The Falls at Go Home

The falls at Go Home are an amazing place for a dinghy day trip, the journey being just as fun as the destination!

Go Home – a beautiful water access cottage community just north of Cognashene – will celebrate it’s 125th anniversary next year. There are a few stories about how this area was named, the more popular being for the loggers who drove the timber down the Musquash river system into the Bay during the 1800’s – once they had delivered their log booms to the local wharf for transport by steamer, their job was complete and they could “go home”.

By the turn of the 20th century that same wharf began to welcome what would become the original “Go Home” cottage settlers, along with supply ships throughout the summer months bringing mail, visitors, and sundries. Today it is still the social hub of the community, hosting many get togethers for the local cottage association members to participate in.

The Waubic approaching Go Home Wharf (photo courtesy Madawaska Club, ca 1915)
Present day – Saturday June 11, 2022

There are two potential entrances to Go Home Bay, depending on where you are anchored and your appetite for adventure. The simplest is to exit the small craft route just south of Monument Channel at Red Rock, and follow the markers east into Go Home Bay’s west entrance.

Looking east towards Go Home’s west entrance from small craft route

The other is through North Go Home to Devils Elbow – named for the 90 degree turn required as you navigate through a very narrow cut in the rock. Depth is variable so always best to lift your prop somewhat, keep it in the middle of the channel, and follow the on-shore guides. The chart below indicates in red the basic path I take once leaving the main channel but it can be tricky on your first attempt so be sure to review your route before hand. And keep a bow watch for rocks through North Go Home as some are not charted. But once into the bay, it is an easy and enjoyable ride back to the falls.

Devils Elbow looking north

And for Group of Seven fans, the Devils Elbow route will take you past the famous West Wind Island cottage (on starboard, just after departing the small craft route).

It is here the artists spent time as guests in the early 1900’s and in gratitude to their host, painted wall panels of beautiful Georgian Bay. These remained in place until the 1960’s when the next owners generously donated them to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Also, if you have a good eye, you may be able to identify the viewpoint from which GOS member F. Varley painted his famous landscape “Stormy Weather.”

Once you are into Go Home Bay, continue west passing the wharf on your starboard side. It is critical to follow the no wake signs as you will pass some very ecologically sensitive shoreline, along with many cottages that rely on this water as a drinking source. The less churning the better, so take it slow and enjoy the ride!

The Narrows

Upon arrival at the falls there is a small dock but a bit rickety so be careful disembarking, ensure you have solid footwear and step carefully. There are also many areas where you can beach on shore.

Once on land, there is a wide trail which leads to the top of the falls where you will get a glimpse of Go Home Lake. Over the years we have seen both bear and deer on the trail but if you respect their space and keep your distance they will move on out of your way.

View of Go Home Lake from the top of the trail
View of Go Home Georgian Bay side walking down the trail

As you climb the trail, you will notice a few access paths cut into the brush which take you right to the falls. Below is a video of my favorite lookout – it is such a serene and peaceful place to sit and watch the water rush over the rocks!

Go Home is an amazing area with incredible history and stunning landscape! It is no wonder the Group of Seven were inspired by the beauty. This destination should be on every boater’s Georgian Bay “bucket list”!

5 thoughts on “The Falls at Go Home

  1. All the land in the area is all privately held by the local club or cottagers, so make sure not to make landfall without permission (even if it looks undeveloped, there are trespassing signs everywhere). The area is generally quiet, but few good anchorages and the cottagers seem to not be very friendly to the bustle of a lot of traffic. Not bad for a day trip but indian harbour just north up the channel provides a much better spot to spend the evening. Also watch out on the way to the falls, there are alot of unmarked “deadheads” logs that can cause serious damage to a boat of any size and the majority of the shoals are unmarked.

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    1. Thank you for reading my article and for your comments! Yes, my family have been Madawaska Club members for 25 years and the club owns the land. ❤️ A visit to the falls is always an adventure, dead heads and all! It’s a great day trip and I’ve seen large cruisers down there in high water years but that’s pretty rare (luckily!). If you’re on the Bay tonight, enjoy the sunset! This is best time of year for them.

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