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Paddling Routes in Belleville

The following article address some of the most common paddle routes in belleville. If you have any questions regarding paddling routes in Belleville or have routes you’d like to recommend to our customers, please contact us by calling 1.800.250.3174 (Ontario) / 1.613.376.6220 or send us an email to [email protected]

Moira & Skootamatta Rivers

Location:
Skootamatta Lake north of Flinton to the Bay of Quinte

Access:
1) A variety of access points throughout the route for those wishing to explore the entire river
2) If wishing to do a quiet three-hour tour, access is at a public boat launch at O’Brien’s Bridge on Highway 37

No fee parking and no fee usage for the above launches.

Description:
The Skootamatta River (48 km) merges into the Moira River (72 km) for a total distance of 120 km

Paddlers wishing to paddle this river system must be experienced as seasonal changes in the water levels can provide for some very challenging conditions. Areas of open water such as Moira and Stoco Lake can be dangerous as winds can quickly generate large waves. Always stay close to shore in such situations. Access point at Skootamatta Lake can be reached near Cloyne. There are plenty of falls and rapids along the route, and a number of dams including several in the Belleville area. The bridge at Cannifton marks the end of the trip. Just downstream of the bridge is an ice control dam. The next five kilometers from Cannifton to the Bay of Quinte are solid rapids. Since the late 1970s, a series of ice control dams have been constructed which makes paddling along this final stretch practically impossible and very dangerous.

Those wishing to do a quiet stretch of the river in summer will find a boat launch at O’Brien’s Bridge, where Highway 37 crosses the Moira River. From here, one can paddle upstream for about 2 kilometres to the H.R. Frink Centre near the base of the Latta Rapids, or head south for about 4 kilometres to the power lines before returning. Lots of wildlife along here as you pass the Thurlow Wildlife Area along the shore.

Further information:

Terry Sprague
NatureStuff Tours
23 Sprague Road
R.R. # 1
Demorestville, Ontario
K0K 1W0
613-476-5072
[email protected]
Visit the Nature Stuff Website

West Lake

Location:
Prince Edward County. Accessible either from Highway 33 at Wellington, or County Road 12 south of Bloomfield

Access:
1) Kleinsteuber Boat Launch near the intersection of Kleinsteuber Parks Road and County Road 12
2) Government Boat Launch at the L.C.B.O. building in Wellington
3) Boat launch across the harbour from the government boat launch. To reach it, take Beach Street and follow to the lakeshore

No fee parking at the above launches although honour fees are charged for boat launch usage

Description:
West Lake is separated from Lake Ontario by the beautiful dunes of Sandbanks Provincial Park. Stretching for 8 km from the Sandbanks parking lot to Wellington, these dunes were once used as a seasonal fishing station by the St. Lawrence Iroquois during 1300 to 1600 AD . Numerous pottery shards, mindens (fish dumps) and stone net sinkers have been found as evidence. The dunes, some of them reaching as high as 25 metres, contain numerous plants, adapted to living in the harsh, dry conditions, including hoary puccoon, wormwood, marram grass and starry false Solomon’s seal. A low wet area known as a panne near the Dunes Beach Day Use Area contains a number of site-specific plants including brook lobelia, fringed gentian, twayblade and ladies tresses.

This lake is a very enjoyable, pleasant and scenic paddle. The most pleasant, of course, is along the dunes. If accessing West Lake from the Wellington end, a suggested route would be to follow the north shore of West Lake toward the Bloomfield Marsh and explore the area around Garrett Island, an extremely scenic part of the lake. Garrett Island is the home of Camp Trillium, a special summer retreat for kids with terminal illnesses. From here, one can then head for the dunes and follow the sandy shoreline down to the Dunes Beach Area. If accessing the lake from Kleinsteuber boat launch, a paddle around Sheba’s Island or to the north end of the lake can also be rewarding.

Paddlers should be aware that this lake becomes very busy in the summer with speedboats and personal watercraft. However, if one stays near shore, there should be no problems. Whether it’s for just a couple of hours, or you wish to make a day trip out of it, West Lake will provide a memorable experience

Further information:

Terry Sprague
NatureStuff Tours
23 Sprague Road
R.R. # 1
Demorestville, Ontario
K0K 1W0
613-476-5072
[email protected]
Visit the Nature Stuff Website

Salmon River

Location:
Highway 7, at Arden, to the Bay of Quinte. About 80 km

Access:
1) A variety of access points throughout the route for those wishing to explore the entire river
2) If wishing to do a quiet three-hour tour, access is at a public boat launch at Roblin on Highway 41

No fee parking and no fee usage for the above launches.

Description:
The Salmon River has a rich history. Atlantic salmon once spawned upstream, but dam construction ended this traditional spring occurrence. The principal uses of the land along the route in the past included extensive logging and agriculture. Several small hamlets sprang up along the route at this time. Ridges created by the retreating glaciers are found in the northern portion of the river. The river leaves the shield area when it enters Beaver Lake, situated on the edge of the Napanee Limestone Plane. Two waterfalls can be found along the river just above Beaver Lake, and below the hamlet of Forest Mills. The Salmon River offers a variety of canoeing and kayaking experiences for all skill levels. Experts may attempt to run the whitewater routes, while recreational boaters may paddle the quiet wilderness stretches.

If you’re looking for slow and easy, a recommended starting point would be the public boat launch at the village of Roblin on Highway 41. Choose late spring when the current has slowed and enjoy a quiet 1.5 hour paddle upstream toward the hamlet of Croydon. This stretch is heavily bordered on either side by extensive silver maple swamps, backdropping the experience with the feel of a Cyprus swamp. The river is quiet and secluded through here. Deadheads abound toward the Croydon end of the river so exercise caution when negotiating around these. Due to the habitat, wildlife abounds here from deer to a variety of birds including great blue heron, orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks and wood thrushes.

Further information:

Terry Sprague
NatureStuff Tours
23 Sprague Road
R.R. # 1
Demorestville, Ontario
K0K 1W0
613-476-5072
[email protected]
Visit the Nature Stuff Website

East Lake

Location:
Prince Edward County. Accessible either from Cherry Valley, or County Road 18 at Sandbanks Provincial Park

Access:
1) Boat Launch on County Road 18. Entrance is unmarked but is located exactly if arriving on County Road 18 from Cherry Valley, the entrance to the launch is exactly .9 km from the Outlet bridge. If coming from County Road 11 (East Lake Road) the entrance to the launch is exactly 1.2 km the from park entrance intersection
2) Lions Boat Launch at the intersection of County Roads 18 & 10 in Cherry Valley

No fee parking and no fee usage for the above launches.

Description:
The famous Outlet Beach (Sandbanks Provincial Park) is a baymouth sandbar that separates East Lake from Lake Ontario. If accessing East Lake from the boat launch at County Road 18, paddlers have a choice of paddling the entire lake (about 20 km), or entering the Outlet River right at the boat launch and paddling down the river toward the mouth at Lake Ontario. Depending on the season of the year, canoes or kayaks may have to be coaxed from the mouth of the river to Lake Ontario once the mouth has drifted in with sand from the open lake. From there, the sky is the limit as paddlers can tour the beaches of the park that attracts over 10,000 sunbathers/day, or head on out toward the limestone cliffs of Salmon Point.

If remaining in East Lake, paddlers can follow either shore of the lake where there are some interesting wetland areas. Mute swans, dabbling ducks, and shorebirds are often seen here. Typical wetland birds such as marsh wrens, bitterns, swamp sparrows and great blue herons are often seen and heard in the cattails. There is also a small colony of black terns nesting in one of the cattail marshes.

If accessing the lake from the boat launch at Cherry Valley, paddlers have a choice of exploring the northeast end of the lake where there is an extensive cattail marsh, or paddle the entire lake by striking off in either direction. Private campgrounds are located along the County Road 18 shoreline, and Fairfield’s Resort is a particularly interesting little peninsula that juts out into the open lake.

Nooks and crannies abound in East Lake, making this a very interesting paddling destination.

Further information:

Terry Sprague
NatureStuff Tours
23 Sprague Road
R.R. # 1
Demorestville, Ontario
K0K 1W0
613-476-5072
[email protected]
Visit the Nature Stuff Website