This incredibly beautiful park is located in northeastern Ontario and is officially one of my favourites. From the moment you drive in, you will feel calm beneath the trees. Bon Echo Provincial Park also has a massive campground (some with electrical hookup) and the option of back-country camping as well. If you’re looking for something more private with a break from technology, the Mazinaw Lake campground is the spot to be. Reservations book up quickly, so if you’re picky about your area, make sure to reserve in advance. Make sure to check out the Visitor Centre and art gallery on the way out, especially if the weather is rainy or cold.
If you only have the day to stay at the park, drive straight to the little hut by the lake and park by the lake (directions can be given at the entrance, but it’s easier than you think). Take one of many amazing trails that range from 1 km to 17 kms in length. For the best views, rent a canoe at Mazinaw Lake and you’ll immediately be stunned by the 100-metre cliffs towering above you. Kayak or paddle close to the rocks, which feature 260 aboriginal pictographs, and take in the century-old drawings. You also have the option of taking the Mugwump Ferry, with a guide who will take you around the petroglyphs and across to the Clifftop Trail. After you’ve accomplished the trails, sit back and relax on the gorgeous sandy beaches.
T R A I L S
Abes and Essens Lake Trail: There are three interconnecting looped trails. The first loop is Clutes, which is 3.5 km, and takes about 1.5 hours. The second loop is Essens Lake, which is 9.6 km, and takes about 4 hours. The third and longest loop is Abes, at 17 km, taking 7 hours, which is moderate to difficult. In the fall, some areas have spectacular panoramic views. Choose from a day hike or reserve a campsite at one of the five campsites along the trail.
Bon Echo Creek Trail: This is an easy, linear 1 km walk, which takes about 40 minutes. Check before you go as it’s currently closed because of wet trail condition.
Cliff Top Trail: This 1.5 km moderate to difficult hike takes 1 hour. You will need to take a ferry to this water accessible only trail (fees apply). There is also the option of exploring the area by canoe or kayak (rentals available). Take the set of stairs and walk the pathway to the top of Mazinaw Rock, where there are three observation decks overlooking the lake.
High Pines Trail: The is a moderate 1.7 km loop, taking 1 hour. This hike takes you through forest and wetlands, where you will see tall pines, groves of hemlock, and tranquil forest ponds.
Shield Trail: This moderate loop of 4.8 km takes about 2 hours. Witness the rugged Canadian Shield landscape by following the old Addington Road trail. Walk through hardwood forests, cedar lowlands, and even a beaver swamp.
Pet Exercise Trail: An easy 1.4 km trail taking 1 hour, perfect for taking your pet on an off-leash, designated pet exercise trail.
Location: Cloyne, Ontario
Distance from Toronto: 3 hr
Admission Cost: Check Here
Time of Year: Spring to Fall
Hours: 8:30am to 4:00pm
Trail Difficulty: Medium to Hard
Washroom Facilities: Yes
Contact: (613) 336-2228