Exploring Grey’s Waterways
From Georgian Bay to Lake Eugenia, from the Beaver River to the Sydenham and the Saugeen, Grey County has miles of pristine waters to explore. Whether you’re looking for a family- friendly canoe adventure, a challenging kayak experience or a sunset stand- up paddle, there’s something for you in Grey County.
With a wealth of epic paddling experiences in our own backyard, a variety of knowledgeable outfitters have set up shop in Grey County to offer rentals, guides and lessons. For a complete list of local paddling operators and launches click here.
Always be sure to think about water safety before you head out, make a plan, let someone know your plan and be prepared. #knowbeforeyougo Here are some water safety tips from Grey Bruce Public Health.
Before you dive in
What you pack for a day of paddling depends on your route, your chosen boat (kayak, canoe or SUP) and the time of year. With that said, there are some simple things to keep in mind when you’re planning a paddle. First, whatever goes in the boat, could in theory, end up wet. Most outfitters sell dry bags specifically made to seal with several folds, keeping whatever is inside dry, even if the bag goes for a dip. This is a must have for sleeping bags and your tent if you’re canoe camping. It’s also a good idea for car keys, cell phones, cameras etc. If you’re canoeing or kayaking with kids, it’s a good idea to pack easy to eat snacks, books or small toys that will help keep them busy if you have a long paddle planned. Finally, Transport Canada has a number of rules about the safety equipment you must have on board for canoes, kayaks and SUPs. At a minimum, you need a personal flotation device for each person in your boat. To learn more, visit the Transport Canada website.
Great Grey Paddles
The Sydenham River: History on the water’s edge
This family-friendly river takes you from Harrison Park through Owen Sound’s historic downtown to the city’s East Boat Launch. The river offers unique views of Owen Sound’s heritage homes winding through marshlands along the Niagara Escarpment with lots of opportunities for viewing both wildlife and birds. Rent a boat from the Putt n’ Paddle in Harrsion Park then wrap up your journey with an ice cream and a walk through the park’s bird sanctuary.
The Beaver River: Beginners welcome
This gentle river flows 40 kilometres from Kimberley to Heathcote and was a key transportation route in the 19th century. Home to the great blue heron, the great horned owl, white tailed deer and its namesake – the beaver, this is a great route for beginner paddlers. Put ins are available on Grey Road 13 north of Kimberley, on the Epping Side Road and at Healthcote allowing you to vary your route from 6 to 15 kilometres.
The Saugeen: Placid pastures and swirling eddies
Beginning in the town of Hanover and flowing west into Lake Huron, the Saugeen River offers something for everyone. From placid stretches through rich farmland to swirling eddies and rapids, this river can be both family-friendly and challenging. With campgrounds available along i’s length, the full trip from Hanover to Southampton is 102 kilometres but paddlers can easily plot a course that suits their time frame. The Durham Conservation Area makes a great day use stop and also offers overnight camping.
Lake Eugenia: An inland treasure
Grey County’s largest inland lake offers excellent paddling and fishing. This is strictly a bring-your-own-boat option but with easy access to the public launch (with a nice swimming spot) and plenty of parking, Eugenia is a great place to explore.
Georgian Bay: Hit the open water
The waters of Georgian Bay are one of Grey County’s true gems. The aquamarine and dark blue hues are some of the most beautiful in the world. Mother Nature runs the show on the bay though, with conditions ranging from glassy to whitecaps. Sea kayaking is a great way to explore and calm days are perfect for stand-up paddleboards. Great places to launch are Northwinds Beach near Thornbury, Colpoy’s Bay near Wiarton or the Owen Sound Bay. Whether you’re going it alone or with a guide; let someone know your route and Check the marine forecast before heading out.