Bonnechere Provincial Park
We just got back from spending a few days in Bonnechere Provincial Park. It was my first time there and it definitely won’t be my last.
The park is located along the Bonnechere River and the sandy shorelines of Round Lake. We stayed at the Fallen Tree Cabin which has waterfront access to the Bonnechere. It was nice to have a roof over our head due to the rain, heat for our daughter due to the cool nights, and a canoe for convenience. This rustic cabin had everything we needed including firewood, a BBQ, and a refrigerator. It was a nice little home away from home.
There is a lot to do in and around the park. We took Lux on her first canoe ride down the Bonnechere River and she seemed to like it. She was happiest at the front of the canoe where she could see everything ahead of her.
After our canoe ride it was nap time but we still wanted to explore the park some more so we put her in her OnyaBaby Carrier and let her sleep while we hiked along the McNaughton FIT trail which is a shaded 2km pathway that follows the shores of the Bonnechere River where it flows into Round Lake. I’m really excited to take Lux back here when she is a bit older because this hike is a great educational experience. There are posts along the trail that act like a “museum on a stick” where you can learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the Bonnechere River.
Hiking can make you work up an appetite and there’s nothing better than cooking over an open flame. We had a nice supper followed by a delicious desert… S’MORES! This was our daughters first bonfire and the look on her face when she first saw the flames was priceless.
The next day we woke up and went for a morning canoe ride followed by another hike. This time we chose a hike that we had to drive a little bit to get to. We had researched different trail options before coming to the park and narrowed it down to a few that we wanted to do. We really like hikes with a lookout so when we saw the Whispering Winds Lookout Trail, we knew we had to hike it. The trailhead can easily be missed as the sign is small and there isn’t a big parking lot like most of the other park hikes but it was actually kind of nice because it means it wasn’t overly busy. We actually had the trail and lookout all to ourselves! It was a short hike (took about 10 minutes to get to the top) with a beautiful view. This would be a beautiful hike to do in the fall.
There is nothing better than jumping into the water after a good hike and Bonnechere Parks has the nicest beach. It is well maintained and the water is beautiful. You can walk out very far before the water goes over your head. It is the perfect spot to swim with children. We took Lux for a swim of course, she’s a water baby. I could spend hours, days, maybe even weeks at this beach… I love it.
Another one of the draws for this park is it’s wildlife. There is a ton of it. Especially along the Bonnechere River. During our canoe rides and while just sitting on our dock we spotted turtles, ducks, a beaver, fish, and some really interesting insects. We enjoyed trying to photograph them (the turtles spook very easily and the ducks will come right up to you).
One of my favourite parts about this park, aside from the beach, the river, the lake, and the hiking is…
It is made from the trunk of a massive white pine, estimated to be about a century old. It is located at the entrance to the Davenport Centre, overlooking the beach on Round Lake. A perfect spot to read a book or two. We read a lot of books to our daughter so we thought this was a really great idea. We knew about the tree before going to the park so we brought along a couple children’s books to donate to the tree. Reading is so important and I am really happy that Bonnechere Parks promotes reading in such a unique way.
We really enjoyed our stay at Bonnechere Park and are looking forward to taking our daughter there again next summer. I have a feeling this park is going to be a yearly tradition for us. Just like purchasing an Ontario Parks stuffy because it’s a great way to help support the parks! Her first Ontario Parks stuffy is a turtle because that’s what we felt suited Bonnechere Provincial Park the best.
“If you instill in your child a love of the outdoors and an appreciation of nature, you will have given him/her a treasure no one can take away” – Ted Trueblood