The Mighty Saugeen River
Let the calm and yet exciting river take you on an endless adventure.
Regardless of your point of entry into the picturesque Saugeen River, you’ll find 102 km of easy paddling through scenic countryside in Bruce County. Forget the manic white water – we’re all about smooth strokes and perfect casts. Just touch the water with your lure and see what emerges.
There are several steps swimmers and paddlers can take to stay safe when participating in activities in, on and around rivers.
- Obey all signs.
- Actively supervise children.
- Avoid going on the river alone.
- Create a trip plan. Tell someone.
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Stay sober.
- Get trained.
- Know the regulations.
- For most canoes, kayaks, rowboats and other human-powered boats, safety equipment you need on board includes: Life jacket or PFD, sound-signaling device, buoyant line at least 15 m long and a bailer or manual bilge pump.
- Consider these safety requirements too:
- Navigation lights are required if operating after sunset or before sunrise.
- A magnetic compass is not required if the boat is 8 m or less and you operate it within sight of navigation marks.
- If boat is over 6 m, you need one watertight flashlight and six flares of Type A, B, C or D, only two (2) can be Type D.
- Radar reflectors are typically not needed for small sized boats.
- Bottom line: responsible paddlers always wear their PFDs on the water.
- Inflatable PFDs are recognized, but with caveats. It’s not enough to just have them on board, they must be worn. Children under the age of 16 or weighing less than 36 kg may not use an inflatable PFD.
- Review Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide
- Check out safety tips from PaddleSmart
- Review Flood Advisories from Saugeen Conservation.
- Check Low Water Advisories from Saugeen Conservation.
- Visit Environment Canada’s latest Saugeen Real Time Water Levels.
Stay safe on your adventure.
With the what3words app, it’s easy to find, share and save precise locations.
And in Bruce County, first responders and police use the what3words location app to help find people in an emergency.
Whether you’re paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, or enjoying the lakes in a motorized water craft; safe boating practices are essential!
Safe Boating Rental Package – offered by iSUP Saugeen
$50.00 + travel & tax.
Extra value: they deliver!
Inclusive of a Transport Canada approved PFD, waterproof lantern, waterproof two-way radio with weather alerts, floating emergency whistle, 10L dry pack, and rescue throw bag!
Stay informed; keep up to date with Ontario’s Safe Boating Regulations and water safety information. Available at this link: https://isupsaugeen.ca/safe-boating-regulations
Check Local Weather
Discover Outfitters and Rent Equipment
Exploring Off the River
Start your adventure at Access Point 3 – Hanover Town Park.
- There are many amenities available at this access point including a playground, washroom, picnic shelter, band shell and a skateboard park.
- The downtown core is a short walk away where there are many restaurants and stores
In between Hanover and Walkerton you will find Access Point 4, Maple Hill Dam. Great parking here but no amenities. There is a portage a short ride down the river.
There’s so much to see and do in Hanover.
- Visit MacLean’s Ales Brewery for a great hand-crafted beer, brewed locally!
- Visit the Hanover Raceway to watch live harness racing, every Saturday from June to September.
- Check out great entertainment and shows.
- Taste the best donuts and more at a long0-time community staple, Schultz’s
- Hike 11 km of community trails
Known to the Ojibway as Hahskosesing meaning “Little Marsh”, Walkerton is a bustling town situated on the banks of the Saugeen River. You may come to fly fish or canoe trip down the river, but stay for the great dining, shopping and heritage architecture.
You will find Access Point 5 at Lobies Park in Walkerton, a short walk to downtown, restaurants and many amenities. This is a great place to stop along the river or start your adventure.
More to see and do:
- Discover the Greenock Swamp
- Shop many boutique stores
- Enjoy wood-fired pizza, riverside
- Check out many activities for the whole family
Paisley – where the rivers meet.
The intersection of water, land and collection of eclectic people, make this a must see for people paddling the Saugeen.
Take a stroll through the town before your paddle, checking out the local shops and spectacular murals – which make the perfect photo-op!
Access Point #9a is just off the main street in Paisley, which makes it a very short walk to many downtown businesses, including a grocery store, restaurants and more! This access point also boasts a well maintained dock which makes for an easy launch. You’ll know you’re at the right place when you can see the Paisley Hose Tower, a historical landmark in Paisley. The dock is located just behind the tower, and just before 2 bridges.
Other things to see and do when in Paisley:
Access Point #11 at Saugeen Bluffs is a perfect place to stop for a washroom break, lunch break or to explore what the campground has to offer. There are campsites along the river, washrooms and a camp store. Call ahead to book your site for the night. It’s a beautiful location to stop and stretch your legs.
Take a hike to the famous Lookout Point to get a Birdseye view of the river, buy an ice-cream cone at the Bluffs General Store, or take a look at the new Horse Camping Area of the campground, where visitors bring the horses to camp with them.
Book a site along the water for a beautiful night among the stars, with the tricking water in the background. A perfect way to spend a summer night.
Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area features 181 sites for regular and horse campers.
The park is nestled within a 100 ha sugar maple forest. All are welcome to indulge in the peaceful surrounding of “The Bluffs.” The developed recreational trail system features a lookout over the scenic Saugeen River. Check out the tree colours in the fall. They are spectacular!
Washrooms are available to paddlers and only open during camping season: the last Friday in April through Thanksgiving Monday.
See the map of Saugeen Bluffs.
No matter your interest, Port Elgin in Saugeen Shores is quickly becoming one of Ontario’s top vacation destinations.
Here’s how you can Explore the Shores:
Nestled on the shores of Lake Huron is the beautiful community of Southampton in Saugeen Shores. The local beach is extraordinary in every season, the downtown is bustling, and the dining is great. If you seek adventure, head to Chantry island and explore the iconic lighthouse and lightkeepers cottage. If you seek creativity, you’ll find a thriving arts scene, the Southampton Art School and lots of artistic talent!
Southampton was an area settled by boat. During the nineteenth century, the main mode of transportation was by water. Settlers arrived to our shores on Lake Huron by sailboat and steamer and on the Saugeen River by canoe and raft. At this time, the main industries were fishing and lumber.
Close to Southampton, Access Point #15 is Denny’s Dam – a great place to launch or end your trip. There’s plenty of parking and washroom facilities.
As you paddle, you may reach Access Point #16, Chesley Street in Southampton. The last access point on the Saugeen River is located in Southampton. There’s a large amount of parking and washroom facilities. After you get off the river, walk or take a drive to Southampton before you head home.
And don’t forget, there’s lots to see and do as you Explore the Shores:
Saugeen Conservation has two properties where camping is offered along the Saugeen River route:
- Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area (between Paisley and Southampton)
- McBeath Conservation Area (upstream from the Village of Paisley)
There are also amazing camping experiences to be had at these private businesses:
Saugeen Springs RV Park – also offers River Tubing Rentals
Home to the one of the largest runs of migratory Rainbow Trout/Steelhead in the Ontario. It’s safe to say that Bruce County boasts some of the best steelhead fishing anywhere in Southern Ontario, if not the Great Lakes.
- Know the rules and regulations.
- Fishing is permitted within season only.
- Always Follow Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) guidelines.
- Southampton Outfitters offers guided trips for Steelhead on the Saugeen River.
Keep your eyes out for wildlife.
Great blue herons, deer, mallards, beavers and muskrats all make the river their home. And please take nothing but memories, leave nothing but paddle strokes in the water.
There are three portages located along the Saugeen River. Ranging between 150 and 240 metres in length, these portages require experience and skill. Do not plan routes that include portaging if you do not have the proper experience or know-how on portaging your vessel.
Maple Hill Dam (located at Access #4) – 150 metre portage is on the left (south) bank, upstream of the bridge.
Hydro Dam (located downstream from Access #4) – 240 metre portage on the left (west) bank.
Denny’s Dam (located at Access #15) – 150 metre portage metre portage on the left (south) bank.
Enjoy every moment on the Saugeen River! Be safe.
Share your experience and use #ExploreTheBruce.