Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park is named after a French explorer who is best known for establishing and governing settlements in Canada, founding the city of Quebec, mapping the Atlantic coast of Canada, parts of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park is located on the Mattawa River and provides many recreational activities including camping, canoeing, swimming and hiking.

We arrived at the park just before 4:30p.m and planned to spend a couple of hours checking out the main attractions. We hit up the Park Office to pick up a park badge and asked for some recommendations for a few short hikes.

We then set off to hike along the Red Pine Loop (2.5km, rated moderate, signed with red markers), which is part of the larger Etienne Trails system. The trail winds through a pine forest and has several lookouts over the Mattawa River.

The trailhead is located in the Babewasse Campground and marks the start of all three trails in the Etienne Trail system: the Red Pine Loop (2.5km, red markers), the Geology Loop (5km, yellow markers) and the Nature Loop (8.5km, green markers). After a few hundred metres the trail branches off to the left for the Red Pine Loop and is signed with a red marker with a hiker symbol.

The trail is rocky. Very rocky. There are rocks of all various shapes and sizes. In some ways it felt a bit like an obstacle course of rocks. To add an extra challenge, the mosquitoes were out in full force. It was almost as if they knew the terrain was challenging and this would be a great place to attack.

Just as we were questioning whether to turn around, the trail leads to a few scenic lookouts of the Mattawa River. Now that weโ€™ve made it half-way, we figured we might as well complete the rest of the loop.

The way back was in some ways worse because of the mosquitoes. Overall it took us just over an hour to complete the loop, which was much faster than the average estimated time on the description of the trail at the trailhead (which gave an estimate between 1.5 and 2.5 hours). I guess fear of being eaten alive by the mosquitoes was a really great motivator.

We then went to hike along the Wabashkiki Trail (1km, rated easy). Wabashkiki is an Anishinabek word for Marsh. The trail winds through the wetlands, crosses a boardwalk and leads to a peninsula in the middle of Moore Lake.

After crossing the boardwalk, the trail loops through the forest and leads to a rocky outcrop that provides a nice view of Moore Lake.

We wrapped up our hike just after 6p.m. From here itโ€™s about an hour to get to Driftwood Provincial Park where we planned to spend the night.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

68 thoughts on “Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park

  1. Dee Min says:

    What I love most about your posts is the backstory โ€”that makes traveling with you vicariously, more intriguing. Thanks for the journeys Linda! Stay safe ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s too bad we didn’t have more time (there never seems to be enough) to spend at Samuel de Champlain as it looks like a nice park with no shortage of good hiking options. The two trails we hiked were both quite enjoyable, despite the mosquitoes.

  2. Ab says:

    The mosquito swarms are the worst! And rocky trails are no fun. But you made it to a beautiful scenic lookout! So definitely worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m always a sucker for a nice boardwalk too.

    Samuel de Champlain is definitely a figure we learned about at school.

    Have a great time on your roadtrip, Linda!!!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We certainly worked for our dinner that day! Despite the tough conditions on the trail and all those pesky mosquitoes (I swear, they are starting to adapt to the bug spray), the scenic lookouts were well worth the effort. I remember learning about Samuel de Champlain in school too. It was nice to refresh our memories about him and learn some new fun facts about Ontario history.

      Our road trip is going well so far. Although there is rain on the forecast for the entire week. That should be … interesting. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. Best of luck getting T ready for school next week!

      • Ab says:

        Mosquitoes are going to adapt to bug spray one day and then weโ€™re screwed. Sounds like itโ€™s already starting! ๐Ÿ˜†

        Week-long rainy forecasts tend to not come to fruition so I hope itโ€™s the case here for you both.

        Safe and dry travels and thanks for the well wishes about school! We get two extra days of summer before school starts on Thursday!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s awesome that you get a few more days to enjoy summer before T starts school for the year. Hopefully you’re having nicer weather than we are up here in Northern Ontario.

        We’re actually visiting all of those parks in the link you shared. It definitely feels like fall up north here. The days are still mostly warm, but the nights are cool. Some of the leaves are even starting to change. It’s very beautiful.

      • Ab says:

        Enjoy the changing fall colors. We are noticing it here too. Both beautiful and a tad depressing! ๐Ÿ˜Š And the nights are definitely getting cooler. Huge storm and rainfall over here last night.

  3. kagould17 says:

    A rugged path, for sure. I do love rocks in a path, they give something other than roots to tri[p over. Kidding. Rocks add a lot of interest. Some good viewpoints here, as well. When we did our hiking in Ontario as we crossed Canada, we found the estimated time to hike a trail was cut in half if there were hordes of mosquitoes. Sometimes, we could not run fast enough to escape them. Better to use a bug jacket. Thanks for sharing. Have a great long weekend. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m usually a fan of those smooth rocky outcrops, but it’s all the small and jagged rocks that can be problematic sometimes. The mosquitoes are definitely good motivation to speed hike (or even run). Thank goodness it’s almost fall and they aren’t so much of an issue anymore. I am definitely going to look into getting a bug jacket for next year though, and this time early in the season while they are still in stock.

      We just left for our Northern Ontario road trip a couple of days ago and are currently in Timmins. It seems like they have no issues here with the heat or dryness. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It would have been nice to spend more time here, but we had other parks to visit and trails to hike. Thankfully we’re up in this area every summer so I have a feeling we’ll be back here soon!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The views of the Mattawa River definitely made up for being harassed by those pesky mosquitoes. I’ve always enjoyed trails that provide a scenic lookout of the surrounding area. It’s nice to get a sense of just how huge the area is and that you’re completely surrounded by nature. It’s always a plus having decent shade coverage while hiking in the summer. Hope you’re enjoying your long weekend. Linda

  4. Little Miss Traveller says:

    Both those trails look very inviting Linda with great views along the way. Glad to see that you managed to,pick up another park badge. They are all so beautifully designed. I wonder if the same person designs them all. Hope your weekend is going well. Marion

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thankfully we had nice weather and were able to squeeze in two short hikes in this park before dinner. The park badges have become quite popular and unfortunately some parks have even sold out for the season. The park crests were designed by a Canadian designer and staff from Ontario Parks. They are quite beautiful and each operating park has a unique design. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, Marion. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend as well. Linda

  5. ourcrossings says:

    The size and the shape of those boulders is quite staggering! Thanks for sharing, I very much enjoy your wonderful photos from various parks around Ontario and have a nice day ๐Ÿ™‚ Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment, Aiva. The Canadian Shield is quite scenic with those large exposed rocks and rocky outcrops. The hiking can be a bit tough though, but the scenic lookouts make it all worthwhile. Enjoy your Sunday funday. Linda

  6. Lynette d'Arty-Cross says:

    Yes, the mosquitoes are a big motivator! The only thing that might motivate you more is a bear! You should look for a bug shirt – they do work quite well (I’ve tested them in NWT where wall-to-wall mossies can be common.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thankfully we have yet to come across a bear while hiking. I think I’d take the mosquitoes over the bears any day! Allan has also spoken very highly of bug shirts. I’ll have to check it out as that’s a great way to extend the hiking season (usually we take a bit of a pause on hiking in the late spring and early summer). I imagine the bugs are extra aggressive up north!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The scenery in Samuel de Champlain is definitely beautiful. It’s too bad we couldn’t stay for longer to hike the rest of the trails, but this gives us something to add to our list for next summer, especially if this pandemic continues to drag out. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m not sure. These park badges are relatively new. They were first introduced a couple of years ago for select provincial parks. Due to their popularity, Ontario Parks introduced a few new patches this summer. They are very well designed and I’ve become a bit obsessed with trying to collect them all!

      • Kelly MacKay says:

        I only just learned this year about National park passport. You can get stamped at each one you visit. I had already been to several, when I found out about it. A great little incentive for people like you and I that make a life out of seeing these landmarks

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I didn’t even realize that there was a National Parks passport. Agreed, it’s such a great idea to encourage people to collect as many stamps as they can. I’ll have to check this out the next time I’m visiting a national park. Thanks for letting me know.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s too bad we couldn’t spend more time here and explore the other trails in the park, but this just gives us a good excuse to return next summer. That’s too bad that you had to work over the Labour Day long weekend, hopefully you’re able to enjoy the outdoors next weekend instead. Take care. Linda

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Glad to hear that you were able to go for a stroll around your city. It’s very disturbing to see the increase in cases in the US and Canada. You’d think we would have learned our lesson by now after living with this pandemic for well over a year and a half now. Sigh.

  7. alisendopf says:

    Sentient mosquitoes that attack en masse in difficult terrain is exactly what 2021 needs… NOT! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Not to tease, but that is an absolutely delightful trail you have there. I love big granite boulders, especially old ones covered in lichen. So very beautiful. Another great trip!

    Are you making a dent in Ontario’s parks? How far along are you?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Haha, no kidding. In some ways I wonder whether the mosquitoes planned it that way and coordinated their efforts. Despite the bug attack, it was well worth the effort to reach the scenic lookouts of the Mattawa River.

      We’re marking pretty decent progress on our Ontario Parks Challenge and have visited 83 parks to date. We’re currently on our big Northern Ontario road trip. The weather hasn’t been ideal thought, but the scenery is beautiful and the trails are quiet. We’re currently in Thunder Bay and heading to Quetico Provincial Park tonight.

      How was the rest of your time in Ontario? Did you manage to squeeze in a hike or two?

  8. rkrontheroad says:

    Another nice trek in a scenic park. The rocky paths make it interesting but sometimes more difficult. Good to have a reminder to bring bug spray! Not an issue here in the mostly dry climate of high mountains (Colorado) but when in humid places they sure can ruin the day if you’re not prepared. I noticed a reference to bug jackets in some of the comments, that’s a new one for me!

  9. jmankowsky says:

    I’m in awe of your strength in forging ahead in spite of mosquitoes! I think I would’ve given up the ghost quite early. Is mosquito season all the months of summer there, or are some months better than others?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      In retrospect we should have known better as we were hiking towards the end of the day, close to dusk, which is when the mosquitoes are the most active. It was worth getting a few mosquito bites though to explore a new park. Mosquitoes are generally the worst towards the end of May and into the early months of summer. They arenโ€™t so much of an issue now that itโ€™s fall. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Linda

  10. Lookoom says:

    Thank you for contributing to biodiversity by helping mosquitoes to generate a new generation. I much prefer to visit the park through your articles. So far I have not had to deal with mosquitoes in Europe.

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