Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bon Echo Provincial Park

This year we booked our Bon Echo campsite along with a large group of friends back in February. The camping trip is an annual group getaway which has a twenty year history, so it’s always important that we book our preferred campsites during the first few hours they are available. With Ontario Provincial Parks that’s five months in advance.

Bon Echo Provincial Park is located on Highway 41, 30km north of Kaladar. It’s the largest provincial park in eastern Ontario.

Located on Mazinaw Lake, Bon Echo has been a favourite of artists for well over a hundred years. It is also a big hit with rock climbers.

One of the park's highlights is the dramatic Mazinaw Rock which rises a hundred metres above the water and displays over 260 Aboriginal pictographs. Stunted trees, many over a hundred years old,vicariously grow out of the cliff side. Renting a canoe to check out the trees and rock paintings is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. You can even take a guided boat tour to learn more about these drawings. Nearby, a poem to Walt Whitman was carved into the rock decades ago by some of his friends and admirers.

There are many enjoyable hikes through the lush forests or cliff walks or you can relax on the beaches. If you’re lucky you may even see the five-lined skink which is Ontario’s only wild lizard.

Bon Echo has great facilities including boat launches, a shuttle ferry to the rock, showers, laundry facilities, a really interesting and often interactive visitor’s centre (I loved the match the poop to the animal activity), a well stocked store and most importantly, many flush toilets.

Whether you go for a day or stay a few nights, Bon Echo is truly an Ontario jewel.

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