Amable du Fond River Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Amable du Fond River Provincial Park is a non-operating waterway park that was created to provide and protect an ecological link between Algonquin Provincial Park and Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park. The river was named after Amable Dufond, a Native hunter and trapper who lived in this area in the mid-19th century. At one time the river was used to transport logs downstream to the Mattawa River.

There are a few places to access Amable du Fond River, all of which involve having a boat or canoe. Since we have neither and we weren’t planning on renting anything, we instead visited Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area which contains a single hiking trail that follows along the shore of the Amable du Fond River.

Entrance into the conservation area is located off of Highway 17, just north of Algonquin. There’s a map of the trail in the parking lot near the trailhead. The entire trail system is 2.8km in length, but there are a series of shortcuts to make the hike shorter if necessary. Along the way there are 12 marked sites.

The trail loops through the forest and follows along the side of a steep gorge. The path is wide, relatively flat and well marked. The first few interpretive sites along the trail highlight that this area is a mixed forest and was once used for logging as early as the 1850s.

As we neared the gorge we could hear the sounds of rushing water. At first we could only catch glimpses of the rapids between the trees. The first good views of the river are between sites #7 (start of the historic log slide that were used to transport logs safely downstream), #8 (great view of the Eau Claire Gorge), and #9 (end of the historic log slide).

After crossing a bridge, we arrived at site #10, which was flooded by Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The trail then leads to the historic squatter’s cabin at site #11. This logger’s cabin was reconstructed in 1989 and is open for day-use only. Apparently a squatter, who was also a fugitive, lived here for several years. Today the cabin contains a wooden bed along with a table and some chairs. The door was open so naturally we poked around inside to check it out.

After that there is one last site (#12 – forest management) before the path loops back to the trailhead. Overall it took us 45 minutes to complete the trail. From here it’s a short drive to the next park on our itinerary at Samuel de Champlain.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

57 thoughts on “Amable du Fond River Provincial Park

  1. Ab says:

    A very interesting park that I’ve never heard of! The views of the rushing River are quite scenic. Would you dare stay overnight at that squatters cabin? 😆

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We might have cheated a bit with this one since we technically hiked along a trail that was part of the Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area and not the Amable du Fond River Provincial Park. But I think it still counts as we got to enjoy the views from the river, which is maybe part of the provincial park? Either way, I still think it counts.

      Sleeping in that cabin sounds super creepy. I’d rather sleep inside my car. Hard pass!!

      • Ab says:

        It definitely still counts! 😆

        Good luck with your trip today. The big day is here and the weather is beautiful. Enjoy it and hope you post regular updates!!!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks! We certainly had beautiful weather to kick start our trip. But today, or rather tonight, not so much. The weather forecast is calling for 15mm of rain overnight (and it’s cold) so we ditched our campsite and decided to stay in a hotel in Timmins. Hope you’re enjoying your long weekend so far.

      • Ab says:

        I’m very sorry about the rainy weather. Good call to stay at a hotel rather than have a sloppy evening.

        That’s great you’ve made it to Timmins already. That was on our cancelled roadtrip itinerary this summer. Say hi to Shania for us! 😆

        Enjoy the rest of your long weekend and trip!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        So far we seemed to have dodged the bulk of the rain while driving or by staying in a hotel overnight. We decided to ditch our campsite again tonight and stay in another hotel as much of Northern Ontario is under a heavy rainfall warning.

        Timmins was a bit underwhelming, but there are a few really nice provincial parks nearby. We were hoping to visit the Shania Twain Centre, but apparently it’s been closed since 2013!! That’s too bad.

      • Ab says:

        Yikes, too bad to hear that Timmins was underwhelming and the Shania Centre was closed. But glad to hear you were able to get hotels in Northern Ontario at short notice. I know we had trouble last summer with it.

        I hope the rest of your trip is less rainy and filled with surprises of the good kind!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thankfully we’ve had some warm and sunny days this week. We’re currently making the drive along the shores of Lake Superior. We’ll be spending the day at Pukawaska National Park.

      • Ab says:

        So nice to hear from you, Linda. And very happy (and jealous) you’re in the beautiful shores of Lake Superior. Glad you are having better weather. How is the fall foliage there? Enjoy the rest of your trip!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks!! Fall is definitely in full swing up North, especially around Lake Superior. We came home from our road trip late last night. I’m so not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

      • Ab says:

        I’m sorry that you’re back but the drive back must’ve been heavenly. I just saw an ad for Fall in Northern Ontario. If T didn’t have school, I’d totally book a week off to explore the drive to Thunder Bay in autumn. Good luck with reentry tomorrow!

  2. kagould17 says:

    A hike by a gorge filled with rushing water. Sounds perfect. Glad you were able to access a stretch of this river for your hike. It looks like quite the rustic life in the squatter’s cabin. Was there wi-fi? Ha Ha. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to hear the sounds of rushing water. We never really know what to expect with some of these non-operating parks. I’m glad we were able to visit the Eau Claire Gorge Conservation Area to at least view the gorge and river. I don’t think this area has good reception in general. Not sure how I’d feel about spending a night in that cabin let alone living there! No thanks. Thanks for reading. Linda

  3. Kathryn says:

    We hiked there a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Your pictures are great. If you are still in the area, you should hike into Talon Shute – part of the Mattawa River Provincial Park. Some really interesting potholes.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s a lovely little conservation area and I was impressed at how the trail was so well-signed. Thanks for the recommendation about hiking into Talon Shute. I’ll have to add this to our list for the next time we’re in the North Bay area. Have a wonderful Labour Day long weekend. Take care. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Not sure how I would feel canoeing along this stretch of the river either. I imagine that there must be some sort of really long portage to skip the rapids. Either way I don’t think my canoeing or portaging abilities could handle this!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s always something so peaceful and soothing about walking along the water. The views of the river along this trail are beautiful. It’s always nice to have some shade coverage from the trees when hiking in the summer. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I love the sound of water too and find it so relaxing, whether it’s the sound of rain, rushing water, or waves crashing into the shore. When I can’t sleep at night I’ll tend to listen to water sounds. Thanks for reading. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Haha, yes I suppose this does sound and look very Canadian! This was a nice little conservation area that provided some great views of the river. We’re not sure whether this portion of the river was part of the Amable du Fond River Provincial Park, but we’re counting it anyway! Have a wonderful long weekend. Have you moved yet?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was a bit of an adventure to get to the conservation area, but the trail itself was very well maintained and well-signed. It was a great place to see (and hear) the rapids and falls up close. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. I enjoyed hearing the sounds of rushing water as we hiked along the river. It was a nice detour and a great way to stretch our legs along the drive. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  4. alisendopf says:

    Rushing water! So gorgeous. Our drought has been so bad, that I can almost feel and taste that water rushing down the gorge.

    I love that cabin. It’s about as nice as any ACC hut here in Alberta. All it needs is a foam mattress, and it’s good to go!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We’ve had a hot and dry summer in Southern Ontario too, but it seems like Northern Ontario has received no shortage of it! This conservation area was a nice way to enjoy the river and we’re still counting this as a visit to the Amable du Fond Provincial Park. It’s always neat to come across these old cabins and it’s always great to find shelter on the trail just in case.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I find it so soothing to hear the sounds of rushing water. It was a great signal to let us know we were getting closer to the gorge. It was a relatively short and easy trail, but it was a nice break after spending the past few days hiking.

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