How To Explore from Burk’s Falls to Magnetawan & Ahmic Lake…
Here’s everything you need to know to plan a Magnetawan River Ontario Sea Doo Tour. This Sea Doo, jet ski and Waverunner personal watercraft adventure is a self-guided, day ride in the Ontario tourism region known as Explorer’s Edge. It starts at Burk’s Falls, where I parked my Triton Trailer and launched my Sea-Doo GTX S 155. The town’s located about three hours north of the Greater Toronto Area on Highway 11 at exit 257 on the Magnetawan River, and will soon make my top 10 list of Ontario day rides and best river rides.
Magnetawan River Ontario: Location
The Magnetawan River flows about 175 kilometres from its headwaters in Algonquin Park, emptying into Georgian Bay at Britt on Byng Inlet. Known for its white water paddling, the Magnetawan River waterway has numerous rapids and a couple of dams, but is navigable by PWC from Burk’s Fall to Ahmic Harbour (positioned at the Magnetawan River waterway’s midpoint), a one-way distance of about 65 kilometres. Interestingly, this is over 20 klicks longer than going by road on Highway 520 because if you look at a map, you’ll see that the Magnetawan River meanders along like a piece of string lying on the floor after the cat’s finished playing with it.
Magnetawan River Ontario: Characteristics
But it’s the Magnetawan’s twisty-turny course that makes it so much fun to ride. That and its narrow width much of the way make for a memorable river ride experience. Water depth isn’t a concern either, because this section was well dredged in yesteryear to accommodate the small steamships that carried passengers and mail, so we never spotted any shallows on main channel of the river itself.
Magnetawan River Ontario: Lakes
There are a few cottages on its shores, but lots of wilderness too. Along the way, the Magnetawan River widens into Lake Cecebe (or is that Cecebe Lake?) and Ahmic Lake, separated at the Town of Magnetawan by a dam, but connected by a good size lock for boats and personal watercraft (see How to Go Through Locks). There are public boat launches both above and below the locks (see How To Launch Safely). Same goes for public docks where you can moor and walk the few yards into town.
You’ll know Magnetawan is close when you spot the Cecebe Lake Lighthouse soon after passing the cliffs of Echo Rock on your port side. Originally built to guide boat traffic, it’s now an historical structure sitting in mid channel. And just east of Lake Ceceba, don’t miss Goose Lake…an ideal jet ski playground accessed from the Magnetawan River.
If you’re looking to make a PWC riding weekend of it, I recommend one day on the Magnetawan River and a second day riding Vernon, Fairy and Peninsula Lakes out of nearby Huntsville, staying overnight in that town.
Burk’s Fall Services
None on the water, but fuel in town and Tim Horton’s at Exit 257.
Magnetawan Grill & Grocery, Ice Cream and Burger Stand (access both from nearby public docks), fuel at Ahmic Marine.
Ahmic Lake Services
Riders should reconfirm the Sea Doo tours routes and services mentioned in this article as they may have changed since publication. Any map is for reference only and any marked lines or locations are not intended as an exact or accurate depiction of positions.