Before discussing the best Ontario provincial parks, let us know what is the correct meaning of “Provincial park”?
What Do Provincial Parks Stand For?
A provincial park or a territorial park is administrated by any of the provinces of the country to protect and recreate nature. In this ultimate guide, we are going to know in detail about one of the leading Ontario provincial parks.
let’s have some words about what is Ontario city and what are the best features of the city?
Ontario city—A Celebrated Province
Ontario is the second-largest province in Canada by area, no doubt if it is the most populous city too which is located in central Canada. It is Canada’s main economic hub but this is not the only main component that Ontario is known for.
Being an economic center, the city is best known for its unique natural diversity which includes provincial parks, vast forests, great lakes, and of course, Niagara Falls.
The city attracts entertainers, artists, and intellectuals from all over the world with a blend of multiculturalism and tolerance where everyone is welcomed. How can we ignore the wealth of native talent? In short, you can taste a whole world in one city.
Ontario is a world-famous province that is rich in rivers, forests, nature reserves, and breathtaking landscapes but there is no doubt the fact that the true beauty lies in the provincial parks which are scattered across the city. So, the Ontario provincial parks are the main highlight of the province for sure!
Let’s dig into more about Ontario provincial parks which are around 340 in number. Let me help you create your nature bucket list!
1. Algonquin Provincial Park
There is no doubt I would say that this is one of the well-known and oldest Ontario provincial parks which was established in 1893. The park covers 7653 km sq which makes it one of the largest Ontario provincial parks also. Algonquin provincial park is renowned for protecting the variety of nature, recreational values, and culture.
Algonquin provincial park takes three hours from Toronto which is the main center of attraction for lovers of nature. The park is home to the amazing wilderness with a variety of habitats from the lakes and forests including 40 different mammals, different kinds of amphibians and reptiles which is over 30, and around 130 unique breeding birds.
Algonquin provincial park is famous for canoeing and camping mostly in summers and the best location is around the lakes most of the time and the colorful display of red and orange leaves will be seen in autumn.
The famous Thursday night wolf howl is another attraction for the visitors. The maple-covered hills, craggy trails, and over 1500 lakes make you have the best camping backcountry experience.
2. Bon Echo Provincial Park
Bon Echo provincial park is located in a traditional Algonquin territory in Eastern Ontario. It is a popular family park with two large campgrounds, lakes, wildlife, and cultural preservation.
Bon echo is named after the wonderful acoustic properties of Mazinaw rock with the bouncing sound across the Mazinaw lake which is a key attraction of this Ontario park.
Bon Echo provincial park is a famous spot among families and groups and it has a unique kind of attraction among all Ontario provincial parks.
The best way to explore the park is to have a tour boat from the campground or to do canoeing and kayaking along the base of the rock face which has many examples of 260 native pictographs of rock painting. These are very popular activities.
The path to the top of Mazinaw rock with walking up long stairs will give you an extensive view of the whole area.
There are not as such alternatives for lots of adventure for multi-days, due to its small size which has 25 paddles in campsites and for car camping, there are two campgrounds. Apart from it, there you can go hiking, camping, boating, and fishing.
3. Lake Superior Provincial park
Lake Superior provincial park is situated on the northern shores of Lake Superior which is one of the most beautiful Ontario provincial parks. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world which is 360 meters deep with a lonely stretch of Trans Canada Highway.
The park is best known for kayaking or hiking as there are numerous hikes which include multi-day backpacking hiking trails and a paddling route for experienced paddlers and kayakers.
It has a rugged wilderness with two RV campgrounds which are named Agawa Bay and Rabbit Blanket lake. There are also 200 backcountry campsites.
Agawa rock pictographs are one of the key points of interest in the area with a huge cliff wall along the lake. The Old Woman Bay is another famous stop where the picnic tables and the restrooms are located. So, this is one of the most stunning Ontario provincial parks.
It is not all about the natural landscape but also the cultural significance of the place. So, if you want to visit it in the summers, this would be the right place to do kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and camping.
4. Quetico Provincial park
Quetico provincial park has a real connection with primitive nature when we talk about the unspoiled wilderness and natural substance. The park lies about 160 km west of Thunder Bay in the northwestern area of Ontario. This can be said one of the most popular Ontario provincial parks.
You can have an incredible paddling and fishing experience here with the amazing wildlife but you have to be careful as there you will find no mobile signals, non-motorized boats with no accommodation, and fewer crowds in comparison to the other Ontario provincial parks.
The expanse of area is 45000 sq km where you can get access through the floatplane, boat, or canoe. Most of the outdoor adventure groups come to the multi-day paddling expedition.
The park is located on the border of the USA and Canada which stretches for miles and has beautiful solitude with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota.
Pretty hiking trails, fishing spots, a glance of moose or black bears, and howls of wolves are the main reasons to visit apart from your love for canoeing or kayaking.
5. Killarney Provincial Park
The landscape of Killarney Provincial Park is unique among the Ontario provincial parks because of the countless small lakes, white mountains, and cobalt blue water with the contrast of green trees. The La Cloche Mountain range is the signature feature of the park because of its shockingly white color which is made of white quartzite.
Killarney provincial park is close to the village of Killarney. By the group of Canadian landscape painters who are known as the Group of Seven, the park was made famous in the 1920s. Nowadays, the place is popular among those people who want to enjoy a day or some hours of paddling.
From Killarney outfitters, you can guides, kits, or book shuttlers to know more about the place. You have to take a drive of 4.5 hours from Toronto or one hour from the south of Sudbury.
If we talk about the wildlife, it is prevalent here as you can have opportunities to see fox, deer, bears, or beaver as the park covers 645 km sq of wilderness that can be explored by foot or canoe.
As there are a ton of canoe routes similar to Algonquin Park and the hikes like the Crack, Silver peak, and La Cloche-Silhouette trail are worth mentioning here to explore and this makes it differ from the other Ontario provincial parks.
6. French River Provincial Park
Canada’s first heritage river became a vital route for the logging industry. The French River has its historic significance which begins at lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay and in the east of Killarney provincial park. It is a great paddling destination with the amazing white water and the lakes, bays, and rivers which are interconnecting with each other.
There is an excellent visitors center that is easily accessible where you will get to know about the history, geography, and other highlights of the waterways. It is well worth a visit. This can be said one of the true gems in Ontario provincial parks.
From the visitors center, you will have to take a short walk, it will head you to the suspension bridge across the french river which can be considered the largest bridge of its kind. You can have an excellent view of the rock-walled gorge.
The south end of the suspension bridge will take you to the picnic areas above the river on the rock bluff. In this area, you will be amazed to see the folds in layered gneiss. So, this is a popular spot among anglers, canoeists, and outdoor enthusiasts and a point of attraction among the Ontario provincial parks.
Many recreational and fishing resorts are accessible by boat or floatplane mostly. The complete package for canoeing, kayaking, or fishing is also offered by some of the resorts.
7. Awenda Provincial Park
If you are looking for a park that is not too busy among the Ontario Provincial Parks, you must choose this place, and trust me, you will not have to repent on it as the park is so beautiful. Awenda provincial park boasts more than 22900 hectares in areas which is an attractive forested site along the Georgian Bay.
If you are good at biking, swimming, camping, or skiing, this is the place that offers a brilliant array of winters and summers. Ontario provincial parks are loaded with such activities.
When we talk about the things that you can do here, there are a lot of alternatives such as cycling on multi-use trails, hiking along with the ancient dune system, discovering the bird species, or snowshoeing.
After spending all day doing such activities, you can be a witness to the gorgeous sunset from the beach site that can take you to another world.
The park is also home to Kettle Lake which is a great spot for canoeing. There are a wide variety of campsites which includes group camping, car camping, or dog-free camping. If you are not an outdoor camping lover, you can head to the beautiful cottages for a homier experience.
8. Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park
Kakabeka Falls is among the Ontario provincial parks which is a natural wonder in itself. The park is named after Kakabeka Falls which is the second-highest waterfall in Ontario.
It is 29 km west of Thunder Bay with the nickname “Niagara of the North“. This is small in area as there are only 5 hiking trails, two of them are more popular i.e Boardwalk Trail and Mountain Portage trail.
The three main campgrounds in Kakabeka Falls provincial park are- Riverside, Whispering hills, and Fern’s edge. It is a natural wonder which offers stunning scenery, an easy hike, and amazing view.
Apart from this thing, this is one of those Ontario provincial parks which is easily accessible. At the visitors center, the Natural Heritage Education Program is held which provides information on the park. You can also enjoy the interpretive program during the time of summer.
And the interesting part is that the trails and decks are easily accessible and the view from the pedestrian bridge can take your heart away. So, it makes it easy to view the waterfall from various places.
I hope this ultimate guide would help you to choose some of the most visited and celebrated Ontario Provincial parks. If you wanna explore these amazing wonders of nature, you must do reservations up to five months in advance but some of them like the French river works on the basis of first-come, first-serve. You can also explore other places in Ontario which are worthy of your time and money.
It would be better to choose backcountry camping instead of car camping. Ontario is a great home for the provincial parks as 340 provincial parks are managed by Ontario parks and the number of conservation reserves is 295 spanning over 9 million hectares of land in this province.
Ontario provincial parks are dedicated to maintaining and enhancing ecological integrity. The purposes are clear which emphasize protecting the cultural and natural features, recreation, and heritage education.
So, tighten up your shoes to have a great experience of beaches, hiking, camping in the parks that are rich in orchids and all kinds of wildlife, and let us know your feedback about your experience as we love to listen from you!
Also read: Things to do in Killarney Provincial Park.