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Paddling the Rideau Canal
Chaffeys Lock to Davis Lock
by: Don MacKay

Route: Chaffeys Lock to Davis Lock
Time: 0.5 - 1 day
Best Map: NTS 31C/9 and/or Chart 1513
Online: Regional Map - Paddler's Trip Planner (use BACK button to return)

Directions: Turn onto Chaffeys Lock Road (County Road 9) off of HWY 15 roughly half-way between Kingston, Ontario and Smiths Falls, Ontario. The distance is about 12 km to Chaffeys Lock from HWY 15.

Put-In: At the bottom end of Chaffeys Lockstation onto Opinicon Lake.

Take-Out: Same as put-in.

Duration: A half-day or entire day.

Difficulty: Easy. This area is fairly protected from winds.

Route: Travel south along the east shore and back on the opposite shore. I suggest that one does not follow the navigational channel to avoid power boats and increase opportunities to see flora and fauna.

Natural Features: This area in the heart of the Frontenac Axis (an rocky exposed area of the Canadian Shield). The terrain is rocky shoreline with a mixture of vegetation. Opinicon Lake is a well protected lake and a popular lake for bass fishing. As you paddle down the east side, you pass the Queen’s University Biological Station. They have a number studies that are ongoing. At the far end, try to find Peterson Creek. This creek has vegetation that is only found here in this part of Eastern Ontario. At the end of this creek, one can take a short portage into Hart Lake.

Historical Features: Chaffeys and Davis Lock were built from 1826-1832 as a part of a British military waterway connecting various rivers, lakes and beaver meadows. The Rideau Canal would allow men, troops, and vessels to travel to the Great Lakes in time of crisis without depending on the St. Lawrence River.

Chaffeys Locks were constructed after Samuel Chaffey had established a milling site. This picturesque lock is located within the village of Chaffeys Lock. It has a historic lockmasters house museum, a general store and a resort, the Opinicon, which originally started as a hunters lodge.

Davis Lock (a.k.a. the wilderness lock) is a quiet lockstation. The tranquil setting is punctuated by a stone defensible lockmasters house sitting at the top of hill overlooking Sand Lake.

Alternate Route: If a longer trip is desired, a car shuttle is easily accomplished. The starting point can be the same or changed to Davis Lock. The round trip paddling distance from Chaffeys Lock to Davis Lock (following the navigational channel): 6.6 km. Not following the route is approx. 15 km.

This canoe route produced by:
Don MacKay
Parks Canada Agency


Comments: send me email: Ken Watson

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