Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Post your comments, experiences or recommendations for other great places to vacation, camp or paddle.
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Al Les Palace
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Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Al Les Palace » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:03 pm

We are considering an approx 3 week trip across Ontario - leaving FCP after the Tearup June 13th. Plan to cross back to the Michigan UP at the Sault after the Fourth of July. We have reservation in the UP (Brevort Lake) starting July 7.

Would appreciate any comments/recommendations for camping along the way.

Usually spend 4 or so nights at each new place on a trip like this, but very flexible based on input from the "natives"

Activity priority: 1) kayaking 2)hiking 3) historical and/or natural beauty sightseeing.

Our previous Ontario experience is several trips from Detroit/Windsor to Quebec City and a trip from Toronto up to Killarney with a ferry boat back across Georgian Bay.

Did find a fantastic (at least first impression!) new website for Ontario Provincial Parks.

https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/Home.aspx

Havent tried to reserve yet, but info seems abundant. Maybe they copied a bit from Dave's FCP site! Even photosof some sites! Noted that prices are a bit higher confirming what many Canadian campers have told us.

Thanks in advance


Route per Google maps (hope these work):

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... &z=6&via=1

<iframe width="425" height="350" frameborderhttp://maps.google.com/maps? ... z=6&via=1="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=s_d&amp;saddr=Fish+Creek+Ponds,+NY&amp;daddr=46.3286225,-79.4606598+to:Brevort+Lake,+MI&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FaP1owIdj1qR-ymBWDdJdxPLTDFDOohfRdt_cA%3BFS7rwgIdzYZD-ykDUUYppqopTTEpFyuJAVw_Dw%3BFVPYvQIdlzrw-imHGPUROhtKTTEgAsmrKSkyRA&amp;mra=ls&amp;sll=37.0625,-95.677068&amp;sspn=27.504711,63.193359&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;via=1&amp;ll=44.456485,-79.63406&amp;spn=3.14369,10.5852&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=embed&amp;saddr=Fish+Creek+Ponds,+NY&amp;daddr=46.3286225,-79.4606598+to:Brevort+Lake,+MI&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FaP1owIdj1qR-ymBWDdJdxPLTDFDOohfRdt_cA%3BFS7rwgIdzYZD-ykDUUYppqopTTEpFyuJAVw_Dw%3BFVPYvQIdlzrw-imHGPUROhtKTTEgAsmrKSkyRA&amp;mra=ls&amp;sll=37.0625,-95.677068&amp;sspn=27.504711,63.193359&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;via=1&amp;ll=44.456485,-79.63406&amp;spn=3.14369,10.5852" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby CampADK » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:14 pm

Hey Al!

As you might recall, I mentioned Bon Echo. It is pretty much our favorite, and based on your activity priority, I would make it a 'must camp' as well.

If you modify your route to run a bit farther south, instead of the 17, you can hit a few of our favs, Bon Echo and Algonquin Park. This also takes you into the Muskoka Lakes region which is pretty nice. In that area maybe consider Oastler Lake, Grundy or Killbear. We liked Killbear the best in the Georgian Bay area (Killarney again would be a great choice!). This route will provide much better and options as far as camping and enjoying some of the great paddling that is available.

Those that we have been to include (all provincial parks):

Bon Echo, Sharbot Lake, Sandbanks (Lake Ontario), Presquelle (Lake Ontario), Balsam Lake, Killarney, Killbear, Arrowhead, Pog Lake, Lake of Three Rivers, Mew Lake, Murphy's Point, Charleston Lake, Driftwood, Oastler Lake, Grundy, Samuel de Champlain, Oastler Lake... probably a few others.

Here is a 'modified' route that will take you to Bon Echo, Algonquin, and Kill Bear.
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... e=UTF8&z=7

Bon Echo (point B on map) - Our favorite. Great paddling, hiking, biking, walking, touring and climbing Bon Echo rock itself. Been there more than any other Ontario park I think. Lots of history with the Petroglyphs on Bon Echo rock. See http://www.bonechofriends.ca/ . They have a great art exhibit in the park that we have been to several times, its in late July however... too bad. I suggest getting a site in the Sawmill Bay area. If you take a break from the Teardrop, get one of the walk-in Site 164
Click for more info!
    
-168 and tent. Wake up to the morning light reflecting off of Bon Echo Rock!

Algonquin Park (point C on the map) includes LOTS of options including Mew Lake, Pog Lake, Lake of Three Rivers, Kearney Lake and several others. The ones I just mentioned are right on route 60 which passes through the park. You'd probably best enjoy Pog Lake or Lake of Three Rivers. Lots of paddling, hiking, biking options along with looking out for moose! For more on Algonquin visit http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/camping/ . The Algonquin Visitors Center and the Logging Museum are must stops. See http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/locations/

Silent Lake, a bit west of Bon Echo has been on our 'hit list' as well at some point.

If you do end up close to Ottawa, be sure to let us know and stop by! If on route this way, then add Charleston Lake and Sharbot lake to your hit list. Maybe something on the Rideau canal as well.

Keep us posted Al!
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:15 pm

I had my first shot at the new reservations system last weekend and it went very well. A big improvement over last year's system.

My faves are Charleston Lake and Algonquin. Bon Echo rates high as well, as does Killbear.

Charleston Lake has great paddling and good hiking. We go back year after year.

Algonquin is just wonderful. It is HUGE and there are several campgrounds within the park. My personal favourites are Pog and Canisbay. There is so much to do and see at Algonquin and not enough hours in the day. Great paddling, great hiking, great biking, beautiful scenery, wildlife, ... Algonquin really has it all.

Killbear is a very pretty park. Beautiful scenery, great bike trail, great beaches. Not as impressed with the hiking at Killbear but there are a few nice trails with great views.

Once you have an idea of which parks you want to go to, let us know what equipment you will have and we can recommend campgrounds/sites and give tips on the specific parks.
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Al Les Palace » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:28 pm

Thanks to both posters for the quick responses. Based on these inputs, already working on second iteration for trip.

The more southern route looks good. Bon Echo seems to be a "must" - have heard much from Dave and Kate over the past few years. Algonquin has been on our list for decades, just never seemed to have time before retirement. Both of you mentioned Killbear which seems great for kayaking. We also haul bicycles, so this looks good. I found Mississagi which looks good for a few days before heading to MI.

So plan B looks something like

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source= ... ncial+Park)+to:Brevort+Lake,+MI&geocode=FaP1owIdj1qR-ymBWDdJdxPLTDFDOohfRdt_cA%3BFX5zpwIdCDp4-ynVDL3Rom7NTDFqj0RHdypoag%3BFeQ8rQIdlF1l-ykPInjo86DTTDEdPkajjvPqiQ%3BFQhDtwIdumJR-w%3BFeYKtAId7lA4-yl3JD6dYb0rTTEdPkajjvPqiQ%3BFVQYxwIdFDsS-yEBon3q6iOsRg%3BFVPYvQIdlzrw-imHGPUROhtKTTEgAsmrKSkyRA&hl=en&mra=ls&sll=45.413876,-79.628906&sspn=5.752576,15.314941&ie=UTF8&ll=45.413876,-79.628906&spn=5.752576,15.314941&z=6

The routing really looks good at this point. We usually shoot for 100-200 mi/day for leisure travel and time for a bit of sightseeing. Also, this trip will save us some mileage since we have been spending a few weeks in Michigan in August the past few years so this way we do not return to Ohio after the ADKs. And the Ontario prices dont look so bad considering the NY surcharge for out of state.

So 5 parks, 24 nights - maybe two campgrounds in Algonquin @ 4 nights each fills our 24 days. Ontario is too big!

Will continue to work on this for a month or so before finalizing and making reservations. Seems like plenty of sites available now, but will keep tabs on the website,

Our equipment is a small teardrop trailer, pickup truck, 2 kayaks, 2 bikes, and 60 and 62 year old campers

Many thanks again and am very interested an any more comments.
Alan & Leslie
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Al Les Palace » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:59 am

Had trouble with the Google maps link in the previous post.

Plan B currently is

Day...Must dos...............Possible Additions? Shorten some 4 nighters?

1...Charleston Lake
2
3.........................................Sharbot Lake?
4
5...Bon Echo
6
7.........................................Silent Lake?
8
9...Algonquin 1
10
11
12
13...Algonquin 2
14
15.........................................Oastler?
16
17...Killbear
18
19.........................................Grundy?
20
21...Mississagi
22
23
24


We have found in our travels that 3 nights is a good minimum - giving 2 full days to accomodate weather. Four is better but might cut back to 3 or even 2 since this is an exploratory trip. I assume reservations are a must in later June and probably at the more popular parks. WInging without reservations helps beat the weather - travel on rainy days - but dont want to be shut out in the cold on arrival!

Many thanks again
Alan & Leslie
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:58 am

Keep in mind that the reservation window for Ontario Parks is 5 months (as opposed to 9 months for FCP) so you will see lots of sites currently available, but the popular parks (Charleston Lake, Bon Echo, Killbear (!!)) will book up quickly. On the other hand making a reservation at each park is going to increase your cost. There are a certain number of nonreservable sites at each park though if you want to wing it.

We have been to Charleston Lake many many times. I like Shady Ridge and Bayside campgrounds. Shady Ridge is picturesque and ... shady! Really shady. Bayside is more open and has some waterfront (electric) sites. You can launch your kayak/canoe from your site. I am not sure whether the waterfront sites at Shady ridge have easy water access; there are several waterfront sites, but I'm not sure how easy launching a kayak/canoe would be. IIRC some of them have a significant drop to the water. We have never stayed on a waterfront site at Shady Ridge so I can't be sure. Incidentally, the day use beach is much nicer than the Shady Ridge beach. You have easy access to both from Shady Ridge. These days we go to Bayside for electricity and lake access. At Bayside, 242/244/246/248/250/252/254 definitely have lake access. Not 100% sure about 235/237/238/240. IIRC 254 is the last one along that row with lake access. Past that site, the lake is very marshy and I don't believe you can launch from those sites. There are several nice hiking trails, my favourite of which is Shoreline Centennial. Just really enjoyable.

We have been to Bon Echo only once and stayed in Midway. It was nice but not really close to anything. I preferred Fairway over Sawmill Bay, but that is a personal preference. All else was great at Bon Echo. Some very nice hikes.

to be continued ...
Last edited by Marbel on Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:13 pm

Algonquin ... aahhh. As I mentioned, Pog and Canisbay are my 2 favourites. The map on the Ontario Parks reservations page is a bit misleading. Pog is on the south side of highway 60. We really like Pog A campground. There are plenty of waterfront sites, some with electricity, some without. Pog B is nice to and there are some waterfront sites there as well. Some people really like Pog C, but I was not a fan. Can't put my finger on why not. Pog A beach is nice. From Pog you can paddle up into Lake of Two Rivers and down to Whitefish Lake (short portage to bypass the dam) and Rock Lake. A nice short trip is paddling down to the Whitefish Lake campground beach and back. Each time we did this, the beach and campground were deserted. Whitefish campground is for group camping only. Another nice little trip is paddling up to Lake of Two Rivers to the East Beach. LOTR can be choppy so be forewarned. The East Beach itself is nothing to write home about but what I like is that there are picnic tables set back a little bit. If you paddle past the swimming buoys, you will see some picnic tables, find a spot, land your boat and have a nice breezy break. We brought along camp chairs, snacks and such and the kids enjoyed splashing in the waves. Go early in the day if you plan to do this because the tables get taken quickly. It takes about 20 mins of easy paddling along a quiet little river to get there.

When you get to Algonquin, be sure to pick up the campground newspaper because all the maps and trail info etc are in there.

There is an (off road) biking trail that goes from the Lake of Two Rivers store all the way down to Rock Lake. You can access this trail from Pog as well as Mew. Look what I found! http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=639530

Canisbay is farther along on hwy 60, on the north side. It has more tree cover, the beach is nice and the lake very pretty.


to be continued ...
Last edited by Marbel on Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby CampADK » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:22 pm

I'd look at adding a day at Bon Echo since it has lots to offer including a few paddles to chose from (around Mazinaw Lake and to see the Petroglyphs on Bon Echo Rock, padding Joe Perry Lake), hiking up to the top of Bon Echo Rock (paddle over or take the 'Mugwump'), hiking on the various trails in the Hardwood Hills campground area (other site of highway 41), still within the park, Swimming at the various beaches, romantic walk to 'the point'. See map at https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/BonEcho

Don't forget to look out for our 'Camp ADK' name plate which is in the visitors center! Think we had donate money to plant a tree or something years ago lol. I have an old photo album from Bon Echo at http://campadk.com/photoalbums/bonecho20040617.html?1 . It was taken on one of our trips staying on one of the walkin sites back when we tented.

Charleston will be mainly a paddling destination.

Sharbot Lake will be mainly a paddling destination. My memory of Silent Lake is foggy.

Killbear will be big water paddling, hiking and biking.... maybe scrapping your signature in one of those big rocks on your walk out to Lighthouse Point. Maybe add a day there?

For Algonquin, I have an old photo album on one of stays at Mew Lake, the time we had all the raccoons ha ha!
See http://websmith.ca/photos/mewlake20031102.html?1 . A few shots of the park, along with a lot of raccoon photos. I have a ton of photos from all our tripssomewhere... might have to dig them out sometime.

I'll have to refresh my memory on Oastler, Grundy and Arrowhead (another to consider).

Can you squeak in Killarney again?

Considering your time frame, you might be ok without reservations, especially during the week. Some might be busy on the weekends... maybe, but during the week in June, kids are still in school until the end of June. Your just coming up on the 5 month reservation window so you'll be able to see what campgrounds are getting booked up.

Agree with Marbel about Pog! Have been on the trail between Pog lake and Lake of Three Rivers on bikes all the way to Mew. Introduced my son to blackflies while picking blue berries along there once lol.

Not sure when each open, but maybe check out dining at Killarney Lodge (http://www.killarneylodge.com/) which is on Lake of Three Rivers. Arowhon Pines (http://www.arowhonpines.ca/) is a famous restaurant too in the park. You can also dine at Bartlett Lodge wich is only accessible by walk. They'll take you across by boat, but you could paddle I suppose (http://www.bartlettlodge.com/).
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:27 pm

Okay some other points about Algonquin. Can you tell I love it? One of my favourite hikes is the Beaver Trail loop. It's not too long or strenuous but it's really pleasant and you could get lucky viewing a beaver. Last year we stopped at the beaver dam for a break. We thought we saw a stick or something floating towards us. Well, it was a beaver with a stick in its mouth coming along to reinforce his dam. lol! Right there in front of us! We could practically touch it. We hardly breathed, not wanting to scare it away. That was a real thrill for the kids (the big kids too!)

The Visitor's Center is very nice as is the gift shop. LOTS of great books and maps to pick up!

I think I'll move on to Killbear because I could talk all day about Algonquin!

So Killbear is also a great park. We stayed in Beaver Dams campground and liked it quite well. The waterfront sites in the area of 317-326 are very windy so I would avoid those. Another campground we really liked was Lighthouse Point 1101-1315. There is a nice off-road bike trail pretty much the length of the park, paralleling the park road. The Visitor's Center is also quite nice. There aren't many hiking trails at Killbear but the two that we did (one near Kilcoursie and one near Lighthouse point) were very picturesque and not particularly strenuous. Again, pick up a park newspaper to get the lowdown on the trails and their locations.

I have not been to Grundy but have heard good things about it.

Sadly I can't speak to the other parks on your list. I'll be sending you a PM shortly, if you don't mind, with some links you might find useful.
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:01 pm

campadk wrote: I have an old photo album from Bon Echo at http://campadk.com/photoalbums/bonecho20040617.html?1 .


That is gorgeous Dave!! Almost makes me want to camp in a tent. :)
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Gail & Steve Collins » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:29 pm

My Algonquin experiences are quite different. From age 10 to 17, I spent my summers at Camp Pathfinder on Source Lake in the park. I have canoe tripped all over Algonquin, but never saw the park from the view of a TT/tent/teardrop camper.

By all means paddle up to LOTR and Whitefish. Check with current park rules as canoe/kayak trips are closely regulated if you want to go any further than just a day paddle.

Algonquin is on our "to do" list now that we have the NYS Enhanced Drivers Licenses. Does anyone know if power boats are allowed on any of the lakes? There are a few there that I don't think I want to tackle with a canoe at my age. Cedar, Opeongo, and Kiosk come to mind right away.

You will love it.

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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby CampADK » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:44 pm

Marbel wrote:
campadk wrote: I have an old photo album from Bon Echo at http://campadk.com/photoalbums/bonecho20040617.html?1 .


That is gorgeous Dave!! Almost makes me want to camp in a tent. :)


We have stayed on that site, Site 166
Click for more info!
    
on many occasions. It's our favorite walk in/canoe in site. It was always a fun challenge since the site is a nice little up and down hike to get to it from the parking lot. It is also a steep climb up from the water. At one time I converted a golf cart into a carrying platform which allowed us to take in cartloads of gear to the campsite, a bit of a challenge over rocks and roots. Once I took in a box full of fine china and a stereo lol. On other occasions we brought our gear in by canoe (as can be seen in the photo album). It took two full loads of the canoe to bring in all our stuff. We then had to somehow get the gear out of the canoe from the steep rock on waters edge. We were nuts! Those were fun years indeed! When not camping at a walk-in, I think we always camped in Sawmill Bay, tenting as well as with our teardrop. Fairway and Midway sections are nice and flat mind you. I camped in Fairway WAY back once. Was an easy walk through any of the paths over to the beach on Lower Mazinaw. Is the creek flowing into Lower Mazinaw navigable by canoe/kayak? Not sure if we ever paddled up there, may partway? We mainly paddled Upper and Lower Mazinaw or hiked in Hardwood Hills.
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:46 pm

Gail & Steve Collins wrote:Algonquin is on our "to do" list now that we have the NYS Enhanced Drivers Licenses. Does anyone know if power boats are allowed on any of the lakes? There are a few there that I don't think I want to tackle with a canoe at my age. Cedar, Opeongo, and Kiosk come to mind right away.


I just checked my handy dandy park newspaper from last year. Here's what it says about motors. Power boats are not permitted on most Algonquin lakes. The only exceptions among lakes in the Hwy 60 corridor are: Motors up to 20 horsepower may be used on Bonita, Cache, Canoe, Rock, Smoke, Source, Tanamakoon, Tea, Two Rivers and Whitefish. Motors of unlimited Horsepower maybe be used on Lake Opeongo and Galeairy Lake.

I don't blame you re Opeongo. :shock:
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Marbel » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:49 pm

campadk wrote:Is the creek flowing into Lower Mazinaw navigable by canoe/kayak? Not sure if we ever paddled up there, may partway? We mainly paddled Upper and Lower Mazinaw or hiked in Hardwood Hills.


I'm pretty sure it isn't. We hiked that trail alongside and I will have to look at the photos to be sure but I am thinking no.
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Re: Canadian FCP'ers - Please Help with Ontario CG's!

Postby Gail & Steve Collins » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:25 pm

Marbel wrote:I just checked my handy dandy park newspaper from last year. Here's what it says about motors. Power boats are not permitted on most Algonquin lakes. The only exceptions among lakes in the Hwy 60 corridor are: Motors up to 20 horsepower may be used on Bonita, Cache, Canoe, Rock, Smoke, Source, Tanamakoon, Tea, Two Rivers and Whitefish. Motors of unlimited Horsepower maybe be used on Lake Opeongo and Galeairy Lake.

I don't blame you re Opeongo. :shock:


Thanks. I was hoping to use to boat to go back to Pathfinder, but it's a bit bigger than 20 hp. :(

As campers, we always said "Opeongo = NASTY!" And it is one heck of a long paddle.
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