May 2021

On a muggy May day that felt more like August, I explored Kemptville Creek for the first time. I started at Anniversary park, having heard they have a special kayak launch attached to the small boat dock there. It was quite cool and made getting into the kayak and launching a simple affair, once I realized I’d have to use my hands to lift and push myself off and not just wiggle my way forward like I usually do from a beach launch.

kayak launch at anniversary park

Kemptville Creek is a lovely paddle with calm waters and a lot of variety on the shoreline. Heading upstream (left from Anniversary Park, or south) you have tidy waterfront homes on one side and reedy marsh on the other. The frogs were singing loudly as I set out, and among the water lilies just starting to grow on the surface, some sort of splashy fish thrashed about. I saw lots of shore birds, turtles, and a swimming mammal that was too quick for me to catch a good look but was likely a mink or otter.

If you don’t have access to a canoe or kayak of your own, you can rent one from Drifter’s Outdoors (Facebook link) right on the creek, on the bank opposite from Anniversary Park.

placid waters on kemptville creek

You can go about 2.5 km until you come to the bridge over Prescott Street. It’s quite neat to see the downtown area of Kemptville suddenly appear as you’re paddling along. (I have a deep love of small town “downtowns”.) At the bridge where Prescott St passes the river, the water suddenly becomes quite shallow and even in this year of lower spring water, the current was too vigorous for me to bother fighting it to explore further upstream.

Rapids past Prescott Street

Turning right/north/downstream from Anniversary Park, it’s about 5 km to where Kemptville Creek opens into the Rideau River, across from the Rideau River Provincial Park. (Did you know that Kemptville Creek was once known as the South Branch of the Rideau River?) As you paddle north from Anniversary Park, you’ll see a beautiful diversity of trees in Ferguson’s Forest on the western bank. I’ll bet this area is spectacular in the autumn season and I’ll be sure to check it out.

Kemptville Creek facing north

I really enjoyed this area and will definitely be exploring it more. Are you familiar with this area? Any stories or tips to share?


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