Click Map PDF at the bottom of the page for a printable trail description
Points of Interest
Madoma Marsh where you might spy a cagey mallard, hear a chattery swamp sparrow or feel a smallmouth bass escape the water for an instant.
Originally settled by Irish, Roman Catholic farmers, this large island once was home to more sheep than people! Wool, milk, and eggs were the currency of exchange. The present community on Howe Island r the historic settlement of the place. Remnant farms dot the island, although many farms have been replaced by seasonal cottages. The winter community of 400 people easily triples when the warm weather arrives.
Grass Creek Point
An extensive wetland, protected by Grass Creek Point, features a small stream leading inward (Northward) from the channel past the Woodworking Museum buildings. Grass Creek Point itself is private property and not open to visitors. (See map to avoid trespassing.) However, small craft are encouraged to explore the stream (Grass Creek) where you will be sure to see a Great Blue Heron stalking its prey among the shallow waters. A small picnic park on the western banks of the stream is a good place to stop for a meal or a snooze in the shade. The park boat ramp is also a ne launching site for paddlers to be dropped off or as a rendezvous point.
MacLachlin Woodworking Museum
Located on the banks of Grass Creek is the MacLachlin Woodworking Museum. Stop in and explore 19th century life while enjoying exhibits and interpreted demonstrations of early logging, woodworking and home making trades. The large collection of early hand tools inside is quite impressive.
Johnson Bay Marsh
This large, winding bay has fooled many river travelers into thinking it was a channel to the open waters south of Howe Island. In fact this expansive bay is renowned for its rich muskrat trapping. It is a wonderful place to explore the diversity of wildlife found in the wetlands of the Thousand Islands.
The channel funnels to its narrowest point near Trident Marina, a private yacht club. The quiet coves of the mainland shore offer secluded spots to explore by paddle. As you pass the yacht club, be sure to steal a glance shoreward. The marine slips showcase some of the most beautiful craft on the river.
Bishop's Point Beach
A small sandy beach lines the western face of BishopÃs Point. Its a great spot to rest and enjoy a refreshing swim after the long trip down the Bateau Channel. Daytrippers can use this spot to access the river, although vehicles must be left up the road a ways, as parking is not permitted on the point.
The westerly access point at Treasure Island Marina is a secure launch site that allows paddlers to get a taste of the open waters before embarking on the more sheltered journey down the Bateau channel route. Follow Highway 2 east of Kingston, approximately 8 km, to reach the marina and boat launching facility. Grass Creek Park, is another ideal launch site, located midway through the Bateau Channel and closer to the heart of the islands. This municipal picnic park is located beside the MacLachlin Woodworking Museum, approximately 16 km east of Kingston along Highway 2. The launch site lies on the western bank of Grass Creek, just a stoneÃs throw to the St. Lawrence.
Trip Length / Distance
A full-day should be set aside to paddle this connecting route. Seventeen kilometers separate Treasure Island Marina and Bishop's Point. From the Grass Point Park access to Bishop's Point at the eastern end of the channel is a 10 km trip; it is a 7 km trip westward to the Treasure Island Marina. Paddlers already on the water will approach the route from Milton Island, 5 km upriver from Treasure Island, or from the Admiralty Islands route that directly abuts the Bateau Channel.
The Admiralty Islands (route #3), a premium destination for kayak adventuring, lies at the eastern end of the Bateau Channel. Upriver are Milton, Cedar and Wolfe Islands and the big waters of Lake Ontario (route #1).
Notes and Cautions
Two cable ferries connect the Howe Island community to the mainland. One ferry crosses the Bateaux Channel where it begins to nearrow, past Casssidy's Point. The other ferry joins Bishop's Point, on the mainland, with Gillespie Point at the eastern end of Howe Island. Exercise caution here. Be sure that the cable ferry is not in transit as you cross these points.
Route #2 runs parallel to the recreational boating channel. Stay clear of other watercraft by paddling the shores of the mainland or Howe Island. This also give you excellent opportunities to watch wildlife in the wetlands along the way.
The Bateau Channel is a long, narrow stretch of the St. Lawrence River that separates Howe Island and the Canadian mainland. Working fields, young forests, summer cottages and cobble shorelines line the channel. This sheltered route is best utilized by paddlers wishing to access the Admiralty Islands, downriver, or the Kingston Isles that lie upriver. Paddlers can explore marsh-lined bays, relax on sunny beaches and stroll beside shallow creeks.