Nottawasaga River

CanadaOntarioGeorgian Bay basin
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Trip Date : 
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Additional Route Information
75 km
3 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
550 m
Longest Portage: 
300 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Difficult to say. In low water the river banks can be 5 feet above the river. This makes exiting & entering the canoe difficult.

Technical Guide: 

A car shuttle is required to "Schooner Parkette" in Wasaga Beach.
Expect numerous swifts & class 1,2,3 rapids depending on water levels.
Day 1
32.5 km's 7-8 hrs.
Start at Nicolston Dam just east of Alliston on hwy 89.
Paddle down to Angus & camp at the NVCA office.
Day 2
19 km's 4-5 hrs.
Paddle down through the Minesing Swamp, towards Edenvale.
There are 5 portages around logjams. All can be portaged on the right. One can be just a lift over. They range from 80 meters to 300 meters. The distances would all depend on the level of the river.
The third portage is marked on the right with a danger sign, (portage here)!
Once out of the swamp, paddle down river to Edenvale Conservation area.
Camp here.
Day 3
23.5 km's 5-6 hrs.
Paddle down to Schooner Parkette, in Wasaga beach. End trip here.

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
31 D/4 Alliston 31 D/5 Barrie(most important) 41 A/8 Collingwood 41 A/9 Nottawasaga Bay
Other Maps: 
Nottawasaga River Canoe Route. Published by the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority. This is an excellent map with plenty of information.
Special Comments: 

This trip could be made into three pleasant day trips.
This is a very scenic river. The river has carved 25 meter deep gorges on the first & third section. The middle section of the river passes through the Minesing swamp. This is a 15,000 acre wetland containing a wide variety of wildlife, & some plants that are more common in Southern regions of N.A. In high water it's very easy to get lost in the swamp. A large Blue Heron rookery can bee seen in this area.
Throughout the trip there are many otters, geese, ducks, cormorants, hawks, turkey vultures, beavers, rainbow trout can be seen swimming in schools near the put in at the start.
This is a very muddy river. Expect everything to be covered in mud by the end of the trip.
The river is rated class 1,2,3 for rapids. This could cause some concerns with sweepers & logjams in high water. A plastic canoe is recommended! The portages are very easy, flat terrain, but slippery with mud, & the take outs can be 5 feet above the river in low water.


Post date: Wed, 05/21/2014 - 23:43


A friend and I canoed this route from Nicolston Dam to Wasaga this past weekend. 
We left one vehicle in Wasaga and drove to Nicolston Dam. It's 10$ to park, and 5$ to launch your boat.When we told the lady at the entrance gate what we were about to try and accomplish, she said she'd be very surprised if we made it back before Monday afternoon.
We were arriving at the dam at noon on Saturday. The water levels were high, and I think we were both out to prove a point that we didn't need that much time to complete what we had chosen to do. 

The paddle from Nicolston Dam to Angus is enjoyable and an easy paddle. No log jams, some steady moving water sections, a little swift here and there but nothing that would pose a threat to even an inexperienced paddler. It's liisted on the map as an estimated 7-8 hours, however we managed to finish it in 5, even with a few quick breaks.

The paddle through Minesing Swamp is beautiful. We hit that area right around 5:30pm, and while the water slows significantly, it makes for a very enjoyable paddle. There are, as others have stated, log jams. We encountered 5. The portages to get around these are short, ranging from 50-400 metres. We managed to make it to Edenvale around 8:45pm, with just enough time before we lost our light. The last stretch coming out of the swamp definitely felt the longest. 

The final stretch of the paddle from Edenvale to Wasage Beach is definitely the slowest. The water no longer has any sort of current, and it seems to meander quite a bit. We were on the water by 8:30am, and arrived to Schooner Parkette at 1:15pm, just as the map had indicated 5 hours. This stretch is a pleasant paddle, and Jack's lake was not too windy, which made for an easy crossing. In lower water, there may be some rapid sections, but in this high water season, these sections were nothing but swifts. 

When we arrived back to Nicolston Dam to pick up our car, the lady who had seen us the day before thought that we were lying when we told her we made it to Wasaga. 
While it's might not be called a relaxing paddle, in high water this route can be done in less than 2.5 days. 

I would suggest taking along a gps/phone of some sort, as the map that we were provided with doesn't help when you get to some of the flooded areas of the swamp. 

All-in-all this route was awesome, and I would definitely suggest it to those looking to do a section of it as a day trip, or the whole thing over 1 or 2 nights. 
Happy Paddling!



Post date: Sun, 08/18/2013 - 08:06


Attempted the angus - edenvale route yesterday. Water levels were great the the log jams are getting brutal. We took two, 16 feet canoes and after the 3rd log jam we had to turn around. We had two very challenging dogs with us as well. A great river for them to swim down or run along the side. Watch out for fisherman and leaches. The portages were challenging to say the least. The first was a relatively easy pull over some logs but the last two we tried required some steep bank climbs and some dense bush whacking. Bugs, nasty plants and angry friends all took their toll. My suggestion, avoid this section unless you enjoy a real challenge. I also suggest satellite imaging the river ahead of time and count the jams yourself.

Post date: Sat, 01/01/2000 - 07:00


This past weekend I kayaked from Nicolston Dam to hwy 90. The water level was just about perfect. Where do I find the actual water levels so that I can record them for the future. Is there any way to make the takeout at you former office more kayak freindly ?? I took out under the hwy bridge on the north east corner. Why not have a permit box at Angus for the Minissing section ?? Love the river and would like easier access and more info on water levels. I detailed map of the river suitable for printing over the internet would also be useful. Thanks Ken

Post date: Thu, 07/03/2008 - 10:23


We took our canoe from the camp (Camp Sauliene?) off of County Road 56 near Utopia to the Ministry building on Hwy 90 just past Angus on June 29th. There is a massive jam at the train bridge in Angus, there is no way around but to portage up and over the train bridge, not so much fun with a fiberglass canoe! This trip took about 5 hours, that's with two stops along the way in the rain to have a beach fire and picnic. On July 1, we took our canoe from just below Nicholston to the bridge on County Road 21 near Baxter. Other than being swarmed by deer flies while trying to maneuver the rapids, the trip was slow but pleasant. There were many deer, raccoons,turtles, beavers and woodpeckers. This trip took about 3 hours.

Post date: Sat, 09/27/2008 - 14:41


map please

Post date: Sun, 03/29/2009 - 13:40


On Saturday March 28, 2009, six of us canoed from Angus to Edenvale. The trip took about 5 hours, and was quite enjoyable. The river itself was quite straightforward. However, we encountered five or six logjams. All required a portage, varying from a few meters to 300 meters. This situation occurred in a fairly short section of the river, and hence became a bit tedious.

Once through that section, we once again enjoyed the journey.

Post date: Sat, 01/01/2000 - 07:00


Acees points are located at Nicolston Dam at hwy 89. There is a charge for parking and launching plus they offer a shuttle service.

You can take out at any of the bridges from Nicolston to Angus as well.

The banks in the summer are steep and muddy making access difficult.

In Angus you can access from the field across from Alma St. You can drive quite close to within 100m of the banks of the river and the banks are not so steep here.

There used to be a log jam just north of the railroad trestle but it has vanished as of July 2006

Paddling through the swamp is best during higher water levels but not so high that you can't make out the river channel. Easy to get lost in there during the spring flooding.

Edenvale Conservation area is another good spot to acess the Nottawasaga. There is a picnic area there and even though the signs say no camping I think you are allowed as a through traveller. It is not a highly used area anyways and chances are nobody would even notice you camping there.

The next acess point is a Klondike Park Rd in the Sports Park. As you enter the park turn to your left and there is a dock installed by the Canoe Club of Wasaga Beach. From the river it is the dock just past the bridge on your right side. Just before reaching Klodike Park Rd the river opens up into a shallow weedy lake. There is some good opportunities to fish for Pike, Bass, Catfish, Carp and Salmon all here.

The next stretch has a few swifts that are quite easy to navigate. I have not been through there in higher water levels so can't comment on the difficulty during the spring. The water levels fluctuate quite a bit.

The take-out at Schooner Parkette is not marked from the water at all. Land just before the bridge on your right hand side.

There is abundant opportunity for bird watching and wildlife viewing along this river. Even though it is a populated area the banks are not inundated with homes and cottages until the very last stretch in Wasaga Beach. Expect to see plenty of Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Spotted Sanpipers, Cormorants, Turkey Vultures and there is even a Bald Eagle nesting in the Minesing Swamp now.

It is common to see deer at the banks for a drink and turltes warming on a log.

I have yet to see otters but see lots of eveidence of them.

Post date: Sat, 09/12/2009 - 18:39


Hi. If we started off near Nicolston Dam, how many hours can we canoe before having to portage? Does anyone happen to know?

Post date: Sat, 09/19/2009 - 14:48


Does anyone know if the river can be run from Edenvale to Wasaga Beach at this time of year which is Sept 19th 2009. Thanks in advance for any help.

Post date: Sun, 07/26/2009 - 12:45


Maps for the routes can be picked up at Nicolston Dam and at the Tiffen Conservation Centre. They were free as of this posting.

Post date: Wed, 04/09/2008 - 09:53


The Nottwasaga can be paddled in early spring or after a significant rainfall from Hockley to Nicolston. We went when the gauge at Hockley was reading 1.25m and the gauge near Alliston was near 7.7m. At this level our canoe was rarely scraping the bottom and the current pushed the canoe at about 5km/h. There were only a couple of C1 rapids. However we did encounter a lot of logjams, sweepers and strainers. These obstacles require a lot of maneuvering. Although there were no portages, we probably did 10-12 lift-overs. This section of the river is quite narrow and is constantly meandering. Some sections there was no perceptible valley and the banks were quite small as a result. It was so flat, it kind of felt we were paddling slightly above the farmland all around us. About 5kms upstream of Nicolston another tributary joins and obstructions are no longer a factor. It took us approximately 7 hours to paddle this section of the river.

Post date: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 15:11


The Nottawasaga River is a great Kayaking river. However a word of caution, I would not bother with section from ANGUS to EDENVALE!

The reason being LOG JAMS, although this page indicates only 5 portages. We came across approximately 11 log jams ANGUS-EDENVALE alone. Almost all of which required a portage.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Nottawasaga River and I kayak there 3 - 4 times a year. Sadly this section of the river is in the Minnising Conservation area and it is the most pristine and untouched section. Maybe one day 'friends of the Nottawasaga' can get together and plan to address the log jams and somehow make this section of the Nottawasaga more accessible

Post date: Wed, 06/06/2012 - 21:16


How long does it take to canoe from atkinson road to klondike park? Is it suitable for children in the boat. Thanks

Post date: Sun, 06/24/2012 - 09:24


We would like to kayak from Edenvale to Klondike Park area and exit from there.
Is there some one I could hire to give me a ride back to Edenvale?
Is there still camping at Klondike Park?

Post date: Tue, 06/26/2012 - 20:54


Paddled the nottawasga from nicolston to wasaga beach on the weekend of june 16th. Took 2.5 days to complete. Water levels were relatively low my kayaks were hitting bottom along the first stretch of river. Poly boats are a must for this section. No camp sites any where near Angus (somehing needs to be done about that) had to make do and find a campsite along the river just outside Angus. Second day left from Angus to head through the swamp. Very tough go, no marked portage trails you have to find your own way. Stinging nettles are everywhere. All paddlers need to be aware of the giant hogweed all along the banks of the river. STAY AWAY FROM THIS PLANT VERY DANGEROUS. It is hard to miss. 9 or 10 log jams you start to loss count after the 5th or 6th portage. Be prepared for a struggle if you attempt the swamp. Camp at Edenvale is great. Perfect spot for paddlers. Last leg is a nice quick paddle to wasaga sport park. Great river,lots of wildlife, Wonderful trip close to home.