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Awenda Provincial Park
Georgian Bay's hidden gem

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Awenda Provincial Park is a beautiful campground located on Ontario's Georgian Bay near the town of Penetanguishine. Hardwood forests dominate this area and there is much geological and human history. Native cultures date back over 11, 000 years.

Awenda has 333 campsites that are divided into 6 camping areas. Each area is a series of loops that look a little like a clover leaf. The campsites are nicely staggered which makes camping a more private. Approximately one third of the sites have hydro. One thing I noticed was that there were two picnic tables on every site. This made keeping camp organized much easier. You may only park one vehicle on a campsite and additional vehicles must be parked in a lot within the campground. Bathrooms are clean and modern.

There are five beaches including a dog beach. Four of the beaches are sand and others are cobbled. One beach is well sheltered from the waves of Georgian Bay by a large ridge of stones and some giant boulders probably left by the glaciers. Speaking of glaciers, you will see their mark all over Awenda, from the Kettles Lake to the Nipissing Bluff. Interestingly enough most of Awenda was at one time part of the glacial Lake Nipissing. Giant's Tomb Island can be seen off in the distance. It is said that Giant's Tomb is the resting place of Kitchikewana.

These are just a few of the hiking trails in the area...

The Nippising Trail takes you to the top of the Bluff which is 32 meters up by way of a staircase. The top of the Bluff is actually the ancient shoreline of the glacial lake and offers some great views of Georgian Bay.

The Wendat Trail takes you around the Kettles Lake. There are great opportunities for bird watching on this trail and you may see Great Blue Herons in the swampier areas. The Wendat Trail visits the remains of an old farm from the 1930's.

You will also have great wildlife viewing opportunities on the Beaver Pond Trail. The Beaver Pond Trail has remnants of logging days and a beaver pond of course.

The Robataille Homestead Trail takes you through the delicate dunes area. The dunes are extremely fragile so you must keep to the trail. From the trail you will see stone that remains from the foundations.

Poison Ivy is abundant in Awenda Provincial Park to the point that there is a live plant in the office so that you can learn identification. There are also some interesting reptiles, birds and animals in the park. This area has the second highest count of reptiles and amphibians in Canada with 33 species. Awenda has a plethora of plants species numbering around the 645 mark. The hardwood forests make the park a great place to visit in autumn.

Swimming and hiking are just some of the activities you will find at Awenda. The park staff also organizes activities, such as the Spirit Walk and the Owl Prowl, that make for fun family outings.

One thing that struck me was how well the rules are enforced in Awenda. Park staff is strict about conservation policies that, giving the fragility of some of this park's features is very necessary.

Awenda Provincial Park is open year round and although camping is not permitted in the winter, there are beautiful cross-country ski trails. This park is a great choice for family camping with activities for everyone no matter what the season.

More information is available through the Friends of Awenda Park website.

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Written by Laurie March
Photos courtesy Laurie March

masthead photo courtesy




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