A few weekends ago, the third camping trip of the summer: a visit to Bon Echo Provincial Park just north of Kaladar, Ontario, some three hours drive east of Toronto. At the beginning of mosquito season with a hot and sunny weather forecast, it was two great memorable nights in the backcountry.
Bon Echo is a very popular park with a large number of drive-in sites suitable for casual car and trailer camping. For those looking for a more remote and isolated experience, there are a handful of paddle-in sites at nearby Joeperry Lake that offer easy backwoods locations without strenuous portages (though a 500m carry from the parking lot to the access point could qualify as a portage).
The park features several lakes including Mazinaw Lake, the second deepest in the province. Here the primary attraction is the Mazinaw Rock, a massive 100m granite escarpment rising straight out of the southeastern shore. There is a short trail that leads to several lookout platforms at the top of the cliff, with great views of the surrounding areas – the Cliff Top Trail is accessible by canoe, or you can hop on the ferry boat shuttle that runs a small loop on the lake.
You can also paddle along the length of Mazinaw Rock and discover some of the over 260 pictographs that adorn the side of the cliff. This is one of Canada’s largest collections of visible Aboriginal rock paintings. Look up, and you’ll likely see a number of climbers scaling the heights, as this is also one of Ontario’s premier rock climbing destinations.