Lockstations & Blockhouse Visitor Centres
With 24 lock stations and 47 locks spanning Kingston to Ottawa, boats of all sizes are able to lock through. Watch the lockmasters and crew hand crank boats through on this historic waterway.
Better yet, rent a boat and experience locking through first hand. Canal staff along the Rideau are friendly and willing to answer questions, and in some locations, such as at Kingston Mills, Chaffey’s Lock, Jones Falls and Merrickville, there are museums and visitor centres at the stations. Boat rentals are available at some spots along the canal; indulge in a rental to cross this experience off your bucket list.
Get out and explore the Rideau au naturel by hitting trails along the way. With lush greenery, rock outcroppings, and pristine water, the Rideau Canal provides natural eye candy at every turn. Photo-ready scenes unravel before your eyes; this is nature at its best – even in the winter! With many all-season parks and conservation areas, the Rideau Canal has ample opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature.
HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR POPULAR TRAILS ALONG THE CANAL
The Rideau Trail is a 387 km network of hiking trails between the City of Kingston and the City of Ottawa located in the general area of the Rideau Canal and its tributary waters. Come hike with us!
The Cataraqui Trail is a year-round, shared-use recreation trail. In spring, summer, and fall it welcomes everyone from hikers to cyclists. In winter it is open to snowmobilers bearing a current Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs trail permit.
Murphy’s Point on the Rideau Trail : Nestled between Westport and Lombardy you will find a majestic destination for hiking. With over 20 kms of trails with captivating scenery. Located on Big Rideau Lake, part of the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site.
The Tip to Tip Trail is a 4.5k hike in Burritts Rapids; a small town south of Ottawa, along the Rideau River. The creation of the Rideau Canal there resulted in a small island. The ‘Tip to Tip’ Trail is aptly named because it begins at one tip of the island and ends at the other.
The North Grenville Trail System links together 150 km of trails, roads, walkways, and waterways throughout the municipality. The Sugar Bush Island Trail near Davis Lock also offers incredible views from high atop a rock lookout. It’s an easy hike among Butternut, Sugar Maple, White Pine, and Butternut trees. Be delighted by the abundance of birdlife here and by finding stairs in the middle of the woods to help easily traverse some hills along the trail!
Foley Mountain in Westport looks out over Upper Rideau Lake from a granite ridge at Spy Rock. A three-minute walk from the parking lot gets visitors to the rock lookout to see the lake and village laid out below.
Sugarbush Island trail near Davis Lock is a great family walk – the kids will love discovering sets of stairs built into right the trail for easy navigation of some hills.
Rock Dunder, owned by the Rideau Waterways Land Trust, near Morton offers a 3.8 km summit loop that is so worth the hike. This moderate to difficult trail leads you to a soaring lookout over the Rideau Waterway. If you follow the well-marked trails all the way to the top, astounding beauty and a great photo opportunity is your reward. Standing atop the rock at the summit gives a breathtaking view of the canal with water and treetops below stretching as far as the eye can see.
Another unforgettable vantage point is near Chaffey’s Lock on a former train bridge, which is now a section of the Cataraqui Trail. The bridge dates back to the early 1900s and has recently been renovated for use with the trail. A short five-minute walk through the woods from the lock awards visitors with an unforgettable view.
Day hike your way through the region. Find more trail adventures here.
Along with the trails mentioned above, the Rideau Canal offers fantastic opportunities for waterfowl viewing in a variety of habitat including winding canal and river intermixed with shallow lakes and marshy shorelines. Morning paddlers are often greeted by loons and blue herons as the mist rises off of the lakes and evening paddlers can watch the sun go down over the water in a glorious blaze of colour. Particularly enticing spots for birding is a Class 1 Wetland near Smiths Falls Detached lockstation, known as the Swale, as well as the Tay River, the Tay Marsh (Class 1 Wetland) and Upper Beveridges Locks lookout tower. A variety of easy access spots are available for paddlers, and there is even a Federal Bird Sanctuary and Class 1 and 2 Wetlands located upstream from Merrickville. Guaranteed action from feathered friends!
1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail
A mix of private and public gardens and garden centre displays connect to make up the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail throughout Leeds Grenville.
The trail features many unique gardens that feature perennials, shrubs, trees, and food production. The gardens showcase a range of plant matter from native plants to the uncommon. Specialty beds include shade, sun, bog, woodland, scree and pollinator gardens. Added experiences include native butterflies, honeybees and birds, monarch butterfly way stations, fountains, ponds, contemporary art exhibits, and statuary. Learn more about the trail.
Browse the regions calendar of events below
Ottawa Events Calendar
Find out what’s happening in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
Kingston Events Calendar
Kingston, a hub where makers, culinary enthusiasts and musicians bring a vibrant, modern culture to this historic Canadian city.
Perth Events Calendar
Night markets, music and more. Find out what’s happening in Perth, Ontario.
Smiths Falls Events Calendar
Find out what’s happening in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
Westport Events Calendar
Discover events and live music in the Village of Westport.
Kemptville Events Calendar
Explore events for Kemptville and the surrounding areas in North Grenville.
Manotick Events Calendar
Discover unique businesses, festivals, and special village events in Manotick.
Merrickville Events Calendar
Arts, shopping and street events are aplenty in ‘the Jewel of the Rideau’. Find things to do in Merrickville, Ontario.
Rideau Lakes Event Calendar
Find events happening in the many villages of Rideau Lakes.
Leeds and the Thousand Islands Events Calendar
Find out what’s happening in Seeley’s Bay & Lyndhurst.