5 canoe and kayak routes to dip your paddle in Lanark County

Dip your paddle into the last stretch of summer and enjoy the remainder of August on the water in Lanark County. From the seat of a canoe or kayak you can see Lanark County from a different perspective, and enjoy views of marshes, wildlife and historic landmarks.


The canoe and kayak routes below are sourced from the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s canoe routes map and can be found on their website at mvfn.ca. Download their routes pdf and corresponding map.


Paddle Route: Appleton and Mississippi River Downriver (#15 on the map)

The route’s launch site can be found in the small park below the falls. When paddling, explore the bay and head downriver towards the Town of Almonte, while keeping an eye out for old mill ruins, the small hydro generating station, and the unique waterlife you can find within the wetland shores. Once you reach Almonte, you can land your canoe or kayak under the bridge beside Almonte Old Town Hall, where you can explore the downtown.


*Please note Mill Street in Almonte is currently under construction but businesses are open and welcome visitors.


Where to Stay: Spend the night at the Almonte Riverside Inn, a historic inn located on the Mississippi River, just a short walk from downtown. Before settling in for the night, stop for a wood-fired pizza at Joe’s Italian Kitchen where you can enjoy some authentic Italian cuisine while dining by Almonte’s iconic waterfall.



Paddle Route: Mississippi River and Lake from Carleton Place (#2 on the map)

You can put in at Centennial Park at the Mississippi River. Across the park is the Carleton Place Canoe Club, the oldest racing canoe club in Canada! Choose between following the river upstream to the lake and around the shorelines, watching for wildlife in bays and wetland shores, or you can head downriver to the bridge and public dock to wander downtown for shopping and a bite to eat.


Where to Stay: Spend the night at majestic The Grand Hotel. Built in 1872 this hotel offers a unique overnight stay in one of their beautifully appointed rooms, with the option of enjoying a meal at their fine dining restaurant or the an old-English style pub, Smith & Barrel.



Paddle Route: Tay River into Tay Marsh to Beveridge Locks (#21 on the map)

This route has two options for put-in: you can either start from the dock at Last Duel Park or from the Tay Basin in Perth. If you put in at Last Duel Park you can paddle downriver to Tay Marshes in Drummond/North Elmsley and follow the Tay Canal markers to the locks, which is about a three hour paddle. Be careful to follow the green canal markers as Ospreys nest near the locks.


For an additional short trip, paddle upriver from Last Duel Park to the centre of the Town of Perth where there are docks for you to tie up your watercraft while you wander downtown. During your trip watch for historic architecture in the downtown and the unique stone walls of the canal.


Where to Stay: Finish your trip in downtown Perth, where you can enjoy a night filled with relaxation at the Perth Best Western Parkside Inn & Spa. Savour a drink at onsite venue, The Locks patio, or relax with a massage at the hotel’s onsite spa facilities. In the summer The Locks often has music on the patio on weekends.



Paddle Route: Dalhousie Lake and Mississippi River Downsteam (#8 on the map)

This route is a pleasant paddle down a portion of the Mississippi River as it flows out of Dalhousie Lake. Glide your canoe or kayak along the marshy shores, keeping an eye out for local habitat like birds, ducks, muskrat and turtles. Begin your trip at the boat launch by the bridge in McDonald’s Corners, west of Lanark Village.


Paddle under the bridge and head downstream to Sheridan’s Rapids. Unless you are a confident white water canoeist, do not continue through the rapids for risk of injury to yourself or your boat.


Where to Stay: After a pleasant day on the water, head to the Village of Lanark, where you can enjoy a stay at Clyde Hall Bed & Breakfast. This beautiful bed and breakfast  backs onto the Clyde River and has the third fairway of the Timber Run Golf Course at its back door.



Paddle Route: Smiths Falls Marshland and Poonamalie Lock Station (#22 on the map)

The launch site for this route is found at Lower Reach Park by the Rideau Canal. During your paddle, you will be stunned by the view of the extensive marshlands, home to teeming flora and fauna, including the majestic Great Blue Heron.


Where to stay: End your trip with a unique, one-of-a-kind stay at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario for their “Overnight Stay in a Caboose”. Step back in time to the early railroading days, and book an overnight stay in one of their two, authentic cabooses, which overlooks the 1912 Canadian Northern Railway station.

Get Outfitted

Don’t have access to a canoe or kayak? Not to worry! There are a few places in Lanark County that offer canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals.


Perth Major Outfitters

  • Perth Major Outfitters has a variety of options available for rent. You can choose between single kayaks (price starts at $45), tandem kayaks (price starts at $55), canoes (price starts at $55) and paddle boards (price starts at $45)

Smiths Falls Pedal and Paddle

  • Smiths Falls Pedal and Paddle offers canoe, kayak and paddleboard rentals at an hourly, daily or multi-day rental rate. Canoe rentals start at $40/hr and include a canal paddle pass, while Kayak/SUP rentals start at $30/hr but only the kayak rental includes a canal paddle pass.


You can also find access to canoe and kayak rentals at the Provincial Parks in the area such as Murphys Point Provincial Park and Silver Lake Provincial Park and at smaller campgrounds across the region.