We decided to checkout the Rouge river in the south end by the lake. The day before we had a heavy down pour, something I didn’t think about when choosing the place to paddle. We launched at the end of Lawrence Rd. This is a shoreline that is quite muddy and gooey but a relatively easy place to put in. There is no launching ramp perse.
You could also launch further up towards the lake where there is a nicer beach but you would have to carry a bit further. There is a reasonable amount of parking here, and it’s free, but be aware it gets very busy here so earlier is better. You will have to elbow your way into the shoreline, as the fishermen line up early.
Once in the water if you head towards the lake you find it’s difficult without a carry over to get into the lake. And at the point where the river meets the lake it can be a bit of a surf so not the easiest place to get into the lake itself. We didn’t bother, steered by a local kayaker and headed up stream instead. There’s a lovely foot bridge and a noisy well used Go train track in the south. There are three parts you can explore, marked 1, 2 and 3 in the image:
Number two is the main river which is where we spent most of our time. I will come back to 1 and 3. The river itself, when we were there, the day after a heavy rain, had a surprisingly quick current. The further we got up the more noticeable it was. Narrow places in the river took quite a bit of paddling to get past. The river itself is fairly shallow and fairly muddy, although again this was after a VERY heavy rain. I don’t mean to keep emphasizing this, however, it might be completely different otherwise.
On our way up we saw some crows, red wing blackbirds, lots of Canada geese, a raccoon, a sole cormerant, and king fishers to name a few.
You can paddle all the way up to Kingston rd, which the first bridge north of the 401. Above Kingston rd the current get’s quite brisk and your going to get a good work out. Up towards the top of the row, after we got back, I noticed I’d continued up Rouge river, but what is called Little Rough river appears on the map to be more significant. No idea if you could have go any further up that way. We eventually got to the point where there was a concrete water break that was challenging to get past. We got almost all the way up to the foot bridge over the Rouge from Glen Rouge campground.
We came back down and decided to explore the two offshoots. Number 3 is a smaller one, but we refound the heron, and kingfishers. This one is VERY weedy, and very shallow. Towards the end of it the water lillies take over and your done. Where I paddled in the map is about the only part that wasn’t covered in the water lilies.
So onto number 1. This one is readily viewable as you drive in and there is even a small boardwalk beside it. In this one we saw a couple trumpeter swans, a great egret, and blue herons. The map itself shows the ability to get into large offshoot. If there is a way to do this, it wasn’t evident. I’ll admit I was about done at that point anyway, but it just seemed like the water lilies had taken over again. If you could get into that area it looks like there is a fair bit additionally to explore.
All in all it was good paddle with some fun at the top. It took a bit to get to the top, but it was fun doing so! And the benefit is on the way down you can practically drift back through the fast water …
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous towards the top, but you could choose to skip that. Tricky to get past as you approach Glen Rouge campground
Distance: We did 8.1Km in just under 3 hours with lots of time exploring nature
Start/End: end of Lawrence Rd.