Paddling Route: Lakefield to Squirrel Creek Conservation Area

Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

Kawarthas region 2-day route

Starting in Lakefield, this route covers the largest section of the Otonabee River. Staying overnight in Peterborough, take advantage of everything the city has to offer.

Route information

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total distance: 31 km (19.3 miles); one way
    • Day 1 - Lakefield to Peterborough - 16.5km (10 miles)
    • Day 2 - Peterborough to Squirrel Creek C.A. - 14.5 km (9 miles)
  • Time to paddle: 8 to 10 hours total
    • Day 1: 3.5 to 5 hours
    • Day 2: 3 to 4 hours
  • Number of locks encountered: 8
  • Environment: Gentle river and canal

Facilities and services available along this route:
  • Lockage (required on this route)
  • 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
Other locations to put-in nearby:
Camping and Accommodations
  • Tent camping

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. Depart Lakefield Beach & Playground and paddle right
  2. Follow the Otonabee River south passing through Lock 22 (Nassua Mills) and Lock 21 (Peterbourgh Lift Lock)
  3. After descending the Peterborough Lift Lock, proceed down the river to Lock 20 (Ashburnham)
  4. After you exit Lock 20, take a left and enter the narrow, 1km-long Meade creek through Beavermead Park (to the right of the Trent-Severn Waterway Headquarters)
  5. Stick to the right shore
  6. You will exit by the Peterborough Naval Association back into Little Lake
  7. Take a left and make your way to Lock 19 (Scotts Mills)
  8. Make sure to avoid the dam
  9. Follow the channel of the river to Squirrel Creek Conservation Area; the exit spot will be on the right after the bridge


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 Lakefield to Peterborough
  • Preferable wind conditions are from the north (tail wind)
  • Avoid winds from the south (head wind)


  • Watch for powerboats and their wake
  • 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
  • Lakefield
    • Dining and shopping within walking distance of lockstation.
  • Peterborough
    • Dining and shopping within walking distance
Points of interest

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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