The Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area is located within the boundary of the Mississippi Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS) (300 ha). Mississippi Lake, which appears as a swelling of the Mississippi River, contains at its southwestern end a small bay known as Mud Lake or McEwen Bay. This bay was formed in 1890 after the construction of a dam by a milling company about 20 km downstream at Carleton Place. It is around this bay that the NWA and MBS are centred. A small stream, McIntyre Creek, flows into the southern end of McEwen Bay, which connects to the Mississippi Lake. A peninsula and an island restrict the mouth of the bay.
Prior to flooding, McEwen Bay was low-lying farmland. Now the farmland occurs along its western boundary. The surrounding region consists of gently rolling terrain, with a sedimentary base. Limestone outcroppings occur in the upland areas.
McEwen Bay is relatively shallow, with an average depth of about 1.5 m. The bottom is muddy, with loose vegetative debris and silt covering much of its surface. In spite of its brown colour, the water is fairly clear. A very lush growth of aquatic plants can be found around the shoreline between the open water and wild rice stands. During high water years, wild rice is often the most abundant emergent to be found, forming extensive beds along the shore of the bay and river. Cattail occurs in the bay; however, few dense cattail stands are evident. Flooded scrub, or more specifically willow-dogwood-maple thicket, dominates the land surrounding the bay. In some areas, this community is replaced by silver maple swamp at the aquatic interface. Backing the thicket, in some areas on dry land, is a mature hardwood forest, consisting primarily of maple, elm and ash with some patches of white cedar.

Access is permitted for day use only at the entrance on Drummond Concession 9A. Activities allowed include hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, picnicking and wildlife viewing on the designated trail. Facilities include a public parking lot, hiking trail, public boat launch and washroom.

TRAIL LOCATION:  A 3 km hiking trail through the forest in the south end of the NWA can be accessed from Drummond Concession 9A southwest of the parking lot and across from the laneway access to a private residence at 1091 Drummond Concession 9 A. The entrance is a little overgrown.

Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area has just some of the many nature trails and hiking trails you can find throughout Ontario by using the search features of


Nearby towns and cities:
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Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area characteristics

Length: 3 km.
Difficulty: Moderate (Trail classifications)
Trail surface: Natural
Trail use: Hiking
Accessibility Notes: Not wheelchair accessible.
Fees: None

Flora & Fauna:

During fall migration, up to 10 000 ducks can pass through the site in a day, primarily American Black Ducks, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Mergansers. They gather here as a refuge from hunting pressure outside of the MBS boundary. The site is periodically used as a waterfowl banding site.

Amenities: picnic tables, washrooms

Attractions: wildlife viewing

Environment & Climate Change Canada - Ontario Canadian Wildlife Service 1-800-668-6767

Find it: across from entrance to 1091 Concession Rd 9A, Balderson, ON

GPS Coordinates (main trailhead):
Latitude: 45.0287720
Longitude: -76.2288810

Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area Image Gallery