Calm water. Misty mornings. Peaceful campsites. Bringing only my essentials, I hopped on a canoe and explored by water at Bon Echo Provincial Park for my first backcountry paddling adventure.
Six reasons to plan a trip to Bon Echo
Great location: two to three-hour drive from the city, making it an excellent choice for a day trip or weekend escape
Fantastic landscape: Mazinaw Rock and the interior lakes
Plenty of water activities: canoe, kayak, and fishing
Great for backcountry camping beginners
Remote sites for a peaceful camping experience
Spot wildlife, such as the Canadian loon, falcon and fish
Packing for backcountry paddling
Pack only the essentials and fit everything inside one backpack, making a world of difference when travelling between the parking lot, boat launch and campsite. I am using the Alpha AR 35L backpack from Arc'teryx. It is lightweight and sturdy, carrying all of my essentials without any added weight from the bag itself. They're also weather and abrasion-resistant.
What to wear
Wear clothing that is easy to dry, breathable, and can be layered. I highly recommend a light shell jacket to protect you against the elements. I am wearing the Arc'teryx Zeta SL shell jackets, which became a staple in my outdoor adventures. The shell jacket is exceptionally lightweight, packable, and water resistant. Pair it with a sweater underneath for chilly evenings.
Sensitive items: Use dry bags, especially for backcountry paddling trips. Dry bags are waterproof rubber bags that can float for emergencies when water gets into the canoe or if the canoe flips over. I use them to keep my camera gear safe the entire time I'm by the water.
Water Filter: Even if the lake water looks clean, treat it with a water filter. I recommend pairing the Sawyer water filter with a gravity water system to supply clean filtered water quickly.
Bug repellent and bug net: Protect yourself from the buzzing creatures with bug nets. June is peak mosquito season. Before your trip, you can check the Bug Activity Forecast on the Weather Network.
All-purpose ropes: Ropes have a variety of uses: stabilize tents, hang food bags and tie down canoes.
Camp at Joeperry or Pearson lake for an adventure off the beaten path. Very few people and motorboats are in this area, making these campsites very remote and quiet. It's easy to lose track of time when presented with stunning views, so set up the tent and campfire upon arrival before it gets late.
My go-to camping food includes dehydrated foods, nuts, dried fruits and energy bars. Roasted sausages, chicken skewers, and potatoes are easy to prepare for the campfire. Lastly, oatmeal and instant noodles make great quick and easy meals.
Paddle around the lake: the still water made the canoe ride enjoyable
Relax by the beaches: A popular spot for families. It was bustling with people barbequing and playing by the water.
Get up close to Mazinaw Rock: At sunset, the sun beams onto the rock, painting it orange! Canoe along the rock to see the pictographs up close.
Hike up the Clifftop trail (1.6km round trip) to the top of the Mazinaw rock, overlooking most of the park. A 10-minute paddle from the Bon Echo Outfitters lagoon will take you to the base of the trail. Ferry services are available, but it's fun to canoe there.
Elevation gain: 117m