Paddling Route: Buckhorn to Peterborough

Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

Kawarthas region 3-day route

On this 3-day paddling adventure, you will paddle across 5 beautiful lakes, you will paddle down the Otonabee River and the excavated Trent canal. Finish your trip in the City of Peterborough, who offers many summer activities for you to enjoy and maybe extend your trip.

Route information

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Total distance: 51 km (32 miles); one way
    • Day 1 - Buckhorn to Burleigh Falls - 12.5 km (8 miles)
    • Day 2 - Burleigh Falls to Lakefield - 22 km (14 miles)
    • Day 3 - Lakefield to Peterborough - 16.5 km (10 miles)
  • Time to paddle: 14 to 17 hours total
    • Day 1: 3 to 4 hours hours
    • Day 2: 5.5 to 7 hours
    • Day 3: 4 to 5 hours
  • Number of locks encountered: 11
  • Environment: In and out of lakes and around islands and inlets; open and sheltered from winds; gentle river and canal

Facilities and services available along this route:

  • Lockage (recommended)
  • symbol for accessible washrooms Accessible washrooms
  • symbol for potable water Potable water
  • symbol for information kiosk Information
  • symbol for picnic area Picnic area
  • symbol for camping Camping


Some lockstation facilities and services have changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and could affect your visit. Please visit our COVID-19 information page for more details when planning your trip.

Plan your trip

This is a one-way route that requires a personal shuttle to or from the put-in and take-out locations. Plan accordingly.

Put-in locations
Camping & Accommodations
Night 1
Night 2

Tent camping is available at most lockstations on a first-come, first-served basis, at the discretion of the lockmaster. Campsites can not be reserved in advance.

Learn more about camping at lockstations

Paddling directions

  1. Follow the left (north) shore on Lower Buckhorn Lake until you reach Lock 30
  2. Turn right when exiting Lock 28
  3. Follow the west shore of Clear Lake
  4. After Lock 27, follow the east shore of Katchewanooka Lake and the Otonabee River
  5. When exiting Lock 20, stick to the left shore to explore Meade Creek through Beavermead Park

Follow the buoys

Bouys are colourful floating navigational aids that indicate the boundaries of the navigational channel. They will guide you if you are not sure which direction to paddle. Learn more about navigational aids.


Lockage is recommended for several locks along this route. Portaging may be difficult.

Lockage is the process of raising or lowering boats and paddlecraft into connecting sections of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Lockage takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. During seasonal Hours of Operation, paddlers can lock through any Parks Canada lock with the purchase of a valid lockage permit. Permits may be purchased upon arrival, or in advance online or by phone.

Locks along this route

The status of facilities and services at lockstations listed below are subject to change throughout the navigation season. Please visit our Facilities and Services page for up-to-date status by lockstation.

Wind conditions

  • The water flows from Buckhorn to Peterborough
  • Caution: Strong head winds and cross winds on Upper Buckhorn Lake, Clear Lake and Katchewanooka Lake
  • Avoid strong south/southwest, east/southeast, northwest winds


  • Watch for powerboats and their wake
  • Narrow passage in navigational channel around Dinnertime Island (Lower Buckhorn Lake)
  • Winding narrow sections of the Otonabee River past Lock 19

Avoid dams

Watch for dams at the following locations and be sure to navigate away from them:

Tourism information

Nearby communities and services
  • Buckhorn
    • Dining options within walking distance of lockstation.
  • Burleigh Falls
    • The Outpost
    • Dining options within walking distance of lockstation
  • Young's Point
  • Lakefield
    • Dining options within walking distance of lockstation
  • Peterborough
    • Dining and shopping within walking distance
Points of interest

Canoe ladder at Wolf Island

Regional tourism

The following regional tourism experts can help guide you towards great local experiences and businesses in the areas along this route. Visit their websites when planning your trip.

Parks Canada on Youtube
Videos by others

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