Mississagua River Route

Route description submitted By:

General Info

Difficulty Ratings

Distance: 21 km
Duration : 2 days
Loop Trip : no
River Travel : intermediate
Lake Travel : not applicable
Portaging : Easy
Remoteness : novice

Portage Info

Maps Required

No. of Portages : 15
Total Length: 1773 m
Average Length: 118 m
Longest Portage : 360 m

Handicapped Accessibility

GPX Data for this Route

SuitabilitySuitability : unknown

no gpx data found

Route Description

Hwy 36, N on Hwy 507, Right on Mississauga Dam Rd, Right at Stop sign and access the river at the Iron Bridge. Leave the other car where the river goes under Hwy 36.

South on Mississagua River, including portages of:

Finish at Hwy 36 where the river enters Lower Buckhorn Lake

General Comments

A swift descent from Lake Mississauga to Lower Buckhorn Lake in the Kawarthas.

You start at the dam at the south end of Mississauga Lake and simply follow the very scenic and varied terrain of the river south to Buckhorn.

There are many rapids and a couple of short scenic falls encountered on the trip. One favourite has to be the chute which is a treacherous rapid falling between two steeply sloping rock embankments. The piece de la resistance being the broken canoe upended in warning midway down the rapid.

The trip can be taken in one day. Aluminum canoes or kayaks are recommended.

All portages are short and well travelled. The river is easily accessible, it is within cell phone range, yet one feels most remote. There is ample opportunity to stop for a comfortable shore lunch.

The trip can end at either the bridge at Highway 36 or on can travel through some quiet marsh lands into the heart of cottage country and end up in Buckhorn at the foot of the locks.

Roland Rom Colthoff

Notes on the Portages;
Many rapids can be run / waded / lined however there are a few mandatory portages around falls and one around an old dam. The need to portage is highly dependent on water levels. We portaged at PL90, PL80, PR50, PR358, PL216, PL 180 for a total of 974m - however that leaves a lot of paint of rocks at lower water levels.

Eran Andrechek

Trip Log / Diary

Trip Log - May 5, 2001

To access the river we chose to put-in at the iron bridge just south of Mississauga Lake. From Hwy 507, you go right on Mississauga Dam Rd and at the stop sign you hang a right (go straight to start at the dam), there is a spot for a car just before the bridge. From that point to the
take out where Hwy 36 crosses the river, there are 15 designated portages over the 21 km route. However, the longest is under 400m (and can be broken into two sections and all portages are clearly marked and are well used. And since the water was low when we went, most of the
portages should have been used. After an abnormally hot (30 degrees)two weeks, there are even fire bans in areas - in May!

After completing the two portages immediately after the iron bridge we decided to line/ wade / run as much as possible - even if it meant that we would leave some green paint behind. From that point on we only portaged the really big drops - the next 80 m portage, a few portages
around the designated campsites, the 216 m portage after that and Scott`s dam. The rest of the rapids were decorated with paint to varying degrees - but we will be back to run this in high water, during spring runoff this would be an incredible route. The rapids often occur when the river is forced between the steep walls of granite that form chutes to run down making for a very picturesque rapids. We stopped for lunch at the second campsite at the end of the 350m portage, where the campsite looks over the tumbling water of a falls and a small gorge.

Swatting at the blackflies (it is the start of May - where did these guys come from?), we stretched out in the sun and wished we were staying at the campsite overnight. After paddling the next slow section of the river, there were numerous small rapids in succession where the walls of granite pressed in again. This river was far more scenic than anything else we`ve paddled this season, there are lots of waterfalls and steep chutes to start rapids - I was wishing for more film and more time. Six hours after starting we were finished the river, but for a lazy weekend the campsites at the falls and the gorge would have been perfect.

The only wild life we saw were the schools of suckers lurking in the pools after the initial 3 portages. From the 80m portage to the next little drop (no portage, just some rocks to scrape) we saw huge schools of the fish in the deep water as the sun tried to penetrate. The warm sun and the shallow river actually made the water quite warm - so much so that when slipping in waist deep while wading was not cold but more like swimming temperatures!

To hit the river at high water levels, run it when Hwy 7 rivers are cresting as posted on;


We`ll be there next year - look for the Red Nova Craft Prospector during high water...

Eran Andrechek

Photo Gallery

Canyon on the Mississauga.

(Photo Credit : Eran Andrechek)

Falls on the Mississauga.

(Photo Credit : Eran Andrechek)

More wading ....

(Photo Credit : Eran Andrechek)

A new collection of scratches!.

(Photo Credit : Eran Andrechek)

User Submitted Information


Submitted by:  Ed Nelligan         on 0000-00-00

Note from a local cottager... It might be safer to leave your car at the Mississaugua Dam. There is more traffic there and less chance of vandalism/theft. Also, if you put-in at the dam, it provides you with a 2 km warm up paddle to the first set of rapids (which is at the iron bridge). For those who wish more security for their vehicles, you can park at Trapper's Inn (small fee) on the south side of the lake a couple of kilometers north along 507 past the Mississaugua Dam Road. Its about 2 km to the dam from Trappers across the southern portion of Mississaugua Lake and is almost always calm in the early hours. Happy paddling! Ed

Submitted by:  Evan Pinther         on 0000-00-00

We kayaked river in sit-on-top kayaks. Beautiful, exciting trip and my son only portaged 3 times! It was a blast!

Submitted by:  Jeremy McCammon         on 0000-00-00

We went out last year just around the ice going out (April) and water levels were extremely low. I know the levels are controlled by the dam....is there any way to predict the water levels or a number to call to inquire about levels?

Submitted by:  Justin Boutin         on 0000-00-00

Did this trip in the summer of 2004. This trip has the feel of being very remote. Did not encounter any campers on the entire trip. Some of the camp sites are beautiful. Fishing was great along the river. Mostly smallies. In some places was hard not to catch a fish with every cast. Not much size but lots of fun. Bring along a few small spinners and maybe soft plastics and thats all you need.

Submitted by:  Peter Hillman         on 0000-00-00

Love this river so much ,it got my original wedding ring.(not by choice)If found, please contact me or I'll have to keep going back.

Submitted by:  allan bunn         on 2009-01-03

ive done this river numerous times. i find the level/flow is dependent on the weather, if we are in a very dry period the river is swift as they let more water out for the trent system. i also get out now after the old dam. when you see that walking bridge there is public parking there, saves about 40 minutes of paddling through flat water. enjoy!!

Submitted by:  JEANNIEARNOLD23         on 2012-04-22

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Submitted by:  Pat         on 2009-09-04

I just bought a cottage on Lower Buckhorn and am an avid white-water kayaker and photographer. I'm looking forward to paddling this river and would welcome any suggestions re: water levels, best time of year, etc. What is Sept like - too late?? Thanks

Submitted by:  Eric Chaplin         on 2008-04-21

I know the feeling lol so far this river has claimed my hat, my watch, and I wouldnt mind losing myself here again and again

Submitted by:  hELOIXX         on 2012-04-09

ive done this river numerous times. i find the level/flow is dependent on the weather, if we are in a very dry period the river is swift as they let more water out for the trent system. i also get out now after the old dam. when you see that walking bridge there is public parking there, saves about 40 minutes of paddling through flat water. enjoy!! forfait mobile - forfait sans engagement secret story - Video drole

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