At 202km in length, the Rideau Canal National Historic Site is one epic travel route. With charming waterfront communities and 24 historic lockstations along its length, you’re bound to discover something exciting around every bend. Start planning your next trip to this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site today.
By water or land, there’s lots to explore!
Travel along the Rideau Canal is made possible by a series of locks (47) and lockstations (24) maintained and operated by Parks Canada. Each lock features historic engineering that connects boaters and paddlers to a navigable system stretching from Kingston to Ottawa. Basic on-site facilities at lockstations (such as washrooms and picnic tables) cater to the needs of visitors arriving by land or water, and various overnight stay options invite you to plan an extended visit. Speak to friendly Parks Canada staff for trip planning information and to learn more about the history. Each lockstation has its own story to tell in this uniquely Canadian experience, so be sure to visit them all!
Click here to see a visitor map of the Rideau Canal
Visitors travelling by boat:
Boaters should consult up-to-date Nautical Charts (#1512 & #1513). Charts can be purchased at most lockstations or online. Boaters should also check the Notice for Mariners (NOTMAR) website.
Drivers, cyclists and hikers:
Road travelers should consult provincial road maps and/or trusted online map sources.
More information about navigating the Rideau Canal
Hours of operation:
Parks Canada’s navigation season runs annually from mid-May to mid-October. During seasonal hours of operation, friendly lock staff will be on-hand to provide lockage and mooring services to boaters, and check-in any overnight visitors. Washroom facilities and limited parking will also be available to the public during these hours.
Parks Canada Hours of Operation.
Fees and Permits:
There is no entrance fee when visiting a lockstation on the Rideau Canal. This includes access to washroom facilities and surrounding parklands for picnics and sightseeing.
Parks Canada does collect fees from boaters and paddlers seeking lockage and mooring services, as well for various overnight camping and accommodations options.
Revenues are used to support visitor services and facilities. This means that every time you travel the Rideau Canal, you are investing in its future – and in a legacy for future generations.
Check the weather
Boaters and paddlers should always be sure to check the weather before planning any trip along the Rideau Canal. Water levels and navigation conditions can change suddenly and without notice.
Purchase permits in advance
If your trip to the Rideau Canal includes overnight mooring and/or lockage for your boat or paddlecraft, save yourself time by purchasing your permits online in advance. Purchase a seasonal lockage or mooring package and you’re set for the whole season!
Permits are also available of purchase on-site at time of arrival, during seasonal hours of operation.
Follow Parks Canada on Social Media
For travel tips and ideas, important announcements, and answers to your visitor questions follow:
@RideauCanalNHS on Twitter
/RideauCanalNHS on Facebook
For real-time boater information, including mooring availability and wait times, follow @RideauBoatInfo on Twitter
Are there public washrooms at the lockstations?
Basic on-site washroom facilities are available at each lockstation, and open to the public during Hours of Operation. After-hours access is given to boaters who are mooring overnight, and visitors camping or staying in an oTENTik
How long does it take to travel between lockstations?
Travel times between lockstations varies widely based on the location of the lockstations, your method of travel, and various operational considerations. Travellers should consult trusted boating guides, road maps and/or tourism information centres for complete trip planning information.
How long does it take to travel the entire Rideau Canal?
The Rideau Canal National Historic Site is 202km in length. Boaters should plan for 5-7 days to complete the journey, including lockage through 47 locks. Visitors who drive to the locks should take into consideration the various towns, villages and cities along its length.
Can I rent a boat, or canoes and kayaks, at the lockstation?
Parks Canada does not offer any rentals at lockstations. Check local listings for trusted local outfitters along on the Rideau Canal.
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