With the largest concentration of fresh water lakes in Ontario located here, it’s no surprise that the Explorers’ Edge region is also host to one of the fast-growing paddling events in the province.
Paddlers of all skill levels will meet once again this autumn for the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience, a signature outdoor event that takes place annually in the picturesque town of Bracebridge on the Saturday of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.
On October 8, the 2016 edition will once again feature 5K, 10K and 20K distance events for recreational and competitive paddlers, with tons of categories for multiple vessels, including canoes, kayaks and SUPs. This year there will also be a contingent of 6-person “North Canoes,” which resemble voyageur canoes of old. Everyone will gather at Annie Williams Memorial Park to register and to embark on a day of fall paddling on the stunning Muskoka River, including excursions to the bottom of the iconic Bracebridge falls.
Though leisure paddlers fit right in, the event is also sanctioned by the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (OMCKRA), which means some of the fastest and strongest marathon paddlers in the province will be competing. In 2015, the OMCKRA voted the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience “The Race of the Year” over 18 other races held across Ontario.
Want to try paddling the river without entering the event? There are many outfitters in the area who can rent you all the equipment you’ll need, or you can go on a guided tour of the stunning waterways. Outdoor adventure centre LIV Outside in Bracebridge is located on the Muskoka River and near the Thanksgiving weekend event. They can outfit you and also offer several guided canoe and SUP tours for those new to the sport or unfamiliar with the area.
Algonquin Outfitters, with locations in Bracebridge and Huntsville, also rents equipment and provides guided tours, particularly in beautiful Algonquin Park. For a more complete list of outfitters throughout the region, including in Parry Sound, click here.
A fall road trip to Ontario’s cottage country reveals some of the nation’s most incredible scenery – and a paddle on the Muskoka River at the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience on October 8, 2016 is an outdoor adventure you’ll never forget.
Funds raised at the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience are in support of the Muskoka Watershed Council.
To register for the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience, click here.