The 10 thematic maps included with this guidebook are an excellent resource for planning and research, but do not contain sufficient detail for river travel. Please do not rely solely on these maps. The NTS Topographic Map, CHS Hydrographic Chart and Waterproof Chart references are provided for each route. Carry one of these in addition to the thematic map and consult it frequently. Break them out at rest stops and have them handy while you’re on the water too! They can be obtained from marinas, outfitters and other local suppliers.
Note: You can also learn more about the Thousand Islands Water Trail in this Introduction pdf.
The best launch and egress points for each route are identified for paddlers to access the river from the Canadian mainland. In most cases, these are public facilities such as boat launches, parks and marinas. Look for roadside signs indicating the directions for the boat launching facility; these small, white rectangular signs picture a blue ramp symbol and clearly direct travelers towards the water!
Most of the access points identified are appropriate for both day-tripping and extended trips. However, a few are only suitable for day-tripping, as no overnight parking is available. In some cases private establishments such as accommodation sites, private marinas and local canoe clubs may provide suitable access points for members and guests. Be sure to confirm this with service providers, upon making your reservations.
Distances for routes are provided in kilometers, trip length is described in terms of time - half day, full day or extended trip. Be mindful that these are estimates based on paddling the routes in many conditions, solo and with groups; be sure to have a contingency for unexpected events or inclement weather.
Suggested routes for each section of the river are identified on map(s) that accompany the route descriptions. Where the recommended route is a wide path, paddlers can be confident to travel anywhere within the highlighted area. When it narrows, paddlers are strongly recommended to follow the highlighted route to avoid potential hazards.
The 1000 Islands Water Trail is one possible way to explore the area. It is subject to change due to weather and water conditions, time constraints, and paddler abilities and preferences.
The points of interest noted in the route descriptions are special areas of the Thousand Islands that are reminders of the region’s rich natural diversity and cultural heritage. These include quiet trails and sandy beaches, secluded bays, hidden channels, unique geological formations, mysterious petroglyphs, historic architecture, submerged wrecks, and abandoned homesteads. Points of interest are special places, often hidden and easily overlooked by those unfamiliar with the islands. They are noted here to enrich your paddling experience.
Each route abuts at least one other route, and possible extensions are noted where routes may be combined for extended trips. Generally the river is most easily paddled from west to east (Kingston-Brockville), taking advantage of the prevailing winds and water current. However, all routes can be paddled in any direction. Safe, sheltered paddling can usually be found by taking advantage of the leeward side of islands.