Guide to Lower Nicholsons Lock – Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is now closed for navigation for 2022 as of October 10th. Locks will not operate outside these dates, but you can still paddle the canal. The exact opening times for locks are available on the official Rideau Canal website; opening hours vary throughout the season.

Access to Lower Nicholson Lock is East of Merrickville, take Highway 43, and then turn on to Burrits Rapids Road. The turn is signposted and is a gravel track that looks a little like farm access. It is a very short drive to a good size gravel parking area and at the end take the access track down to the locks.

This is an excellent place to start a day paddle into the center of Merrickville.

The camping options here are flat and quiet. The washrooms are very clean and well maintained. Recommended as a spot to start a journey or take a break.

General Information

  • Lock Number(s)/Flights: #18
  • Lock Lift metres (feet): 2.0 (6.5)
  • Co-ordinates (Google maps): 44.95472, -75.81595
  • Civic Address: 41 Nicholson Lane, Merrickville-Wolford, Ontario
  • Lock Station Phone: ¬†613-269-4960
  • Portage: Yes, an easy portage.
  • Boat launch: No.
  • Kayak/Canoe Launch: Yes
  • Previous Lock(Distance): Burrits Rapids Lock
  • Next Lock (Distance): Upper Nicholson Lock


  • Parking: Yes (free)
  • Camping: Yes ($), if¬†arriving by water and also for cyclists and hikers.
  • BBQ/Picnic Tables: Picnic tables & BBQs
  • Washrooms: Yes.
  • Power Supply: Nothing dedicated but you can charge electronics in the washrooms (not secure)
  • Garbage/Recycling: Yes
  • Potable (Drinking) Water: Yes, but do check with the lockmaster.
  • Public Telephone: No.


  • Local Supplies
  • Hiking Trails: No
  • Cell Phone Reception: