Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2020
We had such a great time in Northern Ontario in the beginning of July that we decided to come back in August. This time we planned to go not as far and to stay for a bit longer. We planned to visit new places that we didn’t have time for on our first trip as well as return to some of our favourite spots. And this time we were less concerned about the bug situation since we were going later in the season.
Our first stop on our second road trip: Awenda Provincial Park. Below is a map of the parks we visited on our second road trip around Lake Superior.
Awenda is located on a peninsula along the shore of Georgian Bay and is just under 2 hours from Toronto. It offers camping in six campgrounds, has several sandy beaches, and features a variety of easy to moderate trails that weave through the different habitats in the park.
We left Toronto after dinner at 7:30p.m as we figured (more like hoped) that traffic wouldn’t be too bad. We arrived at the park two hours later. It was already dark outside, so after setting up our tent, we went to bed.
When we woke up the next morning, we decided to go for a hike right away to warm up and stretch our legs. We first hiked along Wendat Trail (4.5km, rated easy), which loops around Kettle Lake. This lake is thought to be a kettle lake formed by the gradual melting of a large buried piece of ice left behind by retreating glaciers.
Afterwards we drove to the beach area. Awenda has four natural sandy beaches along the shores of Georgian Bay (five if you include the designated pet beach). There’s a few trails that are accessible from the beach area. We first hiked along the Beaver Pond Trail (680m, rated easy). The trail loops through a nature reserve zone and most of the path is along a wooden boardwalk. There are a few interpretive signs that provide details of the lives, behaviour and habitats of beavers and how beavers have altered the area in the park.
We then hiked along the Beach Trail (3.6km, rated easy) to scope out the various beaches. The trail is flat and sandy and provided good motivation to finish up hiking so we could go for a swim. Below were our observations on the beaches:
- 1st Beach – the biggest and easily the busiest beach as it’s located close to the main parking lot
- Pet Beach – the beach is more narrow, has good shade coverage, was the most secluded and least busiest
- 2nd Beach – there wasn’t much of a beach due to the high water levels
- 3rd Beach – really nice sandy beach, but also very busy and required walking at least a kilometre to get to
- 4th Beach – the high water levels have claimed this beach area
When we returned to the parking lot, we hiked along the Nipissing Trail (1km, rated moderate). The trail consists of 155 steps up the Nipissing Bluff, which is a raised beach created 5,500 years ago by glacial Lake Nipissing.
We finished up at 11:30a.m and walked back to the car to change into our swimsuits. Based on our earlier walk along the Beach Trail: we decided to go for a swim at the Pet Beach. We grabbed our towels, a snack and found a nice sandy spot in the shade. Even if the 1st and 3rd beach weren’t busy, we probably still would have chosen the Pet Beach as it provided ample shade and more privacy.
Afterwards we returned to our campsite (#121 in Bear Campground) to eat some lunch and pack up our tent. On our way out of the park, we stopped to hike along the Robitaille Homestead Trail (3km, rated easy). The trail passes by the foundations of the Robitaille’s house and farm, a French Canadian family that lived and farmed here between 1917 to 1948, before leading to an ancient sand dune system.
We finished up our hike at 2p.m and left the park to drive to our next destination. Overall it was a good start to our second Northern Ontario road trip.
From here it’s a 4 hour drive to Windy Lake Provincial Park.