Bon Echo is up there in my top 10 favourite Ontario Parks. They have two large campgrounds and back country camping. Mazinaw Campground has 3 loops; Midway, Fairway and Sawmill Bay. The second campground is Hardwood which is on the other side of the park and is a semi-wilderness spot for tents and tent trailers.
We have been to Bon Echo a number of times and also just for day trips. They have quite a lot to do here, more than many other Ontario Parks.
Trum entertaining the chipmunks. My husband says this is #alcoholinducedfun
I love campfires and even if it’s cold, I bundle up and keep a blanket handy.
We like to canoe in Mazinaw Lake and Bon Echo Lake and you can also drive to the other end of the park and do a 500 m portage to paddle in Joeperry Lake and Pearson Lake. The trail to the lake from the parking lot is a nice trail. Clint takes his camera gear and canoe and I take the rest.
A nice canoe launch awaits at the end of the trail at Joeperry Lake, paddle north and around the point then head south and you can get into Pearson Lake, depending on water levels.
We saw some loons, a mom feeding her young one.
We also spotted a heron on the shores of JoePerry Lake. I love watching the herons.
Some views of JoePerry and Pearson Lakes.
Just some information for those that they be interested…………they have one big canoe route, Kishkebus Canoe route which is about 21 kms as well as a few portages, one of them being 1.5 km. We did not do that trip this time.
Bon Echo Lake is a cute little lake to paddle and there are a few cabins there for rent also. The cabins seem pretty nice, probably pretty pricey to rent.
We parked the truck and put our canoe in, just to the left of the put in was a small river going behind us to a small pond.
We did spot a heron in the pond, which you can walk to from where we parked, but he was pretty far away.
It’s a really nice little lake to paddle, picturesque. Below is Bon Echo Lake.
They have some trails and we have, over the years, done all except for the two longest Abes and Essens Trails. There are walk in sites on the longer loops of this trail. The loops are 3.5 km, 9.6 km and 17 kms. We normally take our time, we are looking at things, taking photos, enjoying nature. Near the end of the trail, I could feel somebody right behind me, it startled me When I turned around it was a young guy and I said “Oh you should have said something, I didn’t know you were there” I let him pass and we heard him say ” Well you people walk so slow” hahaha yes but we probably see things you don’t is what I was thinking!
It was a pretty nice trail but lots of steep hills. A guy and his son were portaging their canoe and fishing equipment as they heard there was good fishing on a lake on the trail. He’s a brave one, he had an old heavy canoe probably weighing 80+ pounds. Our canoe is an Ultra Light and weighs 44 pounds. We didn’t envy him. As you can see below, quite a bumpy trail!
Clint enjoyed the walk and there was lots to see.
Bon Echo Creek Trail is only about a 1 km and follows along Bon Echo Creek; High Pines Trail is a little less than 2 kms through the forest; Shield Trail is about 4.8 km through the forest and past a beaver swamp; Pet Exercise Trail is an off leash 1.4 km trail. They also have a terrific Dog Beach for your furry family members.
Bon Echo Creek Trail follows the river. You can paddle this, it’s quite nice.
Dog Beach was pretty great, one of the better dog beaches we have seen in Ontario Parks. We sat for a bit and watched the dogs playing.
High Pines Trail was not too long and we saw a snake !
The trail was pretty open which is kind of cool, you can see so far.
The other trail is the Cliff Top Trail which is about 1.5 km and you have to paddle or take a ferry service (called the Mugwump) across the lake to get to it. You take a pathway and stairs to the top of Mazinaw Rock overlooking the lake. It’s hard to spot but right above the kind of reddish tree in the middle of the photo below you can sort of spot a small wooden structure. That is the viewpoint spot. I took this shot from the lagoon.
The lagoon is where you can rent canoes, paddleboards etc and catch the Mugwump Ferry when it is working. It was closed this summer due to COVID.
Just a few miscellaneous photos I took around the park plus another view of Mazinaw Rock.
I love this wasp on the yellow flowers.
There are other things to do in this area if you run out of things to do in the Park. We drove to the Lower Madawaska Provincial Park Reserve about 40 kms from Bon Echo. There are some really bumpy side roads here and you can drive so far and then have to park and walk to different areas. We went to Crooked Rapids, Slate Falls, Buck Bay and Aumonds Bay. Some really nice spots and we love to explore new places. I think they have about 36 back country sites for camping. This is a really pretty area.
We made a stop at the Irvin Lake airstrip, pretty cool, no buildings left just the old runway. The road to get there was pretty bad but we have an off road truck so no problem for us. This is Crown Land so you can camp here if you want.
It’s funny the things you find in the middle of nowhere. We spotted this hanging off a tree, Clint spent an hour looking for the owner, he said it was his civic duty. lol
We drove to the Skootamatta Dam which was a long drive down a back road and hydro access road but we couldn’t get access to the dam. Then we tried to get to Sheldrake Lake Dam Road but couldn’t get there either! Usually these roads are gated up. We did stop at Skootamatta Lake and it was very pretty with little islands all along the shoreline.
Marble Rapids was also pretty and if you are doing the big Kishkebus Canoe route, one of the portages is here. On to Semi Circle Lake for a look and this is also part of this portage.
So to wrap up, this is a park I would recommend, we will definitely, at some point, return to this one. As I mentioned, it is not a long drive to do day trips from where we live so we may get there again in the next couple of months.
Off to Silent Lake Provincial Park now……………….