Rideau River Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Rideau River Provincial Park is located just south of Ottawa on the historic Rideau Waterway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As such, it is a popular spot for its water-based recreational activities, including boating, canoeing and fishing. It also offers a single hiking trail along the shoreline that provides great opportunities to view the river and explore the park.

After spending the morning hiking through Burnt Lands Provincial Park, we arrived at Rideau River just after 10:30a.m. We checked in at the Registration Office to pick up an information guide of the park and park patch.

We then went to hike along the Shoreline Trail (2.7km, rated easy), which passes through the park’s campgrounds, day-use areas, beaches and forests. It is an out and back trail and there are a few access points to get to the trail. We parked at one end (or start) of the trail on the western side of the park and hiked east towards the other end.

The trail is relatively flat, well-signed with blue markers and follows along the shore of the Rideau River.

The Rideau River offers a lot of opportunities for paddlers to explore with many points of interest in and around the park. It is 146 kilometres in length and flows north from Upper Rideau Lake and empties into the Ottawa River at Rideau Falls in Ottawa. The river was named by Samuel de Champlain, a French colonist and important figure in Canadian history, who was the first European to have seen it. He gave it the name Rideau” (which is the French word for curtain) because the Rideau Falls resembles a curtain.

The trail passes through the entire campground. Rideau River offers around 200 campsites, which are spread out in a series of loops through the forest. The trail then leads down to the boat launch, two beach areas and picnic area. We initially planned to go swimming afterwards, but the shoreline looked far too marshy for our liking.

The trail ends at the group camping area, which is also located along the shoreline. As with many parks this summer, group camping was still closed this year due to COVID. We turned around and walked back the way we came. We then drove to the picnic area to make and eat some lunch before heading back out on the road.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

38 thoughts on “Rideau River Provincial Park

  1. Rose says:

    Thanks for this information. Another thing I’d love to do is to visit all the North American UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’ve done a little reading on the Rideau Canal, it’s the only canal dating from the early 19th century to remain operational along its original line with most of its structures intact. It’s interesting to see the river from this viewpoint.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      What a great goal! I’ve been thinking about ideas for our next challenge for 2022 and maybe I’ll do something similar, but focus on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada. The Rideau Canal certainly has an interesting history. In the winter, part of it freezes over through downtown Ottawa and it transforms into the world’s largest skating rink.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I usually enjoy trails that weave through a marshy area, so the hike itself was quite pleasant. The swimming area not so much. Thankfully the next park we visited had a much better beach and we were able to go for a proper swim.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to take a stroll along the shoreline. And yes, glad to add another badge to my collection. Most of the parks that we visited in August and September were sold out of them. Looks like I have some competition as they’ve become quite popular to collect!

  2. Lookoom says:

    The Rideau Canal is itself a part of Canadian history, but without going that far it’s a great place to spend a day or two in the summer. Thanks for drawing attention to the park and its trail.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. The Rideau Canal was an amazing achievement. Apparently it is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America. It also transforms into the world’s largest skating rink in the winter. While there aren’t too many activities at Rideau River Provincial Park, it’s only about a 35 minute drive from Ottawa, so there are lots of opportunities for adventure in the surrounding area.

  3. Ab says:

    This looks like quite a lovely park and love the water activity opportunities!

    I was struck that this was your second park visit at 10:30 am! We’re usually just getting ready to head out at that time. 😆

    Have you and K ever thought of applying for Amazing Race Canada when it comes back? You’d do so awesome at it!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It helps that the two parks are located nearby. But yah, we’re typically early risers and try to get an early start to the day to beat the crowds (and the heat).

      I would love to do something like the Amazing Race. That would be the ultimate test in friendship or marriage! I’m not so much a fan of the idea of appearing on tv though. But thanks for the vote of confidence.

      And hey, it’s finally Fri-Yay! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and trip to the Blue Mountains!

      • Ab says:

        Thank you Linda. I just saw this comment. The weekend sure just flew by. Hope you had a nice one too with your visitors.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks! The Thanksgiving long weekend was not long enough. I’m so thankful that we had such gorgeous weather. If it weren’t for the leaves changing colour I would have thought that it was still summer. Hope you enjoyed your time in the Blue Mountains and that you also had nice weather.

      • Ab says:

        Glad to hear you had a nice weekend. It just flew by and I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday. Monday was lovely and we spent it at the Bluffs. There were people swimming in the water. I do hope it’s not the last we’ve had of summer weather but I know these days are becoming rarer and rarer.

        Hope your family dinner went well!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The weather on Monday was gorgeous! That’s pretty incredible that people were swimming in the water even though it’s October. I bet the Bluffs were really pretty with all the leaves changing colour. Unfortunately it looks like it’s only going to get colder according to the weather forecast.

      • Ab says:

        This weekend looks a little miserable but I’m still hanging on hope we’ll get another blast of summer weather. 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I just checked the weather forecast for the cabin this weekend and it’s not looking promising. There’s a special weather advisory about how heavy rainfall is expected through Saturday with amounts reaching 20-40mm. Yikes.

      • Ab says:

        Oh yikes. 40 mm rain is not fun. You’ll need a canoe or kayak for that. 😂 Might wanna marathon a good horror movie instead!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        It’s funny that you say that. We ended up staying home last night, got into the Halloween candy, and watched the Bone Collector on Netflix. We’ll probably postpone going to the cabin until next weekend perhaps.

      • Ab says:

        Are you postponing your trip cuz of the horror movie you watched or the rain? 😆😂 You should watch Cabin in the Woods. That’s a good one before a cabin trip!

        Whatever you ended up doing today, hope it was a relaxing one!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Ha, maybe a bit of both, but mostly the rain. Fingers crossed we have much nicer weather this weekend. It does feel like it’s getting cooler though.

        P.S. Cabin the Woods is a great movie. I should definitely re-watch it this month. Sigourney Weaver is fantastic!

      • Ab says:

        I made the mistake of doing daycare pickup in shorts and flip flops today. Was in such a rush. Nearly froze to death. Definitely not flip flops weather anymore. At least this weekend is looking like a dry one! 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I actually just turned my furnace on yesterday. I was freezing inside my house so I can only imagine how much colder it would have been outside … and in shorts and flip flops!! Fingers crossed the weather forecast stays that way.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always neat to learn more about how something or someplace is named. Now that I’ve learned a bit of history of the Rideau River, I’d love to return to Ottawa to check out the Rideau Canal and Rideau Falls.

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Looks like a beautiful park to explore, Linda! I would love to grab one of those shiny canoes resting on the rack and go for a spin on the lake! And I have to say, it’s amazing how much you can accomplish seeing and doing in one day if you start early! Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Canoeing along the Rideau River seems like an excellent way to explore the park. Even though the trail winds along the shoreline, there’s just something different about seeing the water when you’re out on the water. We’re early risers and I love to hit the trails first thing in the morning. It’s just so much nicer not having to worry about parking or other people on the trail. I just always feel much more productive too. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Taking a stroll along the Shoreline Trail was such a nice way to explore the main attractions of the park, including the Rideau River, campgrounds, beaches and picnic areas. While I don’t think we’d ever camp here, it was nice to explore a new park.

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