7 Awe-Inspiring Places to Paddle Near Timmins

Easy day trips and weekend routes are just a short drive away.

If your idea of the perfect paddling getaway is combining the comforts and convenience of a small, friendly city with a plethora of pristine canoeing and kayaking routes just minutes away, Timmins is worth a closer look. The city is surrounded by lakes, rivers, forests, and wilderness, with the lovely Mattagami River offering a peaceful escape right in town.

Whether you are looking to get on the water for a few hours or a weekend adventure, Timmins’ friendly outfitters will help you discover the region’s best paddling routes and little-known gems.

Journey down the historic and wild Mattagami River | Photo: Lacey Rigg

Mattagami River

Meaning “meeting of the waters” in Ojibway, the Mattagami River originates at Ontario’s height of land, which separates those waterways that drain into the Great Lakes from those that flow north to the Arctic watershed. The Mattagami is a historic waterway that has served as an important transportation route for thousands of years—first by indigenous people and later by fur traders, loggers, and prospectors. Today, the river is a legendary canoe route that flows some 440 km north from Lake Minisinakwa to join the Missinaibi River, ultimately emptying into the salty waters of James Bay.

Allow four to five days for the 110-km trip from Gogama to Timmins on the Upper Mattagami, or eight days to extend your trip downriver to Smooth Rock Falls (225 km). For more casual paddlers, the Mattagami offers many shorter options, ranging from a couple of hours to a full day.

  • Book a Guided Tour with Timmins Adventure Tours; they offer easy half- and full-day canoe or kayak trips on the Upper Mattagami River, with departures from their riverside location in central Timmins.
  • Reserve an Overnight Stay at Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa, nestled on 70 peaceful riverside hectares just four kilometres from downtown Timmins. Guests enjoy comfortable accommodations in spacious suites or cozy chalets, an onsite restaurant and a relaxing day spa with Nordic baths.
  • Don’t Miss the tractor-drawn wagon tour of Cedar Meadows Resort & Spa’s 40-hectare wildlife park, complete with friendly bison, elk, and fallow deer.

Mountjoy River

Offering a more intimate day trip within Timmins city limits, the meandering Mountjoy River boasts forested, largely undeveloped shorelines, trout fishing (when in season) and a good chance of spotting wildlife. Plan an out-and-back trip, or use a local outfitter to shuttle your vehicle for a one-way paddle.

  • Book a Guided or Self-Guided Tour with Timmins Adventure Tours; they offer easy half- and full-day canoe or kayak trips on the Mountjoy and can set you up for a day of exciting trout fishing.
  • Where to Eat: Top off your adventure with a pint of craft beer and tasty pub fare at local brewery, Full Beard Brewing Co.
Group on kayakers paddling
Set out from WildExodus and explore the shores of Kenogamissi Lake | Photo: Destination Ontario

Kenogamissi Lake

Less than 30 minutes south of Timmins, Kenogamissi Lake is a favourite summer destination with plenty for paddlers to explore. Surrounded by boreal forest, the lake is actually a reservoir created by the damming of the Mattagami River at Wawaitin Falls. Much of the shoreline remains wild, with a few comfortable outposts offering paddlers enticing options for an overnight stay.

  • Book a Guided Kayak Trip with Timmins Adventure Tours; their two-day Kenogamissi Dam Tour travels by sea kayak from the upper lake to the outfitter’s riverside base in Timmins via the Mattagami River. En route, you’ll camp at a paddle-in site on Kenogamissi Lake, complete with rejuvenating sauna.
  • Reserve an Adventure Package with WildExodus; this premier eco tour and accommodation provider is nestled on Kenogamissi Lake at Wawaitin Falls. Wild Exodus specializes in a range of outdoor adventure holiday packages, including delicious local eats and glamping in luxurious canvas tents. They’ll also set you up for a day of self-guided canoeing or kayaking on the lake.
  • Book a Cabin or Campsite at The Cache Campground to experience a traditional, family-friendly camping experience on Kenogamissi Lake.

Grassy River

The highlight of this lovely river paddle is High Falls, a cascading series of swirling rapids and waterfalls with a total drop of 40 metres. Most day-trippers begin their paddle just below the lower falls; leave your canoe or kayak here and take the short trail upriver to view the upper cataracts. This is an especially impressive sight in early summer, when water levels are higher. From the falls, paddlers can continue 12 km down the meandering and, at times, swift-flowing river to a take-out at Dalton Road bridge for an easy and scenic half-day adventure. For a full day on the water, continue on to the Grassy River’s confluence with the Mattagami River and paddle right into the city.

Looking for an even longer trip? The entire 90-km Grassy River canoe route can be paddled in about 5-6 days from Upper Grassy Lake.

  • Book a Self-Guided Tour with Timmins Adventure Tours; they offer easy half- and full-day canoe or kayak trips down the Grassy River, including a shuttle to High Falls.
  • Reserve an Overnight Glamping Stay with WildExodus; their award-winning packages can include transportation and equipment for self-guided excursions on the Grassy or nearby Tatachikapika rivers.
  • Don’t Miss lingering at High Falls, an easy 1.5-km loop trail takes in the full splendour of this beautiful spot.
  • Where to Eat Sample the mouthwatering menu and delicious, freshly baked treats at Radical Gardens. This award-winning, farm-to-table restaurant and specialty bakery serves up an ever-changing selection of seasonal and local delights.

Peterlong Lake

This sprawling lake is found along the Grassy River, about 40 km south of Timmins. The lake’s many islands, arms and inlets—combined with an abundance of scenic places for canoeists and kayakers to camp—make it one of the region’s best lake paddling destinations. Even better, the shoreline is largely untouched, beautiful boreal forest grows right to the water’s edge. With over 25 km of navigable lake water, Peterlong can be a destination in its own right, or the starting point for a trip down the Grassy River to Timmins or upstream to Kapiskong, Sinclair and Loonwing lakes.

  • Arrange a Shuttle with WildExodus, then treat yourself to a post-trip glamping or cabin stay on Kenogamissi Lake.
front of a canoe
Trust us—Mud Lake is much prettier than its name might suggest. | Photo: Ontario Parks

Kettle Lakes Provincial Park

Named for the 22 spring-fed, glacially formed lakes nestled among jack pine forest, lovely Kettle Lakes Provincial Park is a local favourite just 40 minutes east of the city. The park offers canoe, kayak, and standup paddleboard rentals; two vehicle campgrounds with spacious sites; and two family-friendly beach areas to enjoy the clear water. Many of the park’s small lakes are stocked with brook and rainbow trout, and canoe and kayak anglers can also cast for northern pike and yellow perch.

  • Reserve a Campsite at the park’s Island Lake or The Pines campgrounds. Both camping areas accommodate vehicles, tents, and RVs.
  • Rent Kayaks, Canoes or SUPs at the park store and choose from seven peaceful lakes with easy paddle access.
  • Don’t Miss exploring the park’s four short hiking trails and 14 km of bicycling trails. Bike rentals are available at the park store.

Dana-Jowsey Lakes

Situated 30 km west of Timmins off Highway 101, this non-operating provincial park rewards independent canoeists and kayakers with a pair of pristine, quiet lakes cradled in mixed boreal forest. The shoreline of Dana Lake is distinguished by several mature stands of good-sized red and white pine. A smattering of islands and protected bays make for an enjoyable day paddle or relaxing overnight.

  • Don’t Miss two short and scenic hikes in the nearby cottage community of Star Lake. First, explore the peaceful forest loops of Nickie’s Nature Trail, and then scramble up Archie’s Rock (if you dare)—an unlikely jumble of glacially deposited boulders rising above the surrounding forest. Learn more about local conservation efforts, or join a guided hike, with the Wintergreen Fund for Conservation.
  • Where to Eat: Back in Timmins, satisfy your post-paddle cravings with a fresh burger and deep-fried pickles or perogies at New Burger Planet—the brilliant red building and giant cheeseburger are hard to miss!

Where to Rent Canoes & Kayaks in Timmins

Located in the heart of Timmins, right on the Mattagami River, offering rentals and sales of kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards and mountain bikes. They also offer kayak lessons, guided tours, shuttles, and packages on the Mountjoy, Mattagami and Grassy rivers and Kenogamissi Lake.

  • Wild Exodus
    7001 Dalton Road, Timmins
    705-266-0960 or 705-365-7707

Situated on Kenogamissi Lake, 30 minutes southwest of Timmins, Wild Exodus Travel offers complete vacation packages that include locally produced meals, comfortable glamping and cabin accommodations, and unique outdoor experiences. Guests can also rent canoes and kayaks and arrange shuttle services.

Onsite rentals of kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards, and mountain bikes are available at the park store.

Discover Timmins’ exceptional kayaking and canoeing routes

Base yourself in Timmins for easy access to Northeastern Ontario’s varied and beautiful paddling routes. Explore the urban paddling scene, take a short drive to experience fantastic overnight destinations, or venture into pristine wilderness on the region’s numerous multi-day canoe routes. Whether you are seeking solitude on a serene lake or looking for a more challenging river journey, Timmins offers something for paddlers of every appetite and skill level.

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About Virginia Marshall

Virginia Marshall is a freelance outdoor adventure writer, photographer and editor with roots in Muskoka and Lake Superior. Read her work in Adventure Kayak, Canoeroots, Rapid, Paddling Magazine and Backroad Mapbooks.

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