Instead of a traditional trip report, I’ve drafted a list of my favourite things to do while car camping at Grundy Lake Provincial Park. I’ve been there many times – it’s my 2nd favourite place for car camping (after Lake Superior Provincial Park).
In no particular order:
1. Do the jumping off rocks on Gut Lake
The jumping off rocks are accessed from a path between sites 22 and 24 in White Spruce campground. The best part is that there are small jumps and big jumps, so there’s something for everyone brave enough to jump a couple of feet (or 15!). You can jump while wearing a lifejacket if you want to. There are ropes to help you get out of the water. Sometimes, all but one of us swims back to the dock by the Ampitheatre and we walk back to our campsite from there – the last person gets stuck carrying everyone’s sandals, towels etc.
2. Hike the Swan Lake trail
This trail is just 1.5 km long, but has some beautiful terrain and opportunities to spot wildlife – in particular at the start/end. There are frogs, snakes, turtles and more to be found. One year, we spotted 23 turtles sunning themselves on logs.
3. Participate in the many fabulous programs put on by the park staff
We have done many programs at Grundy, from Art in the Park, to guided night hikes (no flashlights) looking for glow worms and listening for owls, to musical performances, presentations by turtle and snake researchers, and lots more. There are programs for families, kids, and adults only. The staff are fantastic and the programs educational!
4. Canoe or kayak from Grundy Lake to Gut Lake
In past years the water levels were higher, so that we could actually paddle between the two lakes. Now you have to get out of the boat and drag it to deeper water several times as you go. It’s still fun!
5. Swim at the main beach
We miss the floating dock that used to be at the main beach, but we still enjoy swimming there and building sandcastles.
6. Spot wildlife
In previous years, we have spotted turtles, snakes, foxes and raccoons, but this year, we had a different sort of visitor close to our campsite (twice). Unfortunately the bear didn’t seem too bothered by people. Early morning and dusk can be great times to see animals, but you can also see things in the middle of the day. Take a look in a wetland area and see what you find!
7. Ride bicycles to the Grundy Lake Supply Post for an ice cream
This year, our bike ride became a ride for 3 and drive for 1 when Alasdair got a flat on his mountain bike. It took us less than 20 minutes to ride there from our site, and our ice cream was inexpensive and delicious!
8. Run (or bike or walk!) to Pakeshkag Lake
I had a 90 minute run on my training schedule, so I headed first for Pakeshkag Lake. It’s a pretty quiet dirt road, which gets more scenic once you pass the last of the campgrounds (Poplar). On my way to the lake, which ended up being about 5 km from our campsite, I spotted a grouse and an endangered Blanding’s turtle! And lots of annoying flying things, one of which stung me on the ear. There were a few people fishing when I got to the lake. This is also one spot where you can access some of the park’s backcountry canoe sites, which we have done a couple of times before.
9. Drive 10 minutes north to explore the French River Provincial Park visitor centre, suspension bridge, and hike the 4 km trail to the beautiful Recollet Falls
The French River Provincial Park visitor centre is very nice, and also has a small gift store. The trail to Recollet Falls is not difficult, but rewards you with a beautiful view. Be sure to walk across the suspension bridge too and have a look at the spectacular French River!
10. Drive 1 hour north to Sudbury to spend the day at Science North
I can’t say enough about Science North. It is just fantastic. The staff (called “Blue Coats” for the blue lab coats they wear) are terrific. The mini shows (for example, about flying squirrels, complete with jumping squirrels) are short, frequent, and fun. There are different exhibits to explore, hands on activities (including the ability to hold things like giant snails and tarantulas!), an IMAX theatre, and even a “Nature Exchange“, where kids can trade points for cool things like rocks, dried butterflies, and bird nests! Bring something from home (not from a Provincial Park), trade it for points, and then find something you like to bring home. Or, if you have nothing to trade, do a quiz (one time only), finding the answers in the exhibits on the Nature Exchange floor, earns points, and then trade! Kids can even do research at home, put together a project, and bring it in for points. We spent the entire day there on our last visit, and could have spent even longer. Usually, we head for Science North on the first bad weather day of our trip.
There are many more things to do at Grundy Lake! Watching beautiful sunsets from the Maple campground rocks, the rock slides in the Maple campground, volleyball on the beach, fishing (including learn to fish programs), backcountry camping, biking on the campground roads, exploring the 7 lakes within the park, playing baseball against park staff, hiking the Beaver Dam trail and Gut Lake trail, and more! Try it – you’ll love it.
You might also want to check out:
- My 10 favourite things to do while camping at Lake Superior Provincial Park
- My 10 favourite things to do while camping at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
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