Skipper and I love our little quests. During the long weekend we headed up to Bon Echo on a spur of the moment trip that was SO worth it.
We first arrived at Bon Echo with loads of other excited and eager campers. The check in process was painless; especially considering our booking timeline. Saturday night after a drive by a campground, I was bit by the camping bug. We raced home and ran to the computer. Lo and behold Bon Echo had a campsite waiting for us. We booked and paid online, packed and were on the road by 10 am the next morning.
Bon Echo Provincial Park is located about an hour north of Napanee in the Land O’Lakes region. This region is inside the Canadian Shield and makes for one stunning drive and an even more beautiful park. Decorated with hundreds of beautiful pictographs this amazing park and stunning landscape has been housing Canadian families under the shadow of the Mazinaw Rock for hundreds of years. This rock towers 300+ feet above the surface of the lake and provides extraordinary lookouts the whole family will enjoy.
The campsite was easy to find with the map that was provided. The campsite it’s self was very spacious and could easily accommodate a small to midsized trailer. We selected one without power as we were just tenting. However, with 500+ sites there is a site for everyone.
After a quick set up we set out to explore. The beach areas were absolutely wonderful. On a hot and sunny long weekend they were packed full of families enjoying the last few days of summer. On top of the beaches they have many family friendly hiking trails including the lookout trail which is located on Mazinaw Rock (more on that later) as well as the high pines trail.
If Hiking isn’t for you there is a tour boat that operates beside the visitor center and takes you by the various pictographs in the area. There are also canoe and kayak rentals located in the lagoon by the main beach area. There are many things to learn about Bon Echo. I highly recommend a trip to the visitor center to take a look. They have displays on night animals in the park as well as a little about the history behind the “Old Walt” carvings as well as the park itself.
Dinner was surprisingly easy. We are used to cooking in a back country spot where food prep takes a lot of time and effort. Getting clean water meant walking over to a clearly marked tap and turning it on. No more boiling or water purification systems needed!
After dinner we started our fire and grabbed the marshmallows! Bon Echo makes it very easy to have dry firewood at your campsite. Upon enter you can buy a $6.80 voucher for firewood which is redeemable at the fire lot in ready packed bags. All you have to do is take it back to your site and burn it.
The one thing I learned on this trip is that children have steel stomachs. I used to be able to inhale 5 or 6 s’mores with no trouble at all. Today I can barely eat two before the sweetness just becomes too much.
Pro tip for the adults out there: s’mores pair surprisingly well with Cracked Canoe, a light beer by Moosehead, which is available at most LCBO locations.
After burning down the fire, a night hike by the lake to look at the stars was a must. It was a perfectly clear night and you could see millions of them. Just remember your flashlight as the lake trails are very dark at night!
The next morning after packing up camp and moving our truck, we rented a canoe and paddled over to the Mazinaw Rock. The trail is not very long but does have about a billion stairs. I am currently testing out a new pack so of course I was carrying an extra 20 pounds on my back and in 38 degree heat it made for a long trip up. That being said I am very grateful for all the water I had in my pack.
Also, make sure you head up to the highest look out and place your own inukshuk!
All in all this was a beautiful park. The comfort stations are pristine and water is easily accessible. With plenty of outdoor fun and all the amenities including electric hook ups and a dumping station this park is perfect for all families regardless of the equipment you are bringing along.
Thanks Bon Echo for a fabulous stay and the perfect end to a fantastic summer!