Travel tips and ideas

Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

At 386km long, the Trent-Severn Waterway is vast, with countless possible stops along its length. Let us get you started with a few of the must-see experiences and places that top every experienced visitor's list.

Chart a course for Kawartha Lakes

Bobcaygeon and Fenelon Falls are two historic lumber towns that are now home to thriving main streets, colourful shops and premium waterfront dining. In Bobcaygeon, enjoy plentiful mooring in the company of fellow boaters. Plan to get off the boat for ice cream and excellent local businesses. Fenelon Falls is fondly named the “Jewel of the Kawarthas” for good reason. Cruise past spectacular granite cliffs on your way to this bustling community between Sturgeon and Cameron Lakes where you can visit the museum then relax over dinner with a view of the falls. Both communities are designated Trent-Severn Trail Towns so you can be sure to receive a friendly welcome.

Visit the World's Tallest Hydraulic Lift Lock

The Peterborough Lift Lock is a towering feat of engineering ingenuity opened in 1920 and still operating today using much of the same technology. Stand below the two hulking tubs as they lift boaters 65ft in the air, or climb the stairs and take an epic picture at the top. Better yet, navigate through in your boat or kayak on the way to the quiet charm of nearby Lakefield or the bustling downtown of Peterborough. Check out this Lock and Paddle video to see why we say: bring your camera when you come!

Ride the Big Chute Marine Railway

Part train, part boat, all interesting. Come see the fascinating contraption in the Northern Region of the Waterway that lifts visitors from one side to another on their way to the terminus lockstation at Port Severn. Watch this Youtube video on Big Chute and see it in action while learning about more about its history.

Lock through in a canoe

There's nothing like the sensation of paddling through one of the historic locks. Feel the rush of water below you as the chambers empty, and marvel at the towering lock walls that rise up around you. Overhead, lock staff crank the gates open then send you off with a friendly wave to the next lake or river on your journey. Pro tip: Get a seasonal lockage pass for paddlers and spend the whole season paddling to all the different locks.

"Swing by" Bridge #50

Located near the Talbot River, where Samuel de Champlain paddled with the Hurons from Lake Simcoe to Lake Ontario, Bridge #50 is a great site for fishing, picnicking and wildlife watching (mink, osprey, beaver, muskrat and even a Turtle Zone!). Watch the Bridgemaster swing the the 70-ton bridge with a 5hp hydraulic motor! For those who want to paddle the Talbot River there is a public boat launch near Lock 41 - Gamebridge (a short drive east).

Relax in an Ôasis

These inspired overnight accommodations beside the water claim some of the coolest campsites in Ontario. Located just off the beaten path, but not far from the welcoming town of Campbellford, the Ôasis pods are fun for families and perfect stops for paddlers on a multi-night trip. Play cards or read a book in a panoramic pod high above your campsite. Kids will love dozing off in the hammock loft under the light of the stars.

Picnic by the water

Parks Canada lockstations sit alongside some of the most beautiful waterfront parkland. They make wonderful places to stop for a picnic. Drive, cycle or walk to the lockstation and sit for the afternoon to relax and watch the boats go through. Pets are welcome on-leash, and garbage and recycling stations located at the lockstation make it easy for you to Leave No Trace during your visit.

What is your favourite thing to do on the Trent-Severn Waterway?

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