Kayaking the Saint Lawrence River in Ontario’s 1000 Islands
Paddle Tales’ Ken Whiting takes us to southeast Ontario’s 1000 Islands area for a day of kayaking and water fun.
1000 Islands is on the Saint Lawrence River at the border between Ontario, Canada and New York, USA. Within an easy drive from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, and just northeast of the east end of Lake Ontario, this is a superb kayaking destination.
As Ken says, “It’s an incredible mix of wilderness and cottage life.” Take a look:
Ken went through 1000 Islands Kayaking for his outfitting, located in Gananoque, Ontario. Owner, Scott Ewart, guided him on their day-long paddle to show him the highlights.
This outfitter provides gear and guiding for half and full-day kayak tours, as well as multi-day adventures. They’ll even shuttle your camping gear to your campsite if you don’t want to haul it along with you.
Or you can rent your gear from them or other local outfitters—just be aware that navigating through these islands can be a challenge!
There are 1,864 islands in this area that have at least a couple trees on them (one of the requirements to be considered an island there). This makes it a wonderful place to explore by kayak.
One thing not offered by most kayaking destinations: 1000 Islands has over 3,000 shipwrecks in its area waters. Many of them are shallow enough to be seen clearly from your kayak
Kayaking over a shipwreck
Thousand Islands National Park
“Thousand Islands National Park is located in the heart of the 1000 Islands area, an 80-km wide extension of granite hilltops joining the Canadian Shield of northern Ontario with the Adirondack Mountains in New York State…Originally named the St. Lawrence Islands National Park, the park was established in 1904, the first Canadian national park east of the Rocky Mountains.” (source)
About 20 of these islands are part of Thousand Islands National Park, many with picnic areas and campsites on them. This beautiful coastal wilderness area is well worth adding to any kayaker’s bucket list!
Boating, swimming, camping, hiking—all are accessible and popular within the park.
Go to this Parks Canada page to start planning your trip.
Thousand Islands Paddling Trail
The 1000 Islands area has been divided into nine paddling routes for half and full-day kayak trips. Of course while you can kayak anywhere in this area, in any direction, these routes include free maps and other resources to make for you to get the most our of them.
As another option, the nine routes run sequentially so you can paddle two or more together for extended trips.
For more details and maps of the Thousand Islands Paddling Trail, click here.
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