Monday, September 11, 2023

Lazy river down the Big East in Muskoka

It's fun to kayak downstream when you are on the Big East River, the current does a lot of the work and you pass beautiful, sandy beaches and clean, tea-coloured water flowing out of Algonquin Park, winding through the forests of Muskoka near Huntsville, Ontario. 

The Big Bend in Arrowhead Provincial Park

We stay a few days and split the journey into two sections. Upstream from Arrowhead Provincial Park - putting in at the Williamsport Bridge where there is a small parking area and a trail down to the river. Then travelling down the river to Highway 11 passing by Arrowhead Provincial Park, and the Big Bend, at the halfway point. You really need two vehicles; One you can leave upstream and one you can load the kayaks in when you get downstream.

Pulling over to enjoy the sandy beaches
A cut off former Oxbow Lake remains as a sandy trail through the forest

The river follows the path of least resistance and changes the landscape over time. Sometimes the route of the river changes as the water charges against sand and rock, then breaches the banks and finds a new path. You see this a lot on this river. The top half has more of a drop then the bottom half, especially when it crosses Highway 11 and heads into a marshy, flatter and wider area.

Stubbs Falls

The creek running from Stubbs Falls into the Big East River

Not to far upstream of Highway 11 is a smaller tributary leading to Stubbs Falls, a pretty little waterfall, which you can also access from Arrowhead Park.

The second day we start at Highway 11 and kayak down the tributary until you hit the Muskoka River, then take a hard right and cross the large open water, ending at Hutcheson Park where we left the other vehicle in the downstream leg.

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