Fall paddling

Are you dreaming of being surrounded by orange, yellow and red hues, endless landscapes and water as smooth as glass?  This means you are ready to plan your fall paddling trip!

Fall is a great time to get out in Ontario Parks; fall colours are amazing, blackfly season has subsided and the water is high this year.

Here are some trip ideas that are made for the fall paddler:

Change up the Packing List

With a change in season, comes a change in necessities while paddling.  Here are some basic things to consider while you are planning your fall trip.

  • A spray skirt can prolong your paddling season because it protects you from spray and cold waves.
  • You will need clothes to ensure you stay warm as the weather cools.  Try some splash pants and jackets, this will add another defence against spray and waves.  Also, layering your clothes prepares you for the changing and sometimes unpredictable weather of fall.  Make sure your bottom layers are wicking, which also keeps the dampness away.
  • Protect your extremities.  Pack a hat, your head is where most of your heat is lost.  Also, invest in some gloves or pogies (mittens for boating).  Make sure you try out your gloves before a longer trip, seams and different fits can cause irritation.
  • If it is an overnight paddle, make sure you pack your paddling clothes from your dry clothes.
  • Remember days are shorter in the fall; include this when planning your route.  Also, always keep a headlamp or flashlight close by.
  • Always remember to stay hydrated and fed, it is easy to forget to drink when the sun isn’t beating down on you.  Being well fueled and hydrated also helps to ward off hypothermia.

Great Fall Routes

Frontenac  – There are endless opportunities for fall paddling in Frontenac.  Try Big Salmon Lake, where you can choose from 1-3 day trips, which also give you access to the Mink Lake Lookout trail.  This lake is also very well known for fishing.  If you are a beginner or looking to increase your day trip to a few days contact Frontenac for more detailed information.

Kawartha Highlands – Try the Northern Canoe route for an intermediate paddling opportunity starting at the Anstruther Access Point.  The longest portage on this route is 1411m, which will surround you with beautiful fall colours for about 3 days.  For more information contact Kawartha Highlands.

Lady Evelyn –Smoothwater – For a more challenging route try Lady Evelyn River, which includes cascades, waterfalls, white water and rugged portages.  This river is accessible either by shuttle or fly-in, providing great routes that are 2/3 days or 4/5days in length.  Also, don’t forget your rod and reel it has great fishing opportunities.  For more information contact Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater directly.

Quetico – Beaverhouse Entry Station is perfect for fall canoeing, with rolling landscapes and fiery yellow deciduous trees.  The entry station is remote, meaning you must paddle to get access and during the fall it’s a self-serve permit station.  You can choose from a 3 day to a 5 day paddle depending on the routes you take.  For more information contact Quetico.

Safety First

Always remember safety first.  While paddling there is mandatory safety equipment you must bring: PFD, whistle, heaving line, bailer or pump, extra paddle and a light.  Travelling on water can be dangerous, especially as the water cools; these requirements ensure you a safe and successful paddle. These requirements are set by Transport Canada and differ depending on your vessel. Ontario Parks strongly recommends that you wear your a PFD at all times while paddling.