Explore Peterborough & Kawarthas Ontario By River & Lake…
This self guided Trent River to Otonabee River Sea Doo Tour via Rice Lake is one of many exciting Ontario, Canada jet ski adventures I’ve discovered. My wife and I acquired a Triton Elite WCII watercraft trailer, so we could easily access Ontario riding destinations other than our own cottage lake from my Sea-Doo dealer, Gateway Powersports & Marine. Most are also close to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). So why stay in one place all summer? Get out there and live a little on your Sea Doo, Jet Ski or Waverunner personal watercraft for a PWC tour!
Getting Started Your Trent & Otonabee River Sea Doo Tour…
To get you started, all you need is a couple of current (read: fuel efficient) Sea-Doo watercraft like my GXT S 155, a tow vehicle and trailer, a well-honed sense of adventure, and a destination. You don’t even need charts – just download an area tourism map so you can orient yourself to the general layout of each waterway. My Sea-Doo watercraft have an internal compass as part of their standard gauge package, but if your PWC does not, then I suggest carrying a waterproof one in your pocket. Alternatively, grab a GPS unit, load up the appropriate charts, and you’re good to go.
View Rice Lake, Trent & Otonabee Rivers in a larger map
Trent & Otonabee River PWC Tips…
This flexible distance day trip provides easily navigable waters, adequate depths, regular marker buoys, active local populations who flag errant rocks, and available services and amenities, but take note that on windy days, Rice Lake can be challenging. Also, this trip is good for busy weekends because there’s only one potential delay at one lock on each of the two options described. Being relatively well protected, the Otonabee River is also great for a fall colours tour.
Trent & Otonabee River Jet Ski Launch Access…
You can access this part of the Trent Severn Waterway easily from the public launch beside BJ Marina in Bewdley located at the western end of Rice Lake (already limited street parking at Bewdley can be at a premium during any fishing derby), or try the launches at Bewdley Cottage Resort or Captain’s Marina. If you live father east of the GTA, put in from the public launch at Hastings Village Marina, which has lots of free parking. There’s also a good public launch at the foot of Mark Street on Little Lake in Peterborough, again withy plenty of free parking next door at Rogers Cove Park. Either way, this ride offers several options, which can also be combined into one longer ride if you’re up to it. I’ll describe it here launching from Bewdley.
Trent & Otonabee River: Bewdley to Healy Falls, Ontario…
The first option is to cruise the south shore of Rice Lake eastbound as it narrows going into Hastings, then either return along the north shore or go through the Hastings lock and follow the Trent River to the flight locks at Healy Falls and back. If you go through to Healy Falls, be sure to stop for lunch and gas at Terrace Lawn Cottages & Marina, located on the south side just before the Trent River Bridge. For lunch at Hastings, tie up at the marina and walk a few hundred yards to Banjo’s Grill (note: no gas at Hastings). To avoid weeds, don’t cruise too close to the shore and avoid the back bays of Rice Lake. Gas also available at Twin Cedars Marina on Rice Lake.
Trent & Otonabee River: Bewdley to Peterborough, Ontario…
The second option is to travel eastbound from Bewdley, straight down the centre of Rice Lake, staying between the islands until you spot the large channel buoy and marker T433 at the mouth of the Otonabee River, then steer to your port side into that meandering waterway. With this option, the contrast between lake and river is amazing. And the Otonabee is usually like glass for the 30 km to Peterborough! There are a few weedy back bays and false channels to avoid, but if in doubt as to the main thoroughfare, take a minute and you’ll spot the next marker to show the way.
For all that the Otonabee cuts through the middle of some prime farm country, you’d never know it for most of this ride. While a few clumps of cottages sprinkle some areas, for the most part this river’s forested shores make you think you’ve disappeared into the wilderness.
Trent & Otonabee River: At Peterborough, Ontario…
Once you pass under the Highway 7 overpass (3rd bridge), there’s a speed control zone for a couple of klicks into the Scotts Mills lock at Peterborough. After locking through and before the next lock, to the port you’ll soon spot a geyser-like fountain. This is Little Lake, the City of Peterborough’s main waterfront, offering both fuel at the public marina and a dockside restaurant at the Holiday Inn. A neat sidetrip from Little Lake is to cruise through the next lock (Ashburnham) and take the massive Peterborough Lift Lock to the top of its elevation just to take in the spectacular view (stay in the lock to make the return trip to go back to Little Lake). If you carry your own snacks as we often do, you don’t even have to go through the Scotts Mills lock, just gas up at Bensfort Bridge Resort (located at the 1st bridge as you cruise north on the Otonabee).
Trent & Otonabee River Sea-Doo Tour Info – #ontariowaterways
- Round Trip Distance – about 150 km (110 miles)
- Highway Access From the GTA: 107 km; 401 east to Exit 464, then County Road 28 north to Bewdley
- Water body(s): Rice Lake, Otonabee River, Trent River
- Launch(s): public with parking on main street of Bewdley ($5 township fee payable at BJ Marina, next door to launch)
- Lunch: Rhino’s Roadhouse, Bewdley; Little Lake Marina, Peterborough; Terrace Lawn Cottages & Marina, Trent River
- Fuel: Heartland Marina, Bewdley; Twin Cedars Marina, Rice Lake; Bensfort Bridge Resort, Otonabee River; Little Lake Marina, Peterborough.
- Locks: Bewdley to Healy Falls – 1 (Scotts Mills lock); Bewdley to Peterbrough – 1 (Hastings lock)
- Sea-Doo Dealer(s): Gateway Powersports & Marine, Peterborough
- More Info: Peterborough & the Kawarthas
Riders should reconfirm the 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.