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Sauble River in Ontario - Weekend Trip Report

Trip Overview

Sauble Falls Provincial Park

If you want to get away from it all, go camping in any northern Ontario provincial park during the week while it's still cool out! Very few bugs and very quiet due to the lack of brave campers! I camped in the east campground which is nearer to the water. The west campground sits at a higher elevation, but still has some sites that give a water view.

The river walking trail gives you a good view of the Falls area. You can catch the salmon spawning in the Falls area of the river- I saw this when I was a child - interesting if you've never seen it!

I asked park staff a lot of questions about current river conditions on the Rankin and Sauble Rivers. I was going to paddle a longer day on the first day to do the Rankin...staff said it was almost impassible in a lot of areas and recommended just doing the Sauble. Apparently they had a nasty storm which felled ALOT of trees and the fire department used to clear them for the park but they no longer had them available to do the work so the Rankin will be difficult to paddle and portages are not practical.

I put-in near # 120 site - it's relatively flat at the shore there. A clay bottom made for an interesting put-in...my kayak wanted to get going and my body didn't! HAHA!! So I was slightly wet when I started out. No matter though, the sun was shining big time!! I got into the water and let out the BIGGEST sigh of relief! Ah to be up north paddling again!

There were thousands of small bugs whipping around the surface of the water throughout my paddle. I kept to the right of the waterway to remain on the Sauble; had I gone left and under the first bridge, I would have been headed up the Rankin! And I didn't want to go there!

I paddled through very calm waters - no wind in sight this morning! It made for some lovely reflections as seen in my photos! I noted there were no easy takeout areas ANYWHERE! The main composition of the riverbank was sand on top of clay which made for very slippery, ill-footed landings so I didn't go there!... the book said there were 3 swifts that I would encounter-didn't see any of them-maybe I was there at another time of year? Maybe I didn't make it as far as I thought and will see them on my next trip up the river?

I saw a couple of HUGE blue jays, some evidence of beavers in the form of sawed- down tree trunks, red squirrels and chipmunks, and of course, a HUGE cormorant (on a log behind my campsite later).

The riverbanks were steep and too dangerous for me to takeout on, what with my bad shoulder and paddling solo...I had a change of clothes with me but the what if thing kept popping into my head...what if something happened? I was alone so I was cautious. I paddled out for about 3 hours and back paddled for less than an hour it seemed�I paddled back with the current.

By the way, you can paddle either way easily here. I chose to paddle leisurely out and worked out by paddling feverishly on the way back. If you need a restroom while on this river you better have friends with you to help you take out and put back in..I took out closer to the bridge but still not far from site#120. You just need to stay to the left and take out on the flat rock area BEFORE the bridge. Don't venture any further unless you want to take on the Falls and whitewater beyond the bridge!

You can alternatively take out by keeping to the far right and paddling just under the bridge to the launch area (where you park to view the Falls).You may wish to enlist the help of a shuttle service through Thorncrest Outfitters to do different sections of the river.

By the way, I had the river ALL to myself! I will be going back sometime in September when the birch trees turn a golden yellow! The river's edge is lined with birches and pine trees! It'll be an awesome sight for sure!

If you wish to see all my shots from my trip go to my webshots and click on Sauble Falls Provincial park 2006 album.



The park has 152 campsites divided into 2 campgrounds-east and west. I camped at #129 in the east campground as it was backing onto the river.
Showers are provided in each campground-there is a laundry area in the west campground I believe.
A playground is available for the hildren.
Kayak and canoe rentals are available.
Firewood may be purchased at the Country store just outside the park on road 13 near the bridge.
Campsites are spacious and well-groomed. The surrounding forest was full of trilliums to look at and photograph but not to pick!
Hookups/electricity are available if you need them.
There are many cottages and cabins you can rent in the area which likely require advance booking.
Bed and breakfasts and motels are available for those of you who want a more comfy sleeping arrangement.


Dagger Blackwater 10.5 and Boreal Designs paddle


Aside from camping fees you have to pay a fee to park your car at the Falls to putin/takeout your canoe/kayak.
Fishing licenses are required also.


You need to drive down highway 21 north to Bruce County Road 13 and turn left onto Sauble Beach(Falls) parkway. Once you get closer to the park there will be signs indicating where the Provincial park is located. When you turn onto the parkway the entrance to the park is immediately to your right - I missed it the first time as the main sign was hidden with tree branches...


An Ontario map can be picked up at any tourist bureau free of charge.
I also have a good book on several Ontario rivers: "A Paddlers Guide to Weekend Wilderness Adventures in Southern Ontario" by Kevin Callan (a Boston Mills Press book - www.bostonmillspress.com)

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip