Kayaking Upper Rideau Lake

Sometimes kayaking feels like a dream. Paddling from Narrows Lock on the Rideau Canal waterway, across Upper Rideau Lake with 15 kayakers to the charming village of Westport, Ontario on a fair weather day was dreamlike. There were too many things to like at both ends of the paddle route and along the way. This is a fantastic paddle to share. Bring friends!

I give this awesome round-trip day paddle from Narrows Lock to Westport a Two Thumbs Up! Better yet, it’s an easy, uncomplicated route.

Kayaking from Narrows Lock 35, (part of the historic Rideau Canal waterway), to the village of Westport, Ontario is about 9 km (5.6 miles) each way across Upper Rideau Lake, travelling a fairly direct route. If you wander off into the lake’s bays along the way, it will be longer.

Where Is Narrows Lock?

Narrows Lock 35, is not far from Crosby, Ontario off County Road 14. The lock is a connecting passage between Upper Rideau Lake and Big Rideau Lake.

Parking areas at Narrows Lock

Free parking is found on both sides of Narrows Lock. Find your spot!

There are clean public restrooms and picnic areas at Narrows lock and at Westport, Ontario. Westport is very boater and paddler friendly, and has showering facilities for a small fee in the public restrooms. Lockstations along the Rideau Canal waterway all have clean public restrooms, but they do not have showers.

Paddle west from Narrows Lock across Upper Rideau Lake to Westport. To return, paddle east from Westport back to Narrows Lock.  A kayak compass on your front deck will keep you heading in the right direction. As you paddle across the lake, you’ll see the village of Westport in the distance.

Narrows Lock Is Kayak Friendly

Motor boat entering narrows lock from Upper Rideau Lake

All lockstations on the historic Rideau Canal Waterway are very motorboat friendly.Although, all lockstations are friendly for locking through if you have a pass, not all lockstations are friendly for launching or landing paddle craft, not yet . . .

Happily, Narrows Lock is kayak friendly. Two thumbs up!  Next to Narrows Lock on Upper Rideau Lake there is a small, sandy access, next to parking, and it’s perfect for launching kayaks.

Sandy, gravel launch on Upper Rideau Lake

Upper Rideau Lake is open water. It feels good to be free to take off and paddle across it. The summer day rewards us with interesting cloud formations along the way.

Heading west to the village of Westport from Narrows Lock, we see Foley Mountain Conservation Area on our right as we approach Westport. My white kayak nose is pointing straight at the village in the distance.

Kayaks on Upper Rideau Lake, Foley Mountain on right

Foley Mountain is more like a big hill, but it is a beautiful landmark along our route just the same.

After about an hour and a half of easy paddling from Narrows Lock we arrive in Westport Harbour.

Thank you Westport for being so kayak friendly!

This is such a welcome sight to a paddler. We can scramble right up onto this low dock at Westport Harbour. And the beautiful views just don’t stop. Awesome!

Sea kayak approaching low dock at Westport Harbour with views of Upper Rideau Lake

Westport is very motorboat and sailboat friendly too. Its harbour connects right to the village.

Motorboats in Westport Harbour, footbridge to village

Westport has a relaxed atmosphere.  It’s a nice change from city life.

Just park your kayak, motorboat, or sailboat in Westport Harbour, walk over a foot bridge and wander into Westport. It only takes two minutes, and you’re in the village with a choice of restaurants, shops, and lodging if you plan to stay longer. You can’t get lost, and you won’t want to leave anytime soon.

Sea kayaks parked on grassy shore in Westport Harbour, views of Upper Rideau Lake and gazebo

Westport is an awesome spot for a lunch break where you can picnic, or resto. How about fish n chips?

Some ice cream? You can also find bakery goods, chocolate, and much more.

Ice cream shop, Westport

After a long, leisurely lunch break in Westport, we take to the water and head east towards Narrows Lock. Foley Mountain Conservation Area is on our left. The cloud cover is ominous. But the summer day is still hot. I’m in the mood to swim.

We’ve spotted the beautiful little sandy beach at Foley Mountain. So, we’re heading there by kayak. It’s only a small detour. We’ve got some fish n’chips and ice cream to work off. We stay out of the roped off swimming area with our kayaks.

Kayaking to Foley Mountain beach, Upper Rideau Lake

The beach at Foley Mountain Conservation Area meets clear, cool water in Little Bay on Upper Rideau Lake. It isn’t weedy. I love it for a refreshing swim on a hot summer day. You can walk, bike, drive, or paddle to Foley Mountain from Westport. But there are no motorboat landings or docking here. There are public restrooms near the beach.

Spy Rock is a popular lookout found along one of Foley Mountain’s five beautiful hiking trails. You can also snowshoe the trails in winter. Enjoy the Foley Mountain Conservation Area. It has so much to offer on it’s 800 acres of forest, ponds, and fields.

You have many great choices along this paddle route. You can stop at Foley Mountain for a picnic lunch, a swim, and a hike, and visit the village of Westport.

Paddle Tips

  • The Upper Rideau is a large lake, be aware of the predicted wind speed and wind gusts, and weather report, as you are crossing open water.
  • Be on the lookout for motorboats in the area.
  • Stay out of the motorboat channel route. There is plenty of water and room for everyone on Upper Rideau Lake. Check the map link at the bottom of this post to see where the motorboat channel runs.
  • The water is cold in spring and fall. Be prepared.

Narrows Lock is a great launching point on the Rideau Canal waterway.

It gives you access to open water on Upper Rideau Lake or Big Rideau Lake with beautiful views unobstructed by buildings. Narrows lock is in close proximity to several popular spots you can paddle or boat to: Newboro, Westport, and Portland, Ontario.

Happy trails!
Peggy Varner

BaffinPaddler at sandy launch at Narrows Lock, Upper Rideau Lake