Deer Creek Conservation Area. One of the places that I cut my paddling teeth on as a young pup with my dad. I’ve spent countless days out at Deer Creek in my dads old Coleman canoe, in kayaks, and in my very own Nova Craft Prospector. This is the lake I learned how to J-Stroke on and began paddling a canoe in a straight line. To say that I have some history with Deer Creek is an understatement, and for good reason.
Deer Creek is part of the Long Point Region Conservation Authority and is a bit of a hidden gem here in Norfolk. It offers a beach, camping, and an 80 acre lake to paddle about on. You can try your hand at fishing, or just paddle along the winding lake and explore all the alcoves on the sides.
As soon as you leave the dock and round the first bend, the beach comes into sight. It’s a small beach but never seems too busy and is an inviting area for a swim. Passing the beach, the views of the surrounding forests come into perspective. The entire reservoir is contained in a tree-lined valley and the scenery is a beautiful blue-green-blue with the sky, trees, and water.
As you wind your way along the shore line you’ll notice just how clean and clear the water is. Visibility is up to 20 feet of depth in some spots. There are lots of fish swimming along under your boat as you cruise the surface and if you are very lucky with just the right conditions, you can spot the elusive fresh water jelly fish in this lake. Don’t worry though, as they do not sting and are the size of a ping-pong ball. To see them is a very rare treat.
Once at the far North end of the lake you can jump out of the canoe and into the shallow sandy feeder stream for a stretch. While the water in the lake is usually warm, this feeder creek (the actual Deer Creek) is very cold spring water and the deer flies are usually out in force here. About 200 feet down the West shore from the feeder creek is a nice place to stop for lunch near an old dilapidated rope swing.
I’ve paddled this lake what feels like hundreds of times and it never seems to get old. I feel lucky to have such a hidden gem only a few minutes from my home. Its perfect to get out and recharge yourself or take the family for an easy paddle while spotting fish and turtles. The people that visit this area seem to have a great respect for nature as well, garbage anywhere in the lake is a very rare sight out here.
The amenities at Deer Creek include a boat launch and dock, camping, the beach, and a picnic area. There are flush toilets at the picnic / beach area and pit toilets at the boat launch. There are also canoes and sit-on-top kayaks for rent at the gate house. They also have a tackle-share program here for fishing gear. If its your first time out here, grab a lake map from the gatehouse (free). Pack up your shore lunch and hit the water!
Trip Rating – 5/5
Suitability – Canoes, Kayaks, SUP’s
Launch – Boat ramp and dock at Deer Creek Conservation Area GPS coordinates are 42.706138, -80.559174
Cost – $12 per vehicle / $80 season pass (Includes all LPRCA conservation areas).
Distance Paddled – Approx 9km
Time – 3-4 hours
The Good – Beautiful natural area with stunning views from the lake. Clean clear water to swim. Lots of fishing.
The Bad – Boat launch can get busy at times and you have to wait your turn. Not a big deal.
The Ugly – None!!!!