The Saugeen River is the third largest river system in Southern Ontario at approximately 198km in length. From the headwaters in the Dundalk area to the Town of Southampton where it empties into Lake Huron, it falls a a total of 1,158 feet - a distance almost equivalent to the height of the Empire State Building!
The Saugeen River is one of the most popular canoe routes in Southern Ontario, the majority of which passes through private land. The route itself begins officially in the Town of Hanover, although there are many other locations where one can put in and canoe or kayak for the day.
Please respect the Saugeen River Canoe Route.
Take only photographs and leave only footprints, or in this case, paddle strokes!
Hanover to Southampton
Distance: 102 km *Time: 21 to 27 hours (3-4 days)
*The times listed are typical for late May. Actual times will vary according to water conditions and the canoeist's ability. The length of any outing can be extremely flexible, due to road and public access along the route.
Hanover to Walkerton - 20 kilometres -- 5 hours
Three dams, once used for milling and hydro electric generation, are located along this section. From Hanover to the Maple Hill Dam, the water tends to be deep and slow moving. Downstream several gentle rapids are encountered. This section of the route tends to be the most heavily wooded.
Walkerton to Paisley - 39 kilometres -- 7 to 10 hours
Downstream of Walkerton, a number of high sand and clay bluffs border the river, providing homes for swallows and kingfishers. Caution should be exercised in portions of this section, as many rapids, large rocks and flood debris are encountered. This is the most challenging section of the route. In the downstream portions of this section, the forest cover gives way to gently rolling pastureland.
Paisley to Southampton (Denny's Dam) - 43 km -- 9 to 12 hours
Several gentle rapids occur between Paisley and Southampton. In the vicinity of Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Area, the river is bordered by clay bluffs, forming the edge of a well-defined floodplain. Further downstream, the river is braided by sandy, treed islands which are the remnants of a former delta.