Hike #44: Ferris Provincial Park

Distance hiked: 10km
Location: Ferris Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: October 10, 2020

Ferris Provincial Park is located next to the Trent River in Campbellford and is reputed to be particularly scenic in the fall when the leaves are changing colour. Ferris offers just over 10km of trails through the forest, open meadows, and along the river, which provide nice vistas of the Trent River Valley.

Since cases have been on the rise here in Ontario over the past few weeks, my family decided to not get together for Thanksgiving. The weather was looking promising for the weekend and was supposed to go up to a high of 23°C today, so we decided to head up to the cabin. We drove up Saturday morning and stopped at Ferris Provincial Park along the way to do some hiking and enjoy the fall foliage.

We arrived at Ferris shortly before 9a.m and picked up a park permit for the day. We then drove down to the parking area, which marks the start for three of the trails in the park. We first hiked along the River Gorge Trail (3.5km, rated easy), which features the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge over the Trent River gorge.

The trail is marked with yellow markers on trees and forms a loop through the forest. We hiked counter-clockwise along the loop. Shortly after starting, the trail leads to the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge, which provides lovely views over the river. We walked along the bridge, then turned around and continued along the trail.

There’s a sign near the suspension bridge, which provides more information about the history of the park and how it was formed. After the death of John Berry Ferris in 1920, the Ferris family inherited the land. It was used only for recreational purposes and by people from the community. In 1960, after the death of James Marshall Ferris II, the land became the property of his sister and daughter who helped create Ferris Provincial Park to ensure that the property remains in its natural state and be available to the public.

The park was operated by the province until 1994 until a decision was made to close Ferris along with seven other parks. A group of concerned citizens from the town formed a group called “The Friends of Ferris” who were willing to operate the park, however a partnership agreement was reached between the Municipality of Campbellford/Seymour and the government and the park was reopened on June 25, 1994. In 2001, the new Municipality of Trent Hills took over the operation of the park under an agreement with the province and the “Friends of Ferris” continued to support the operation and development of the park. There are a couple of “Friends of Ferris” benches along the trail.

The trail continues south, following the edge of the Trent River. It then leads to the boat launch, which marks the mid-way point. We followed along the road for a couple hundred metres before heading back through the forest. The trail then loops back to the parking lot.

We then hiked along the Ranney Falls Trail (1km, rated easy). The trail follows the original roadway to Ferris Provincial Park before looping back along the river. There’s a scenic lookout here that provides a nice view of the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge and Ranney Falls.

Once we looped back to the parking lot, we hiked along the remaining trail (or rather trails in the park). The Drumlin Trail System consists of three interconnecting looped trails: Blue (1.2km), White (2.5km) and Red (2.5km).

Drumlins are small teardrop-shaped hills that were formed by glaciers that covered this area thousands of years ago. They tend to have a lasting impact on the flora and fauna of the area and also influenced the way the land was used and how infrastructure was developed. Drumlins also tend to occur in swarms. One of the biggest swarms of drumlins occurred here in Northumberland and Peterborough Counties.

Ferris features three drumlins, with two along the Drumlin Trail System. The Valleyview Campground is located on the third drumlin. Both the trail and campground road are elongate circles with the long axis running northeast to southwest, which follow the contours of the drumlins and show that the glaciers were moving slightly west due south when they were formed.

We first hiked clockwise along the Blue Trail, which leads through the forest along a wide path. The trail is well marked with blue markers on the trees. There is also a map of the trail at each junction to help with navigation.

We turned left at the junction and followed along the White Trail for a couple hundred metres until we reached the Red Trail. The Red Trail loops around the back of the second drumlin. It leads from the forest into an open meadow and briefly follows along the Trans Canada Trail before heading back into the forest.

The trail also passes by a stone wall before looping back with the White Trail. We followed this until we reached the junction for the Blue Trail, which leads back to the trailhead and parking lot.

We finished up all the trails just after 11a.m. From Ferris it’s another 1.5 hour drive to the cabin.


My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

36 thoughts on “Hike #44: Ferris Provincial Park

  1. kagould17 says:

    That is a very pretty park. So glad the community got together to save it. Our Provincial Gov’t is in the throes of closing, partnering, abandoning or whatever on a bunch of our parks. I think it will be a tortuous path for a few years to keep parks and trails open when we need them the most. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Same, it’s always neat to learn about how certain parks were created, or in this case saved. There has been such a high demand for our provincial parks and conservation areas this year, which goes to show how important it is to have these green spaces. That’s too bad that some of your parks might close down. Hopefully some of the communities can step up and save some of them. Thanks for reading.

  2. ourcrossings says:

    Wow, what a stunning park to explore, I am in love the Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge. Are you able to by annual park permits or have to by one every time you visit? We are very fortunate to have an access to most of the parks for free in Ireland. Something to be thankful for. Thanks for sharing and have a good day. Aiva 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge provided some of the best views of the park of the Trent River Valley. Not to mention that the bridge itself also makes a great photo op. You can usually buy an annual park permit, however, they were suspended this year because of the pandemic. They started selling park permits for 2021 and are even offering a discount, so we’re planning on buying one. It will more than pay for itself. That’s awesome that most of the parks in Ireland are free. That’s good to know for when I can finally visit Ireland (hopefully someday soon!!). Thanks for reading. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. This park did not disappoint with the views of the Trent River. There were also some neat geological formations and it was interesting to learn more about how the landscape was shaped by the glaciers that covered this area thousands of years ago.

  3. winteroseca says:

    Your mention of drumlins makes me want to call my Dad to ask him about them! He knows all about glacial valley evolution, but I have never heard him mention drumlins. Lol. It’s interesting they call the trails blue, white and red. Are they trying to add blue to the Canadian flag or something? Lol

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s so cool that your dad knows so much about glacial valley evolution!! One of my favourite things about this summer was just exploring more of the provincial parks in Ontario and learning about their history of how they were created and how the landscape was shaped by the glaciers. And yes, I wonder if they couldn’t decide what to name these trails so they just named them after colours. Interesting choice to do blue, white and red. Ha.

      • winteroseca says:

        Well, I have been trying to convince my Dad that moving to Canada is actually a super cool thing to do, so I will tell him about Ontario’s glacial valley evolution! I have sent the message that I’m not moving back to the US, but I need to convince my Dad that Canada is cool! Thank you! I wonder if the blue, white and red has to do with the fact that Canada was colonized by both the English and the French and they have the same flag colours! Lol

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Haha, I love it!! Just show him some pictures of the mountains when you can visit Banff and Jasper. That should do the trick! Good point, the trail colours could be paying tribute to its history with the English and French!

      • winteroseca says:

        Another thing I wanted to ask is if you have read John Muir? He apparently studied how glaciers shaped landscape, particularly in valleys. It was interesting learning about him while living in California

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I haven’t. He’s such a legend and played a key role in preserving the wilderness, so seems like something I would enjoy reading. One of the benefits of the pandemic is that I’ve had more time to read. So I’ll have to add this to my list, thanks for the recommendation!

      • winteroseca says:

        Thanks for the tips for showing my Dad photos of Jasper and Banff! I emailed him about drumlins and he told me Canada was covered with 10,000 feet of ice way back when

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        What a neat fun fact about Canada!! I’ve been doing a lot of research into the geology of Ontario. Apparently Ontario has some of the oldest rocks on Earth. Hope the pictures of Jasper and Banff do the trick!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was tough to do something different for Thanksgiving and not get together with family. But I’m glad (more like thankful) that the weather was lovely and we were able to get out and get some fresh air rather than stay home and mope. Fingers crossed next year we can resume our family Thanksgiving traditions.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure, this is why my favourite time of the year to hike is in the Fall. Well, that and there are no bugs around. The fall colours were especially vibrant this year, maybe because of all the rain we got in the Spring.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks. It was a very beautiful hike. We had lovely weather, no bugs, the leaves were changing colour and because we showed up early, it wasn’t crowded. This is why the Fall is my favourite time of the year to go hiking. And yes, glad the community banded together to save this area!

  4. Ab says:

    Your photos are beautiful and reminds me of why early birds get the worm. I remember we both visited Ferris on the same day but we got there in the mid afternoon. So you got the sun and empty park and we got the rain and crowds. Hahaha.

    I love that you hiked all the trails and appreciated seeing what we missed during our visit!

    Hopefully this time next year we can all celebrate Thanksgiving with our loved ones!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      That’s right! Funny how we almost crossed paths. And yes, glad we managed to dodge the rain and the crowds (sorry that you didn’t!). We actually got the idea to visit Ferris based on one of your earlier posts, so thanks! I’m hoping that we can celebrate Thanksgiving with our family next year. I read somewhere that they were aiming to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by the end of September.


    Great post! It’s a lovely park and the first one for us to spend the night in our campervan. It was during a heat wave in August and we didn’t think of taking heavier blankets with us. Being in the trent Hills, it was much colder at night and we were soooo cold 🙂 We now travel with a good variety of blankets for every weather 🙂

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Ferris is an awesome park to test out your campervan. It’s relatively small and not super crowded like some of the other nearby parks like Sandbanks or Presqu’ile. I always keep a blanket in our car for that very reason, you never know when you might need some extra warmth!

  6. Oh, the Places We See says:

    After reading your blog this year, I’m thinking Canada has it over the U.S. in terms of pretty places to stroll or hike! Thanks for sharing this and many other beautiful pathways, all taking me away from worrying about Covid or feeling stranded in our condo. You’ve brought the Canadian world to many of us! Happy holidays! Rusha

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I used to think the opposite and that there was nothing all that exciting about Ontario. This is the first year that I’ve actually done some exploring around my home province and was pleasantly surprised at how many awesome provincial parks there are that feature great hiking trails, beautiful sand beaches and private campgrounds. It makes me feel fortunate that we have all this green space to enjoy, especially during the pandemic and being in lockdown. Thanks for reading. Happy holidays to you as well.

      • Oh, the Places We See says:

        You’re not alone in exploring your immediate surroundings. We’ve seen a lot more of Tennessee and states that border us this year. And what a pleasant surprise. We both love to travel to faraway places, but we can’t ignore how pretty the good ol’ USA is!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure. And as much as I’ve enjoyed exploring nearby, it will be nice to start visiting other places! While I love camping and hiking, it’s nice to have more of a variety. Fingers crossed for 2021!

  7. alisendopf says:

    I love drumlins. Along with erratics, they are one of the most interesting glacier features because they occur away from the mountain. They also show how far the ice sheet extended. We have several drumlins clumped together in the foothills, just east of the Rockies. They have not eroded yet, so they are these giant piles of rubble in the middle of otherwise flat land. Intense.
    I love that you can still see the remains of our drumlins. Once they are covered in vegetation, I imagine they would just look like a small hill.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I have such a newfound appreciation of the geology in Ontario after visiting so many provincial parks this year. It’s been fun learning about how the landscape was shaped and formed by glaciers thousands of years ago. There is a large drumlin field in Ontario. Unfortunately the drumlins we saw in Ferris just resembled small hills. That’s so neat that the drumlins in the foothills in Alberta haven’t eroded and look so stark in contrast to the flat land. Geology rocks!

      • alisendopf says:

        Next time I drive by the drumlins I will take some photos so you can see what I mean. There are some houses built on top some of them, which I’m not sure is a good idea in the long term. I’m sure they had no idea what it was when they built.
        You are so right – geology does rock!!! 🙂

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That would be great. And it’s funny to see what lengths people go to to build their house in interesting places. Sometimes it works out well, other times not so much. Take care.

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