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Paddling the Rideau Canal
Paddler's Trip Planner

In addition to this page, make sure to also view the
Rideau Paddling FAQ

Route Planning

The Rideau offers a myriad of choices for the canoeist or kayaker. It can be paddled the full length from Kingston to Ottawa (6 to 10 days). Any section can be done as a circle trip. Or any portion can be done depending on your interests and timeframe.

The best planning guides are the Paddling Guides to the Rideau which you can find in the Watson's Paddling Guides section of the main paddling section. Each of those guides contains a 1:50,000 map plus a listing of Points of Interest. These guides can be viewed on-line and/or downloaded as PDF files (print out and/or take with you on your mobile device). You can also get the entire set (18) as a single PDF download (Watson's Paddling Guide to the Rideau Canal)

The Rideau is serviced by public transportation. An alternative to a circle route is to launch from a community on the bus route and pull out at another such community and use the bus to get back and retrieve your vehicle. The Rideau corridor is served by Greyhound bus lines which makes stops at several Rideau communities including Kingston, Seeleys Bay (flag stop), Portland, Smiths Falls and Ottawa. You can contact Greyhound at 1-800-668-8747 (or locally 613-547-4916 in Kingston or 613-238-5900 in Ottawa) or visit their website at:

Navigation and Safety

For safe navigation of the Rideau you will need a map. Paddlers have a choice of using the NTS series of 1:50,000 topographic maps or the more detailed 1:20,000 scale hydrographic charts of the Rideau. You'll find a listing of both the hydrographic charts and the NTS maps on the Map List Page.

The visibility of paddlers is also a safety issue. Canoes and kayaks sit low in the water and can be difficult to spot by other boaters. It is up to you to make sure other boaters in the area know where you are. For more information see the Safety Issue of Visibility Page.


The issue here is safe storage for your vehicle. You may find that a campground, lockstation or marina is the most convenient place to leave your car. There are also several publicly accessible launch ramps. Information about launching locations is included in my paddling guides.


The Rideau offers plenty of camping locations. One option is to camp at the lockstations. For information, have a look at the Lockstation Camping Page. For private campgrounds and provincial parks, have a look at the campgrounds page for a full listing of Rideau corridor campgrounds, including Rideau River Provincial Park and Murphy's Point Provincial Park.

Alternative Accommodations

If you're not into "roughing it" and want to keep the load light, consider staying at a local Bed & Breakfast or a local Inn, motel or lodge. Many of these are on or near the shores of the Rideau Waterway. Information about where to find more info about these can be found on the accommodations page.


There is no need to bring along a huge amount of supplies. Many of the local communities along the Rideau such as Seeleys Bay, Newboro, Westport, Portland, Smiths Falls, Merrickville and Manotick have grocery stores within easy walking distance of docking facilities. In addition, most marinas offer ice, beverages, and snack foods.


For those of you loaded up with electronic devices (smartphone, GPS, pads, etc.), there is the issue of keeping them charged while on your trip. There is no official power available at lockstations to campers, but the washrooms do have power outlets (unsecured so you'll have monitor your device(s) while on charge). Technology continues to evolve, but one of the best options to keep your devices fully powered is a portable battery pack (inexpensive, small, lightweight). These range in capacity, a 10,000 mAh battery will supply about 4 full charges to a smartphone.

Canoe/Kayak Rentals

If you don't have your own canoe or kayak, rentals are available. Visit the boat rentals page for a listing of places along the Rideau that rent canoes and kayaks. Some even offer a pick-up service.

Other Links

Be sure to have a look at both the boating page and the boater's trip planner page for more trip planning information.


Comments: send me email: Ken Watson

©1996- Ken W. Watson