Princess Point Hamilton, Ontario Paddling


Princess Point, Hamilton Ontario. Part of Royal Botanical Gardens in the southeast corner of Cootes Paradise. Part of Lake Ontario, one of the five Great Lakes. here.


Paid parking $6 (Summer 2020 for 3 hours) with coin or credit card at a ticket machine. Approx. 30 spots. I never had an issue finding parking in the summer but it’s not a cheap spot (other free spots in Hamilton.  See Bayfront Park paddle location details & tips here & Cootes Paradise paddle location details & tips here.)


Short gravel path down to a floating small dock.  “Canoe Launch” northeast of parking lot. Non-motorized and small boats only.


I recommend going when winds are < 10 km/hour. Check winds as there isn’t much of an area for sheltered paddling. Westerly winds are ideal to ensure you are paddling into the wind first and thus getting the challenging half over with. It’s always important to check the weather, especially the wind before you go! Click for tips and resources for reading the wind.


Paddle west, you can’t paddle too far east until you hit 403 and York St bridges (you can portage the small section, see bottom photo, to venture into Hamilton Harbour but I’d recommend coming at it from Bayfront Park). Plus the further west you go the further you get away from the 403 road noise.

 If it’s a little windy or you want a leisure hour paddle then stick close to the left shoreline as you head west and you’ll make your way into a nice quiet inlet of lily pads, turtles and if you’re lucky you’ll spot deer or different types of birds. See top photo

If it’s calm and or you are up for a longer paddle you can head deeper into Cootes Paradise (west) but you can also access it from my favourite launch point or head across to explore the other side of the bay. 

As of summer 2020, you couldn’t paddle south of the launch down the very small creek. The waterway was blocked. You wouldn’t get far and it’s right beside the highway anyways.


  • There are hiking trails and room for a picnic (bring a blanket or use your board)  if you are looking to do any Après Paddle
  • No official washrooms but there was a porta-potty in summer 2020.
  • Best to go spring to the end of summer. By early November water levels were extremely low making it difficult to launch, not pleasurable to paddle and you couldn’t go very far west. 
  • If you plan to swim (I wouldn’t recommend that here) or are worried about the water quality check it before you go here. E.coli levels can be high in the summertime. I personally don’t mind paddling when the water quality is low as I’m not planning to swim in it and I wash down my board after each use. Some people tend to avoid the water altogether. Make the decision that’s best for you! 


  • Great spot but not the top Hamilton launch location
  • Accessible and easy entry
  • Lots of places to explore with wildlife
  • Paid parking is a bit of a downer but you do get access to RBG trails and you are parked very close to the launch
  • Very dependant on wind conditions. If winds are strong from the west try Bayfront Park.

Inlet with lily pads

Launching from the dock. Very shallow water in early November

Looking out into the bay from launch point

Portage location from Princess Point to Hamilton Harbour

Have you been to Princess Point, Hamilton, Ontario? What did you think? Any other tips?

Leave a comment below.

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  • True viking on my mother's side

    I go there a lot and I can’t think of any info to add. I think you you’ve covered it all. Great info.

  • Christina

    Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing this paddling information! It’s been many years since I’ve canoed through Cootes with the McMaster outdoors club. I’m hoping to try a paddle this week as I will be borrowing a friend’s canoe. You seem very knowledgeable about these waterways, so I’m hoping I could ask you for some guidance. Is it feasible to launch from Princess Point, paddle west into Spencer creek, and then turn around (somewhere along the creek paddle, or in West Pond, if we can make it that far), and paddle back to Princess Point? I don’t know if that’s too long of a trip and if we should try to park a car at West Pond. But my friend lending me the canoe would prefer I launch it at an official docked boat launch, like the one at PP. Any advice would be super appreciated! Love your content and I will be following you on social media. Would love to do a photoshoot with you along the Bayfront trail one day!

    • Marybeth

      Hi Christina,
      Thanks for checking out my blog and for the kind words!
      You can 100% paddle from PP into Spencer Creek or West Pond. You do have to have a decent idea of where you’re going as it does shallow out in parts just before you make it into the Creek. I would recommend heading towards Bull’s Point Lookout and head in from there. Check out Google Maps satellite view.
      Once you make it down the creek and come to a fork (technically the second fork; the first one has a sign), where the map says Borer’s Creek, you can go right to West Pond or left and travel up Spencers Creek approx 300m past Cootes Dr.
      Right now you’ll likely see some kits (beaver young)! I saw a few this past week.
      It will be approx 7km round trip and an easy paddle depending on the winds (typically the winds come from the west)
      Always up for a photoshoot and meeting new folks!
      I’ll reach out on social! Thanks for the follow 🙂

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