Clyde River, Ontario

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Additional Route Information
40 km
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
0 m
Longest Portage: 
0 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
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Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

Several put-ins and take-out along roads. Partly farm-side, partly wild.

Technical Guide: 

The Clyde River is the largest tributary of the Mississippi River. Canoeing the Clyde can be an exciting whitewater experience, or a leisurely paddle depending on your desire. Whitewater opportunities are limited to a short time frame in periods of highwater. This river is not maintained as a canoe route. There are no poratages or campsites, but you must portage at the Craig Chute.

NTS Maps
Clyde Forks 31F/2
Carleton Place 31F/1

Route Description
The Clyde River Runs 40 kilometers from Clyde Lake to The Mississippi River near the Village of Lanark. For canoeing purposes it can be divided up into three sections.

Clyde Lake to Highway 511. Approximaltely 15 km. This is a very pretty section of river. There are numerouse drops in water elevation that are characterised as short swifts. There is one exception at Craig Chute, a big ledge that is unpassable by canoe. Famililerize yourself with this location and be prepared to bypass this falls.

Brightside to Wolf Grove Road. Approximatley 9 km. This the popular reach of the river for Class one and two rapids.The fast water begins almost immediatley, and is followed by half a dozen rapid sections. The majority of them lay between Brightside and the Hamlet of Cederdale. After Cedar dale the river smooths out before one final rapid befor the Wolf Grove Road Bridge.

Wolf Grove Road to Lanark Village. Approximaley 14 km. This section is largley un traveled as part of the river adventure and we have little detail. There are three more rapid section followed by Kerr Lake as the river slows it decent in to the village.



Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
Clyde Forks 31F/2 Carleton Place 31F/1
Special Comments: 

Submitted by tOM Trottier - will post a diary later

GPS Tracks
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Post date: Mon, 08/10/2020 - 07:48


Paddled from Clyde Forks (K&P trail crossing) to Lanark over two days, August 8-9th 2020. Water was low so most rapids had to be lined/waded.  Only real portages were at the old dam at the mouth of Joe's Lake, Craigs chute and a couple small falls. Also several beaver dam lift overs. A very diverse and beautiful river.  Loads of wildlife, beavers, otters, deer, turtles and herons. Not a lot of good camping spots though.  A couple nice ones after the rapids past Cedardale. Other then a few cottagers we didn't see any other paddlers.  

Post date: Sun, 09/29/2013 - 19:58


Great day trip from Ottawa.
Left at 8 am and were back home by 6:30.

Stopped in Almonte for some treats at Baker bob's and left one car at the French Line Bridge.

Put in at the SW corner of Joe's Lake / Clyde River, through Clyde forks and were the road meets the old railway bed @ 11:00.

First section of river and lake were most scenic of the day. About 90 minutes from the put in to get through the marsh and across Joe's Lake.

Short lunch and 30 minutes later underway. Warning, even after a wet and cool summer, the first section of river was too shallow by mid September - as were many other sections. The dry Clyde Chute being the most challenging with the canoe!

Reached the French Line Bridge about 4:30, 5.5 hrs after put in with very little rest in between. Shuttle back to teh first car, loaded up and on our way at 5:30, back in Ottawa shortly after 6:30.

Great day trip. Highly recommended.

Post date: Wed, 05/01/2013 - 23:37


The Clyde has long mellow bits, but they are joined by rapids and swifts. Depending on water level, these are either really shallow and rocky (not Kevlar-friendly) or exciting whitewater up to class 2. At higher water, while most of the rapids aren't too tricky for experienced WW paddlers, plastic boats are recommended as the rapids are mostly difficult to line or carry. There are trees in the river in numerous places that could be a real safety hazard for inexperienced whitewater paddlers: I recommend going with more experienced boaters in springtime. Typical whitewater season on the Clyde is April 20 to May 15th, but varies by year.

Post date: Sun, 01/13/2013 - 10:00


Is it recommended in spring mostly is there a lot that can scratch and ding things up? I have a kevlar canoe - recommended or is it better to do something more plastic like? I'm just down in CP and interested in finding some fun areas to play on.

Post date: Thu, 03/01/2012 - 02:34


I've paddled all sections of the Clyde from Flower Station to the Mississippi, including running Craig's chute. The upper requires high water and is tiny and pretty overgrown. Joe lake to Brightside is mostly flat besides Craig's. Wolf Grove to the Mississippi is interesting-- mostly flat to start, but rapids at Herron's Mills (carry) Drummond's (tricky last drop) and downstream of the Lanark dam. Very pretty from Lanark dam to the Mississippi but watch out for wood.