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The Guide To Kawartha Lakes: Complete & Useful!

“Bright Waters and Happy Lands,” which means Kawartha Lakes, is a group of many small and big lakes that form the upper watershed of River Trent, which empties into a Bay on Lake Ontario.

Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, is a beautiful chain of lakes spread around south-central Ontario, Canada.

Earlier it was known as “Ka-wa-tha.” The word was coined by Martha Whetung, who was a part of Curve Lake First Nations, in 1895. This word meant “land of reflections.” With this meaning, it was expected to popularize its advertising label.

However, the tourism promoters anglicized the word Kawartha Lakes as its meaning sounded more welcoming. 

It is known that there are around 250 lakes and rivers, which altogether are called Kawartha Lakes. All of these provide ample opportunities to explore various things.

The City of Kawartha Lakes, a municipality in Central Ontario, Canada, is said to be named after the Kawartha Lakes. To your surprise, half of the Kawartha lakes are located in Peterborough Country, part of Southern Ontario. 

Enjoy Your Best Fall Here

Fall is the best time to visit Kawartha Lakes with its 600 km of trails and several lakes. To start your memorable journey, you can select any of the scenic drives and witness each fall color painted brightly across the countryside. The brilliant red, the mighty orange, and soothing yellow would be seen splashed all over the region.

There are four scenic drives, each having its beauty. You can drive, cycle, or ride through these.

1. The Plain Historic 

This is a loop route of 156 Km. It starts and ends at the village of Lindsay, thus offering you lots of dining, shopping, and attractions. You would come across many villages full of bakeshops and studios of local artisans.

The main places which you shouldn’t miss on this route are:

  • Quaker Oaks Farm is famous for its stuffed olives.
  • Balsam Lake Stone Walls, which are 3 Km of stone walls dating back to the 1800s.

2. The Lovely Lakeside 

This is 72.4 Km of the route, which is not in a loop. It starts at Lindsay, goes to Bobcaygeon, and ends at Fenelon Falls. On this route, you will find many museums, dining, and shopping spots. To have an authentic taste of Kawartha Lakes, you must stop by the Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream and enrich your experience.

The interesting places on this route include:

  • Sturgeon Point Church is shaped uniquely in an octagonal design and is a historic site.
  • Lakeview Arts Barn, which is the home of the Globus Theatre outside Bobcaygeon, has fun, entertainment, and other experiences.
  • Lindsay’s Old Mill Park will be the best spot for a picnic at a riverside. You can stroll along the river and relish the history of this old mill.

3. Farm to Shield 

To enjoy the beautiful nature and the agricultural heritage of Kawartha Lakes, go along this 62.2 Km of route. The route includes Bobcaygeon, Kinmount, Norland, Coboconk, and Rosedale. In the fall season, you will find this route mesmerizing, filled with scarlet maples, oaks, green cedars, and even poplars. On highway 35, you will come across a sign of Elliot Falls, which will be a great spot to photograph and have a little picnic.

On this route, you shouldn’t miss:

  • Austin Sawmill and Train Museum in Kinmount Village.
  • Canada’s Fresh Water Summit, which is Canada’s highest freshwater body.
  • NatureCures to experience the freshness of farms and nature.

4. Rolling Hills

This is a 57.7 Km long drive starting from Omemee to Lindsay via. Bethany. You can go along this route to explore the Southern Region of Kawartha Lakes. You can explore old stone houses and Devil’s Elbow Ski and Snowboard Area, a famous winter spot.

This is a very special route with its special places like:

  • Doube’s Trestle Bridge offers heart taking sightseeing experience apart from being a trestle bridge. It is on the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail.
  • Williams Design Studio has fashioned a secret garden. You can meet the artisans here and explore them through the studio.
  • Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden Site, which is a future site under construction. It is going to be the largest Buddhist temple outside China, known as Cham Shan Temple.

The Events at Kawartha Lakes

The towns and villages near Kawartha lakes are full of activities. Kawartha Lakes region hosts many events to attract tourists from around the globe.

A few of their famous events include:

1. Play Reading Series

This is an event where people gather for an evening of delicious food. To add to the charm, actors of Kawartha lakes read four of Canada’s latest comedies.

2. Bobcaygeon-action Street of Our Lives

This event is a live and improvised Soap Opera. With stars like Chris Gibbs and Kerry Griffin, along with guest stars, you might be lucky to join the pack of selected 50 audiences. The Globus stage is adorned by Canada’s funniest improv comedians, which create a live theatre, and the performances will take your breath away.

3. Victoria County Studio Tour

You can enjoy a picturesque drive of Kawartha Lakes with a tour of the studio. Many studios open their doors to showcase their unique and artistic styles, which are praiseworthy.

4. Kawartha Lakes Festival of Trees

This is an annual festival celebrated by the locals of Kawartha lakes. The entire area is given a new look with lights, colorful Christmas trees, and holiday displays.

The Trent Severn Waterway

“One of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world.” The Trent Severn Waterway is indeed famous. It is a long canal route of 386 kilometers. It is among the National Historic Sites of Canada.

Now, you would be wondering why? Well, the answer to that is not far away.

This canal is historical and a part of a large family of national parks. These canal waterways cater to recreational boaters, canoeists, and kayakers. There are 45 locks on this waterway and around eight bridges. Locks 1-18 lie in the Trent Region, 19-36 in the Kawartha Lakes Region, 37-41 in the Simcoe Region, and the remaining 42-45 in the region of Severn.

Some surprising facts about this waterway are just a click away.

Let’s take a look at the beautiful towns and villages of the city of Kawartha Lakes. Each lock in the Kawartha lake region offers different activities or things to do.

  1. Lock19 Scotts Mills: It offers great services to boaters, and their cruising day can be extended due to the availability of open rivers and lakes.
  2. Lock20 Ashburnham: This is located in Peterborough’s little lake at the northeastern corner. This lock station being away from busy roads offers quite a time. You can walk or bike on the Trans Canada Trail.
  3. Lock21 Peterborough Lift Lock: This is the highest hydraulic lift lock in the world.
  4. Lock22 Nassau Mills: This lock is located on River Road Scenic Drive. This is a beautiful site offering an expanse of parkland to enjoy a family picnic.
  5. Lock23 Otonabee: This is a quiet lock station giving boater camping opportunities as it is one of the few lock stations permitting a fire pit. There are a few trails around here for ones who wish to walk, jog or cycle along the way.
  6. Lock24 Douro: Favorite for day users and boaters.
  7. Lock25 Sawers Creek: Reaching this lock might be tricky due to the west winds but worth a pass through.
  8. Lock26 Lakefield: This lock is just a 10-minute walk to downtown Lakefield. You can avail of great services here as this town is very appealing and specifically tourist-oriented. You will find a literary connection to Susanna Moody, Catherine Parr Trail, and Samuel Strickland in Lakefield.
  9. Lock27 Young’s Fishing: A very popular boater’s stop to stay overnight. This lock provides a beautiful fishing experience.
  10. Lock28 Burleigh Falls: This lock station is great for boat launches.
  11. Lock30 Lovesick: Located on an island and only accessible by boat, this lock station is a famous night stop for boaters. The natural beauty of the island setting attracts more boaters here.
  12. Lock31Buckhorn: Good lake cruising found here.
  13. Lock32 Bobcaygeon: This lock was built about 160 years back and was the first lock constructed on the Trent Severn Waterway.
  14. Lock33 Lindsay: This lock is the main navigation to Lake Scugog.
  15. Lock34 Fenelon Falls: This loc is also located on an island. The falls of Fenelon can be viewed on the lower sides of the lock station.
  16. Lock35 Rosedale: This is a very secluded and tranquil lock station so, very famous for a relaxing day picnic.
  17. Lock36 Kirkfield: Kirkfield Lift Lock, the second-highest hydraulic Lift Lock in the world with a lift of 15 meters, is located just near the village of Kirkfield.

If you’re a boating enthusiast, you must rent a boat and plan your boating through these locks. You can enjoy the varied characteristics of each lock and take in the beauty of Trent Severn Waterway’s Kawartha Lake Locks.

Enjoy the view of a few of these lake points just here.

Tour of The Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada | Stoney Lake, Lovesick Lake & Buckhorn Lake

The Houseboat Capital of Ontario

Kawartha Lakes is said to be the Houseboat Capital of Ontario. You should not miss the experience of house boating. You can have a floating vacation! House boating is a truly authentic experience of Kawartha lakes.

You can rent a houseboat and sail through the Trent Severn Waterway.

If you are more of a Canoeing and kayaking person, that way is open too. You can paddle through Kawartha lakes and take in the magnificent scenery, wildlife, fishing, and history of the region.

Downtown Bobcaygeon

This little town is located on three islands between two Ontario lakes within the City of Kawartha Lakes. This is a very tranquil town, allowing tourists to enter a different world far from the hustle.

You can go canoeing, boating, swimming, and even fishing here. There are many places to serve you authentic dining.

The boat launch stations in this area are:

  • Pigeon Lake 
  • Sturgeon Lake
  • Bobcaygeon Beach Park on Surgeon Lake
  • Bass Lake Road

There are a few park areas available, too, in this town of the Kawartha Lakes region.

  • Centennial Park and Splash Pad
  • Bobcaygeon Beach Park
  • Forbert Memorial Pool and Park
  • Bobcaygeon Wilderness Park

Get a Virtual Tour of this beautiful town in this video.

A Visit To BOBCAYGEON - Kawartha Lakes, Ontario - 4K

Fishing in the Kawartha Lakes

It is very famous for its fishing; Kawartha Lakes provides great fishing time to career anglers and someone just looking to spend some family time fishing. Kawartha Lakes provide the best freshwater fishing around the year. From panfish to sports fish, large and smallmouth bass, pickerel, muskie, and many other varieties can be found.

You can come across the fishing guides to help you with permits, boats, and canoes, and even help you hook up the best fish.

A few best fishing spots in the Kawartha Lakes region are,

  • Little Lake, where you can come across lunker bass and monster muskie.
  • Rice Lake’s Submerged Rail Line, where you can find big smallmouth and largemouth bass. 
  • The Tri-Lakes viz. Chemong, Pigeon, and Buckhorn are home to largemouth and smallmouth bass
  • Sturgeon lake for finding a good-sized muskie.
  • The Islands East of Crowe’s Landing on Stoney Land, which is a magnet for walleye. Many good-sized fishes can be found here.
  • Stoney lake at Burleigh Falls is also a great spot where you can catch fish with jigs and minnows. 


Kawartha Lakes is also open for the thrill of hunting. The countryside is home to many small and medium-sized animals like deer, waterfowl, and others. Hunting here is carefully regulated. You will have to take the help of hunting outfitters to set you up for a memorable hunting day.

Craft Breweries of Kawartha Lakes

In Northumberland, there is a heritage of brewing and wine innovation. There, many award-winning beers, wines, and ciders are crafted. This place has a heritage and history of breweries, distilleries, and cider mills, and each has a beautiful story behind it. There are different tour routes available for this purpose.

  • Brewery Discovery Route through Peterborough and Kawarthas
  • Northumberland “Cheers Tour,” which includes a tour of 3 breweries and two cideries
  • Kawartha Lakes Breweries will offer you some of the newest brews in Ontario.

The Calcutt Family is said to have started these profound breweries, malt houses, and kilns. You can know more about the family and its successors continuing the tradition.

Provincial Parks

Kawartha Lakes has four provincial parks. Balsam Lake Provincial Park lies on Highway 48. It has a large sandy beach. At Emily Provincial Park, you can fish and camp. You can have a lovely fall picnic. You can do the same at Emily Provincial Park. Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park is more unregulated compared to the others. You need to map your route and plan your day on your own. Indian Point Provincial Park has a long shoreline.

Kawartha lakes will offer you something surprising at each turn. Are you ready to welcome these fun things? If yes, then the City of Kawartha Lakes welcomes you to know its beautiful culture, taste its cultural food, experience the joyous art, explore the routes on paddles or wheels and live in the moment by involving in the events. Go ahead, and pay a visit to the picturesque towns and villages near Kawartha Lakes. 

Last Updated on by Sanjana


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