Awenda Provincial Park
Georgian Bay's hidden gem
©Outdoor Adventure Canada
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.
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
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