If you think going for a scenic paddle requires a long drive north, it’s time to think Big Creek River which offers fantastic paddling that’s close to home with excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife.
Big Creek, which is a meandering waterway that winds south through Norfolk County toward Lake Erie’s Long Point Bay, is surrounded by Carolinian forests so thick, and so filled with wildlife, it’s affectionately referred to as the Canadian Amazon.
As you follow Big Creek through the forest, you’ll eventually reach extensive marshes at the mouth of Big Creek that are a protected National Wildlife Area. The marshes are a major staging area for waterfowl and more than 200 bird species use the area during their spring and fall migrations, but winged wonders aren’t the only wildlife to watch for here. Turtles nest in the marshes in June and Monarch butterflies migrate through the area in August and September.
If you have your own canoe or kayak, there are numerous put-in locations along Big Creek. The starting point if you wish to paddle the creek in its entirety, which will take about 12 hours, is on McDowell Road. For a shorter paddle, use the Rowan Mills Conservation Area or Lower Big Creek Conservation Area as your starting point. Access a map.
Want it guided? Long Point Eco-Adventures offers a four-hour Big Creek paddling experience that is suitable for novices as well as seasoned paddlers. Experienced guides will share their knowledge of the geology, ecology, and culture of this exceptional ecosystem.
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