Park Access | Scenic Trails and Paddler’s Takeout
Ottawa River Paddler's Takeout and The Lorne Trails
New 2021 Access Rates (As of May 11, 2021)
After discussion with the paddling community regarding the large numbers who missed our Black Friday early bird rates, we are turning back the clock and giving everyone an opportunity to purchase at discounted rates. This is especially important for paddling families that are the growth of the sport.
New this year is the opportunity for “free season passes” simply by registering for OKS Courses.
2021 Park Pass
• The PARK PASS grants users access to Wilderness Tours’ best properties – this pass is required by all guests including trail hikers, trail bikers and private paddlers.
• This pass currently allows access to two of Wilderness Tours’ most popular venues: the Lorne Rapids trails around Inspiration Point behind Whitewater Brewery (Riverside), as well as the Wilderness Tours Ottawa River Paddler’s Take-Out.
• Benefits of this pass will be expanded over time. These benefits will be announced as they become available.
• The Park Pass offers the most convenient logistical access location on the Ottawa River for paddlers: where the Middle and Main channels reunite. Long term plans call for expanding the BORCA trail network to this location.
Common Access Questions and Answers
• The National Whitewater Park is a collaborative project between local landowners and organizations dedicated to conservation and recreational access around the Ottawa River’s Rocher Fendu rapids. While most of the islands amongst the rapids are publicly-owned, the “mainland” surrounding the rapids is almost entirely privately-owned land. The National Whitewater Park’s purpose is to solicit and maintain relationships with these land-owners towards the goal of maintaining a “green zone” of conservation around the Main, Middle and Lower Channels.
• Wilderness Tours is a founding member of this cause with nearly 5,000 acres of land dedicated to conservation.
• Discussion with other major landowners are underway. There is much excitement about collaborating to protect the wilderness through the whitewater corridor. More news will be released as it is available.
• The National Whitewater Park engages Conservation Partners, Trail Access Partners, Volunteer Members and Corporate Sponsor Partners.
• River access locations are located on privately-owned land. The service of providing access to the public has many considerations to take into account: road maintenance, trail maintenance, insurance costs & liability risk, liability waiver processing, garbage and litter collection, theft and vandalism clean-up, and emergency response.
• It’s understandable that not all users will see what goes into making this service available to the public. However, the priority is to keep river access open at the most convenient locations. Cooperation is appreciated to keep this goal a reality.
Simple, just enroll in any Ottawa Kayak School 5-day course and your season pass is free.
If your schedule doesn’t permit a 5-day course, register for 2/3 day clinic and get 50% off.
• Costs to provide this service are most impacted by the total number of access-users. Liability risk is a huge factor in this decision process. Each guest requires a liability waiver for access.
• Per-person access versus per-vehicle maintains a level of accountability and regulation around visitation. This is an important factor for private landowners who are welcoming the general public onto their land.
Yes there are! There are municipally-owned boat launches above and below the Rocher Fendu rapids. The public access above is in Lapasse (map) and below on Rocher Fendu lake (map). However, these locations don’t offer the proximity and convenience of the privately-owned access points made available as a service to the public.
Yes – if you are accessing the takeout in any way you require a Park Pass.
All users also require a current-year signed liability waiver.
Yes – Everyone who accesses Wilderness Tours property requires a pass, as well as a signed current-year liability waiver.
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Park Pass - AdultAges 18+
1 Day Access
Park Pass - Kids & TeensAges 5-17
1 Day Access
Young ChildrenAges 4 and under
1 Day Access
More Important Information
Help Reduce Traffic and Save Time at our Entrance Gate by Booking Online
On-Site Convenience Fee: There is an additional convenience fee of $10 / person plus tax added for any in-person booking made at our front gatehouse window at 1260 Grants Settlement Rd. This is necessary to reduce traffic that can quickly develop and pose a safety risk at the front gate. Save $ and book online before you arrive – even if it’s on your phone in our parking lot. The goal here is to simply keep our gate access moving smoothly so no one has to sit in line.
Commercial Paddling Groups: River Access must be pre-arranged minimum 72 hrs before arrival.
Ottawa River Conservation
In 1972, local lawyer and pilot, Del O’brien flew Wilderness Tours founder over the now famous Rocher-Fendu Rapids. That flight led to scouting the river the following year in K-1 and C-1 and then by raft in 1974 and open for business in ’75. Prior to the Ottawa, Wilderness Tours had its roots in Algonquin Park canoeing and rafting the Petawawa River.
Our move to the Ottawa River amazed us in several ways:
- With hundreds of islands, the Ottawa provided numerous channels with rapid options from mild to wild.
- The Ottawa had access potential close to roads and just an hour’s drive from the Nation’s capital.
- Lastly, the scenery was every bit as spectacular as Algonquin Park and with the Main Channel’s Grand Canyon size rapids even more so. Even more remarkable was this jewel, except for some of the islands, was all private property
With the above in mind, it became apparent the last wild section of the most historical river in Canada was in danger of being “loved to death” as demand for cottages and waterfront homes grew. WT Founder Joe Kowalski lobbied Parks Canada and governments on both sides of the river for a National Park.
Unsuccessful but undaunted, Joe decided to “do it himself” began acquiring land on both sides of the river when it became available. That effort led to amassing almost 5,000 acres but there was more to be done and that led to the formation of the National Whitewater Park.
The National Whitewater Park is our way of branding this unique waterway and its many stakeholders. It encompasses Ontario’s Ottawa River Provincial Park, Quebec’s Green, French’s and Lafointaine Islands which together form the jewel in the Rocher-Fendu crown separating the Main and Middle Channels. It also includes the many landowners on both sides of the river who are bound together by their passion for everyone’s beloved Ottawa River. It’s a glorious informal public/private partnership that has become Canada’s top whitewater destination and a mecca for outdoor adventure tourism year-round.
Your support of the National Whitewater Park does much more than preserve the Ottawa River. 25 local families rely on us for their livelihood as well as many small local businesses. We live, work and shop here. When our local Cobden Sun went out of business, WT stepped up and launched Whitewater News. As one of the largest municipal taxpayers, when Grants Settlement Road gets rebuilt next year with local tax dollars, you know where the money will come from.
When there is a fire on the river or a missing person, it’s Wilderness Tours that gets the first call. When Algonquin College needed an industry partner 20 years ago to launch their new 2-year diploma program in Outdoor Adventure, WT was their first and only choice. Last year in the midst of the Covid pandemic, WT dug deep and donated more then $250k in kind to support charity.
We are proud of the work we do and your support helps us build the community that is Whitewater Region better.
The National Whitewater Park bears no resemblance to a city park. Nature is beautiful but hazards abound both on land and water. Please click on Park Hazards and then read and sign the waiver if you wish to visit. Because of the risks of running whitewater, only skilled kayaks and canoeists should be on the river. If you would like to learn, check out Ottawa Kayak School.
Because of the risks and hazards of whitewater, only hard shelled canoes and kayaks are permitted. Inflatables are never permitted. This applies to not only rafts but inflatable kayaks commonly referred to as sportyaks.
River Access Policies
• Wilderness Tours does offer guided tours such as our popular Guide Your Own Raft experience.
A signed current-year liability release is required by all guests using Wilderness Tours properties or services. Booking a park pass is required to fill out the waiver.
See park pass purchase options above.
Park Policies are at the sole discretion of the National Whitewater Park and may change from time to time. Signed waivers and passes are required of all users. Failure to abide by park policy may result in denied access.
River users paddle the river in hard shelled kayaks and canoes and do do so at their own risk. Inflatable craft are not permitted.
- A waiver of release is required of all Park users
- Inflatables are not permitted
Land users may hike and bike on Park property provided they are self propelled.
- Non river users need to act in a way that minimizes their visibility to paddlers
- There is no swimming, fishing, sunbathing or shoreline activity
- There is no picnicking
- Trails and trail users should have minimal visibility from the river
- A waiver of release is required of all Park users
- No leaving designated trails
- No fires or camping are permitted
- The Park and Park Trails will be closed at certain times of the year. Please check website for Park closures.