Beaver Valley: Beaver River

Now that my sister and favorite paddling partner Judy has a seven-month baby boy, it’s gonna be a couple of years before we’re able to partake in an overnight canoe trip.

But that doesn’t mean she can’t get away for a half-day once in a while . . .


Judy poses on the Beaver River.

So to help get her over the fact she hadn’t gone paddling in over a year, I suggested we canoe the Beaver River, named by the Hurons after the numerous beaver they found along its banks and which are still abundant. Flowing all the way to Georgian Bay, the steep gradiant in some sections of the river provided a source of water power for the mills that located there when the Beaver Valley was settled in the 1840’s and 1850’s. Carved through a pre-glacial valley, this gently flowing river is perfect for novice paddlers and offers panoramic views of the Niagara Escarpment and the surrounding countryside.

The route we decided to paddle was the 20km section between the hamlets of Kimberley (conveniently located near our folks’ family home) and Heathcote.

The route itself meandered as one would expect over numerous beaver dams during the first couple of hours before opening up to a few fields towards the end.

For us the trip ended up being a five-hour wildlife paddle as we saw:

  • one beaver,
  • three turtles,
  • three black cuckoos,
  • sandpipers,
  • ducks,
  • three tires,
  • one blue heron that we chased along the river,
  • two turkey buzzards,
  • hundreds of minnows and
  • one bull with a hefty package.

The wilderness it’s not, but for a couple of hours anyway, it’s pretty close.

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