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 we’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 it’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