The route follows the Annapolis River from Kingston to Annapolis Royal, beginning as a shallow,
meandering stream flowing through forested areas. As it proceeds westward, it becomes both wider and
deeper, flowing through rich cultivated farmland. The river is generally flat, moving water with low to moderate
wind exposure with no portages. However, fallen trees and other debris can obstruct a waterway. Caution is
advised in the spring and after intense storms. A pipe across the river west of the highway bridge in
Lawrencetown may present an obstruction during very low water levels.
Although the route passes through developed and intensively farmed areas, the perspective from the
river is surprisingly of remoteness and solitude, and offers a reasonably safe, enjoyable paddle throughout its
length. The river may be entered and exited at a number of points, allowing the paddler to experience as little
or as much of the route as time allows. A complete traverse of the route from Kingston to Annapolis Royal will
require overnight stops on the river, but many day trip opportunities can be enjoyed as well.
The river is relatively narrow and protected from wind between Kingston and Bridgetown. The river
between Bridgetown and Annapolis Royal widens dramatically, and is prone to strong winds. This section is
more appropriately suited to kayaking and sailing, but is an excellent paddle by canoe with appropriate
attention to wind and weather.
West of Paradise, the river becomes tidal, and water levels and currents will fluctuate. This section,
where salt and fresh water meet, is referred to as “estuarine”, and is one of the reasons the Annapolis River is
so well known for its variety of fishing opportunities - bass, salmon, trout, smelt, mackerel and many others
depending on the season and location along the river. Clean Annapolis River Project is a non-profit
organization dedicated to the ongoing stewardship and protection of the river habitat. In 2015, they held their
first annual Annapolis River Festival.
It is very important when launching from, or approaching the causeway at Annapolis Royal, to
avoid the two Nova Scotia Power control gates. There are floating booms across the approaches to the
gates. The gates control the flow of water between the Annapolis (west side of the causeway) and French
Basins (east side of the causeway), and water flows are strong, turbulent, and pose a serious hazard to small
craft. Refer to Landmark 9 and 10, Map 10.Click here
for a map and more details about this route.