and head out on the water for countless hours of enjoyment!
After exploring the best places to kayak in Ottawa, check out other places in Ontario that offers some of the best spots to kayak.