Incredibly beautiful lakes, rivers, and woods make up the scenery of Ontario, some of which are easily accessible through the numerous provincial parks in Ontario & national parks that dot the province.
Families frequently enjoy camping in the front country throughout the summer, especially at sites near well-liked lakes with beaches. Go further away to Northwestern Ontario’s regions north & west of Lake Superior if you’re a backcountry aficionado seeking out distant wilderness adventures.
Provincial Parks Ontario
The greatest Ontario provincial parks are your best bet if you’re seeking a fantastic outdoor break this summer! With more than 300 provincial parks in Ontario, choosing the right one for your upcoming excursion might be challenging.
Provincial Parks Ontario showcase some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Canadian province, ranging from sea-sized lakes and pine forests to sandy beaches and roaring waterfalls. Ontario has 330 provincial parks, which account for 7% of the province’s land area. Each scene is distinct.
Some were chosen as recreation areas or wilderness retreats, while others were chosen as exceptional habitats for animals or plants that have cultural importance, or both. But what they really share is that they open up some of Ontario’s most stunning locations to the public.
Both parks that are more distant and those that are conveniently accessible for just a weekend break from places like Toronto & Ottawa exist. Some of them have facilities like campgrounds and visitor centers, while others offer a more remote backcountry experience.
Here are 15 of the top Provincial Parks Ontario, which includes some of everyone’s favourite locations in addition to those chosen through other outdoor-loving bloggers, in case you’re seeking to get outside and explore some of this Canadian province’s stunning natural areas.
There is a park for everyone, so whether you enjoy hiking, camping or just lounging by the water. Read on for my ranking of the top provincial parks if you’re eager to explore some of Ontario’s best natural wonders!
1. Provincial Park of Rushing River
Approximately 2.5 hours beyond Winnipeg, Manitoba, and just outside of Kenora in Northwest Ontario’s Lake of the Woods region is Rushing River Provincial Park.
It offers a campground with gathering areas that can hold up to 20 people. Or, if camping isn’t your thing, Kenora offers hotels, cabins, and day-use options for the park.
Rushing River is a park that is focused on the water, as its name suggests. It’s a fantastic park for young family members because it offers canoe, kayak, and water bike rentals, have two boat launches, and has many swimming areas that are shallow.
Four clearly marked paths, ranging in length from 500 m to 2.7 kilometers, make hiking another favourite activity.
The Lower Rapids Fall hike, which takes you on a historic portage trail and lets you see some waterfalls, was everyone’s favourite. There are several steps on the 1.8 km loop, but the track is clearly defined. And one of the park’s four sandy beaches is a great place to unwind.
2. Quetico Park
In terms of pristine wilderness, Canada has a lot to offer, but Quetico Provincial Park provides a very primal experience with the natural world. There are fewer visitors than in many similar Ontario Provincial Parks, no cell phone service, no motorized boats, no cabins, and no lodges.
Its stunning seclusion, which stretches for miles, is shared with the Minnesotan Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which is situated on the border between the United States and Canada.
The best spot to be if you enjoy canoeing or kayaking is here. So there are always new places to explore. There are lots of lovely hiking routes. Every day, you can go fishing for food, hear wolves howl at night, and perhaps even see a moose and black bear.
There are many wilderness campsites dispersed throughout Quetico Provincial Park. However, the only drive-in, the full-service campground is at Dawson Trail, which lies on French Lake and is close to Highway 11. Alternatively, you could stay at the Ojibway or Log Cabin on French Lake.
3. Falls Park
Kakabeka Falls, located 29 kilometres west of Thunder Bay, may not be Ontario’s most well-known waterfall, but it is known as the “Niagara of the North.” It is 40 metres tall compared to 50 metres for Niagara, and yet what you lose in height, you get in the throng.
This Ontario Provincial Park’s main attraction is the falls, which are visible from all directions thanks to a boardwalk that runs down both sides as well as a bridge over the top. And rainbows appear all around you when the sunlight reflects off the water spray.
The Kaministiquia River’s rust-coloured waters roar over the brink of the Falls. Over time, the Precambrian Shield’s strata of rock gave way to the power of the sea, exposing some of the world’s oldest fossils.
Along with the boardwalk, the park offers a number of somewhat short hiking trails, such as the Mountain Portage Trail, which traces the path taken by early travelers to the Falls.
The park is accessible throughout the year. However, most water is present in the spring. There is a beach and bathing area upriver in the summer, while in the winter, there are cross-country ski & snowmobile tracks.
Three campgrounds are available at Kakabeka Falls: Whispering Hills (which has electricity hookups), Riverside, and Fern’s Edge (non-electrical).
4. Provincial Park of Missinaibi
A Canadian Heritage River is protected by Missinaibi Provincial Park, which is also a top spot for whitewater paddling. First, Indigenous communities, particularly the Cree & Anishinabe, placed great value on the Missinaibi River.
The Missinaibi River is now regarded as one of Canada’s most recognizable canoeing rivers and a top spot for canoe camping. It takes four weeks to paddle the entire river, which is about 800 km long and includes Missinaibi Lake at the beginning and Moose River at the conclusion.
The river’s first stretch winds across the Canadian Shield & features with names Thunder house Falls & Hell’s Gate; portages guide kayakers around thundering waterfalls.
The second stretch of the river is suited for beginners and is located in the Hudson Bay Lowlands.
Before it enters the Moose River, the river is plain & straight here. Paddlers will arrive in the communities of Moosonee & Moose Factory at the mouth of the Moose River, where they can see historic Hudson Bay Company structures or take part in a cultural workshop organized by the Cree Culture Interpretive Center.
5. Lake Superior Provincial
The biggest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, is located on the US/Canada border. It is as huge as Austria, 306 metres deep, and has a tidal system all of its own.
The hiking and canoeing in Lake Superior Provincial Park are its two main draws. There are 11 various hiking routes, from 500-meter strolls to the multi-day, 65-kilometre coastline trail.
Routes travel through a variety of landscapes, including wetlands, rocky coastlines, and inland lakes. In addition, there are eight recognized canoe routes totaling 145 km, and salmon and trout fishing is permitted.
But Lake Superior isn’t only about the wild scenery; this region of the lake was also picked as a park due to its significance to local culture.
The Agawa Rock Pictographs, Canada’s best-preserved rock paintings, are located in the park. The Ojibwe people painted mythical and real creatures to preserve their dreams and tales.
The attraction is closed on windy days since the paintings are on a rock face over the lake, and you have to climb on a cliff above the lake to see them.
6. Killarney Provincial Park
It is located close to the community of Killarney on the untamed Georgian Bay Coast. The brilliant green lakes, the pinkish granite boulders, as well as the white peaks of the La Cloche Mountains captured their hearts with their colours.
Three of the artists petitioned their local government to designate the area as an Ontario Provincial Park after learning that the region was going to be logged. You may explore the park’s 645 km2 of wildness on foot or by boat.
There are more than 50 lakes, and canoe trips can last anything from a day to more than a week. At Killarney Outfitters, you may reserve shuttles, rent equipment, and hire guides.
There are other hiking trails to pick from as well. The most well-known trail is the 80 km Silhouette Trail, which requires 10 days, has some challenging climbs, and offers stunning views over the park from ‘The Crack’.
Or, for a less taxing option, choose the 3 km Chikanishing Trail, which descends to the shores near Georgian Bay, or the 4 km Cranberry Bog Trail, which is humming with dragonflies. Good stargazing & summer art programmes are also available. At George Lake, there is one car camping site in addition to backcountry pitches.
7. Park in Algonquin Provincial
The oldest and largest of our top Ontario Provincial Parks, Algonquin Provincial Park is only a few hours from Toronto and draws both day visitors and campers.
Algonquin’s 11 campgrounds, as well as other amenities, including a park entrance, logging museum, and art gallery, are connected by Highway 60, which passes through the park.
Despite its popularity, Algonquin has plenty of room, so you can still get away from it all. The park is larger than the state of Prince Edward Island, with a surface area of 7630 km2.
Over 1500 lakes make up its landscape, along with rugged ridges and hills covered in maple trees.
Canoeing is a popular activity in the park, which offers 2000 kilometres of serene river pathways. To reach the wilderness campsites, you can embark on day expeditions or travel further away on a portage adventure.
Additionally, there are 20 interpretative hiking trails. In the winter, 110 km of cross-country ski trails are available, and you may even try dog sledging.
One of the greatest areas to watch moose, the park is also home to black bears, beavers, and deer. Both trout fishing and excellent birdwatching are available. In August and September, you can also participate in weekly wolf howls.
8. Provincial Park Chutes
The site’s main draw is the waterfall in Chutes Provincial Park near Massey, which is located along the Highway between Sudbury & Sault Ste Marie.
Easy access and a good vantage point for taking pictures are provided by a railed viewing platform of the Seven Sister Rapids that leads to the waterfall.
The continual boom from the rapids drowns out any neighboring campers’ or swimmers’ voices. Being covered in the water’s spray for a while is captivating.
The history of Chutes is due to the Aux Sables River, which flows through the park: The park’s name commemorates a log slide that transported lumber safely and overfalls when the lumber business was prosperous. You can swim in some places, but not with a lifeguard.
The Chutes campground now offers two restrooms, five showers, and spaces for tents and RVs. The 6 km long, somewhat difficult Twin Bridges Trail features a permitted dog swimming area beside the river.
Everyone enjoys the waterfall, but everyone’s favourite feature is a wooded, leash-free dog run with picnic tables close to the swimming area, where you can have a picnic lunch & let Rover run whether you’re staying overnight or just stopping by for a day trip.
Chutes Provincial Park, which is just one kilometer from the highway, is the perfect Canadian getaway.
9. Bon Echo
A well-liked family park featuring two campgrounds, a sand beach, and a beautiful environment, Bon Echo Provincial Park is situated in Eastern Ontario in historic Algonquin territory.
Mazinaw Rock, a colossal rock that rises 100 metres over Mazinaw Lake, is the centerpiece of this Ontario provincial park. The rock is home to numerous instances of native rock paintings or pictographs.
You can take a charter boat from the campground or go canoeing & kayaking along the bottom of the rock wall to investigate them.
To get to the top of Mazinaw Rock, which offers expansive views of the entire park, you must ascend a steep set of stairs and a trail.
Families seeking some privacy for a weekend break are very common visitors to Bon Echo Provincial Park. In addition to the pictographs, Bon Echo offers a wide range of other activities, such as hiking, camping, fishing, and boating.
Bon Echo provides everything you need if your goal is to spend as much time as possible playing outside. It makes family camping trips a tonne of fun, and if you’re looking for a more peaceful setting, think about reserving a site at Hardwood Hill campsite.
10. Provincial Park of Awenda
If you’re seeking a less crowded park among the numerous lovely Ontario Provincial Parks to visit, go to Awenda Provincial Park. The park is a lovely wooded region that stretches over 2900 hectares along Georgian Bay’s coast.
Great multi-use trails can be found in Awenda, where you can go biking and trekking while frequently spotting local wildlife & birds.
Due to its proximity to Georgian Bay’s sandy beaches, the park is a great area to go swimming in the summer.
Be sure to catch the beautiful sunset from the beach after a day of amusement in the park. Kettle Lake, a fantastic spot for canoeing, is located in Awenda. Canoes can be rented there.
11. Forks of Credit
The Forks Credit Provincial Park is situated near the ancient red Cheltenham Badlands on the renowned Niagara Escarpment. The park, which first opened in 1985, is roughly 70 kilometres or an hour’s drive north of Toronto.
Summertime activities in Forks of the Credit Park include hiking and picnics, and wintertime activities include skiing on some of the park’s slopes.
Numerous trails, along with the Bruce, Kettle, Meadow, and Trans Canada, are located inside the park. You will encounter a sizable map explaining the locations of the paths and listing them in terms of difficulty as soon as you enter the park from the parking lot.
Head toward Cataract Falls if it’s your first trip there or if you want to do some fishing (which is allowed). You may get there by taking the Kettle Trail, which merges into the Bruce Trail as you cross Kettle Lake. Due to wooden platforms & bridges built to allow hikers to cross the river, the waterfall is very accessible.
12. Park Pinery Provincial
Pinery Provincial Park is situated close to Grande Bend on the coast of Lake Huron. The area of oak savanna in Pinery, named for the red and white pines that were planted there, is the best-preserved forest in Southwest Ontario.
The park also contains a 10 km long sandy beach and a freshwater coast dune environment. And one of the top ten sunsets in the world is said to occur there!
The park was initially intended to offer recreational activities. Although it is, we’re still using it for recreational purposes; it is also meant to preserve its cultural and ecological heritage.
The Pinery offers groomed ski trails in the winter, 14km of bicycle trails, and 10km of nature trails.
Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards can all be rented during the summer. The park offers a wide range of activities throughout the summer, including daily story times for children, night walks led by a park naturalist, and guided walks.
Pinery Provincial Park contains three campgrounds with a total of 1000 campsites, 12 yurts included and is well-liked for day trips.
Burley Campground is the furthest away from the primary gate and a little bit more secluded; however, it is still close to the beach and has non-electric sites. Due to its mix of electricity, trailer, and tent sites as well as its proximity to the beach & visitors centre, Dunes Campground is a more popular option.
13. Kamoka Provincial Park
Southwest Ontario’s Komoka Provincial Park is situated west of London. It’s a charming little park with a hilly landscape beside the Thames River. With a few tiny meadows & former farm fields, the park is largely covered in trees.
Locals adore Komoka Park because it is so close to the city and because it has been designated a provincial park. Despite being approximately 200 hectares in size, the park is the nearest provincial park for residents of London. Many locals utilise it on a regular basis for running, dog walking, and short family hikes.
No overnight camping is permitted, and there are no designated picnic spots at Komoka Provincial Park. In the parking lot, there are no amenities other than restrooms.
But there are excellent hiking trails. They include 11 km of walking pathways, some of which are loops with beautiful river views. To view birds, deer, and coyotes, nature enthusiasts like to visit this location throughout the week.
14. Bronte Creek
The city of Oakville is home to Bronte Creek Provincial Park, which is about an hour outside of Toronto. It has the name Bronte Creek, which flows through the Halton region and the city of Hamilton.
This watershed, formerly known as Eshkwessing or ishkwessin by the Mississauga First Nations, is notable for surrounding layers of the Queenston Formation, a type of red shale rock that is one of the most unusual natural phenomena in the area.
Bronte Creek has a lot to offer. It offers a range of activities oriented at adventurers, including camping in its lush meadows and swimming in its outdoor pool.
For family outings, it contains a children’s farm and five pathways. There are events all year long, such as the Maple Syrup Festival.
15. Mountain Lake Provincial Park
Check out lake just on Mountain if you’re looking for a smaller park that is worthwhile to visit. As its name suggests, this Prince Edward County park has a lake on top of a mountain not far from Lake Ontario.
The lake itself is rather lovely and wrapped in some mystery because limnologists are still unsure how it formed.
The park’s wooden walking routes overlook one-half of the lake, and visitors can explore them while admiring the scenery.
The park is highly accessible because there is a parking lot directly over the street from the wooden walks.
Some of Ontario’s nicest beaches can be found in the Provincial Parks Ontario. The shorelines of both the large lakes and smaller bodies of water are lined with extensive areas of sand.
There are many things that you can find in Provincial Parks Ontario, like the wild Georgian bay coast, giant provincial park, sandbanks provincial park, hardwood hill campground and many more.
Hikers & canoeists will appreciate the variety of paths and rivers through breathtaking scenery, some just a short drive from Southern Ontario’s major cities.
1. What Ontario provincial park has the most breathtaking scenery?
Every provincial park in Ontario is beautiful in its own way and has remarkable views, but some of them are Algonquin Provincial Park, Killarney Provincial Park and Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.
2. How many provincial parks are present in Ontario?
Over nine million hectares of land are managed by 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves by Ontario Parks.
3. Which Ontario provincial park is the oldest?
One of Canada’s oldest parks, Algonquin Provincial Park was first established in Ontario in 1893.