Bon Echo Provincial Park
Bon Echo Provincial Park
4.5

Top ways to experience Bon Echo Provincial Park and nearby attractions

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Address
16151 Hwy. 41, Cloyne, Ontario K0H 1K0 Canada
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles295 reviews
Excellent
167
Very good
91
Average
20
Poor
8
Terrible
9

lisa a
Burlington, Canada2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
Clean handy paths and ramps for my walker picnic area is sun and shade areas, lots of trails and things to do boating and fishing a little bit of something for everyone
Written August 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leona G
Oshawa, Canada25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Friends
Beautiful park and lake to visit. Amazing views, my first time here and won’t be my last. The water is so clear and clean it was wonderful to swim at the main beach. There are at least 3 beaches. Next time I want to rent a canoe, kayak or paddle board so I can get a closer look at the indigenous paintings on the rock walls across from the park. Bon Echo is a gorgeous place worth visiting.
Written September 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wloo_andrew
Waterloo, Canada901 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Couples
Beautiful park on Mazinaw Lake with camping, hiking, and Indigenous pictographs (that range from 300 to 1000 years old) painted on the huge rock cliffs in the park.

We rented a canoe on an August Friday... they were sold out when we walked by on Saturday. You can rent canoes, kayaks, or SUPs for 4, 8, or 24 hours.

The Visitors Centre is a gorgeous old cabin from the Bon Echo Inn dating back to the 1920s. Campsites seemed nice with a decent amount of privacy.

Trails were a bit buggy so be sure to take your bug spray and then go for a refreshing swim in the lake afterwards! A little shop and cafe offer souvenirs, drinks, baked goods, ice cream, etc. A couple of trails we wanted to do were closed due to wind damage from a storm in May.

A beautiful park!
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mrs Y
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
This campground is a beauty. I love all of the senery from beautifull trees and calm waters. Yes there are alot of mosquitoes what do you expect your camping. Bring repellent for the blood suckers to bad they dont suck fat lololo. Any way our childern had a lot of fun. I wanted all the city and country folks know that there is a place which is not far from the Campground for everyone. The place is called Land O Lakes Farm Rescue. Its a place for everyone. We had an amazing time with all of the animals and the owners of the farm are amazing and genuine people they have hearts of gold to rescue all of these sweet animals. Please stop by this farm its a must see! Land O lakes family farm Rescue its five minutes away.
Written July 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jean-Maxime Labonte
Rimouski, Canada2,364 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Solo
I wanted to do some hiking in Ontario so i went to this park. The Shield trail and the High Pines trail were both great. They also have a beach, very popular. Great spot!
Written July 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Canadian_Guy1000
Mississauga, Canada3,357 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
In 2021 I camped in Bon Echo Park twice, in July and in August, both time in the Hardwood Hill campground. Because of COVID-19, it was not easy to book my favorite campsite and I was lucky when I managed to reserve site #495. Before arriving at the park, I read a bunch of TA reviews and one, written in 2018, described campsite #495 as “private, with full shade and with so many mosquitoes” that the reviewers “had to move to another site in order not to be eaten alive.” Thus, I brought an extra can of mosquito spray and hoped for the best. Incidentally, the authors of that review turned out to be friends of mine—well, the world is a small place!

Indeed, this campsite was very private and shady, and required a walk of 10-15 meters from the car. I hardly ever saw the sun, which was probably a good thing: it was very hot and humid, the weather forecast called for storms, rains and at one point a tornado warning was issued for that area (and a tornado did hit the city of Barrie). Eventually, there was a storm or two and it rained, but it was not long lasting and no damage was done.

As to mosquitos, I was amazed how few of them were active—I used the bug spray on just a few occasions, mainly to spray the rim of my hat. During my second stay in Bon Echo neither I nor my friends used the mosquito spray even once, as there were no mosquitos! In fact, afterwards I camped at 3 other parks and never used the spray, either! I thought the weather in the summer was perfect for mosquito breeding (hot, humid and relatively frequent rains), but thankfully I was wrong. I asked a few wardens if they knew the reason, but nobody had any answer. All I can say is that I had never experienced such a mosquito-free summer in my over 30+ years of camping!

Upon arrival at the campsite, I saw a note attached to the post, saying, “Dear Campers, there is a bird’s nest under the grill for the fire pit. Please keep it safe! Carly and Henry.” Indeed, there was a small and very-well camouflaged nest on the ground, with two tiny chicks and one bluish egg. I spent a lot of time watching the parents bringing the food to the chicks. Soon, the egg was gone and another chick hatched out. I set up my camera and later was able to watch the feeding process. After each feeding, the chicks expelled “fecal sacs” (which are like diapers), filled with only partially ingested food, and the parents carried them away and probably dropped at some distance from the nest. Once I came home, I identified the bird as “Hermit Thrush”. When I left the park, I also placed a note about the nest for the subsequent campers. During my second visit to the park, I checked out the nest, but it was empty—normally the young leave the nest approximately 14 days after hatching, so hopefully all three chicks survived and are now thriving in the park!

Except for woodpeckers and barren owls (which I heard and never saw), the only other animal that visited my campsite was a hare, who surprisingly approached me at midnight, while I was still sitting around the campfire. I did not see any raccoon, which in the past were ubiquitous. Because the berries were plentiful, there were no black bear sightings in the park.

My second campsite #436 was much more open and did not require any ‘hike’ from the car. Yet the adjacent campsite DID necessitate a hike of about 50 meters from the car, on a rather narrow path and campers staying there were getting abundant, albeit unanticipated exercises every day! Incidentally, exactly 30 years ago, in 1991, I had camped on nearby campsite #433, and it was my first visit in Bon Echo Park.

Although I did not plan on taking the tour boat, I was informed that it was not running this year due to COVID-19. Also, the museum (former home of Merrill Denison, who had donated this property to the Government of Ontario to be turned into a park) was also closed. The adjacent building, run by the Friends of Bon Echo, had some books, souvenirs and clothing for sale, as well a new addition, the Greystones Café. I had a cup of freshly brewed coffee and fudge; both items were much overpriced, but I considered this to be my dotation to this dynamic organization.

Several meters from the site of the old Bon Echo Inn I spotted a tree on which a distinctively looking chicken mushroom was growing in large brackets. Then I realized that in 2007 I had a picture taken while standing next to this tree—and the chicken mushroom had been growing on the tree, too!

Because of the hot weather and humidity, I was so glad that the showers were open! I think the shower building & equipment in the Hardwood Hill campground have not much changed for the past 30 years, but as long as there was warm water, I was happy.

The park has a number of very interesting trails; most of them I had done in the past, but this year I decided to re-visit the Shield Trail (5 km).

We had frequently hiked the Shield Trail in the early 1990s. In 1991 and 1992 we had often stopped at the beaver pond and taken a lot of pictures. While hiking there in 1993, we were in for a big surprise—the beaver pond had literally vanished! It turned out that one day the beaver dam just burst, all the water escaped and overnight the beaver pond had turned into an empty, muddy basin. I had visited it again in 1994 and there had already been a lot of vegetation growing in the depression. So, I was very curious what happened to the beaver pond 27 years later. Well, I was happy to see that a new solid beaver dam was back at the same place and the beaver pond was full of water again! We spent about 30 minutes looking at the photos of the beaver pond taken almost 30 years ago and comparing them the view in front of us (hopefully I will be able to post the photos here). There were also a few massive boulders along the trail called glacial erratics-the glaciers were picking up rocks and soil and when they retreated, they left behind such boulders and soil. One of the erratics had broken into two pieces, probably due to the water that had been seeping for years into its crevices, which froze in the winter, expanded and eventually caused part of the boulder to crack off.
Written October 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Arthur M
Hamilton, Canada1,418 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Family
After getting a PTSD in Opeongo Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park from being consistently blown into the wetlands in a windy day on our canoes, I have filled up some courage and decided to try canoeing again in Bon Echo in the middle of a hot, hazy, humid August Friday afternoon.

The trails are great, some signage but lots of forks and intersections can get you lost. Luckily to those who are just going to the narrows, seeing the Mazinaw Rock plus seeing the map of the park at the Amphitheatre is a great sign on where you're at the right path or not.

The Narrows area was gorgeous, people canoeing and kayaking landing in this area to rest up. Gorgeous viewpoint. The clifftop trail on the other side of the lake is only accessible by boat this year because no shuttle boats are running due to the pandemic. Gorgeous view, but I like the views from the lower (west) part of the lake with the Mazinaw Rock.

Canoe rentals were great. $40 all day for two-person kayak or a canoe and $20 for a paddleboard or a single-person kayak. Lots of people out and about boating and then cliff jumping on the other side of the lake. Pretty good sized lake to explore around. Just watch out for biting flies.


Written August 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

There and back again
Toronto, Canada119 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Solo
I spent a few days here solo trekking the backwoods. The hike was beautiful along the lake and through the streams. Inside the woods was a completely different animal, the mosquitoes were bad but it’s expected for the area and timing. I wore a bandana around my mouth and ears and just reapplied spray every hour or so.

But the Gypsy Moths… what wretched creatures they are—sent straight from the bottomless pit, I’m convinced they are Lucifer’s emissaries. As soon as I entered the woods I could see almost every single tree was stripped bare, such a sad sight to behold… Millions and millions of these blood thirsty caterpillars just ravaging the forest into a barren wasteland. If you look up make sure to be aware for any of the hailing hairy worms. Every 10 minutes I would pick 3-4 from my legs as they managed to crawl up my boots and legs. There was always a few in my hair and shoulders as well to pick off in short intervals, but don’t forget the backpack! Those slimy snakes will squeeze into any crack and crevice and begin their diabolical transformation into the forest dwelling demons of the night. I recommend covering your bag with it’s rain cover while traversing through their breeding grounds.

Once you reach your site and begin to make camp you will need to remain extremely vigilant, as soon as you drop your guard their numbers will rapidly increase beyond manageable proportions and the takeover will become inevitable. During the process of setting up my tent I must have slain at least 20-30 (no, i’m not being dramatic. This is real life here).

Now for the Sophie’s Choice — to put up the rain cover? I bite the bullet and threw it on and in turn consecrated the Mecca of the Gypsy Moth legion….. the ground around the site was literally crawling, each step I would take exterminated at least 2 to 4 of these creatures. They went right for the crevice between my tent and my cover and within 30 min of me gathering firewood it had become completely inundated. I grabbed a stick and began sliding them off en masse, but the top pitch had 38 red eyed beelzebubs that were unreachable by the average extremity, so I was forced to undo the cover and repeatedly whack the vinyl like some maniacal BamBam.

The picnic table or chairs? Ha! Enjoy standing the entirety of your trip, unless you like to cake your derriere in the pusslike innards of these imps of the night. Try and place your tent as far away from trees as possible as they will mercilessly rain down all day and all night. The most unsettling feeling, the one that will keep you up at night years later—laying down in your tent at night and looking up through the screen. At that point all is futile, you can only stay so many sticks ahead of the fire. We are tired, we need sleep. But there’s certainly no sleep for the wicked, they will continue to come in hordes, thronging the walls of your vinyl chapel. Any attempt to escape at night to relieve yourself will be equivalent to unboarding your doors during a zombie apocalypse. So hold tight and wait for the cold comforts of the morning sun…

Good luck
Written August 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mayooran N
Caledon, Canada166 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
Bon Echo Never Disappoints ! View of those Mazinaw rocks are always amazing. we stayed in a cabin and everything was fine except the showers were way too hot !
Written August 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris J
Cloyne, Canada4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021
Bon Echo Provincial Park has many wild and also mellow trails to Explore.... The main Beach rocks..... pardon the pun... the view of the Mazinaw Rock is awesome. The staff are always friendly and professional. So many different camp sites to experience... some near the water... not too far of a walk. We enjoyed our stay very much... On Tuesday it rained and we enjoyed very much our excursion out side of the Park as we Explored an amazing Store just to the South, outside of Northbrook, called Explorer's Eco-Emporium 41 .... Everything you could imagine is in there ! A must see ! There are many interesting shops and eateries along Hwy 41. The entire area, North, South, East and West of Bon Echo Provincial Park is beautiful and well worth checking out all of the nooks and crannies.
Written January 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Bon Echo Provincial Park - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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