Length of stay: 2 days
Visited: July 2021
Driftwood Provincial Park is situated in a sheltered bay along the southern shore of the Ottawa River. It offers around 80 campsites, most of which are on the waterfront, and provides a number of water-based recreational activities including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating and fishing. It also offers a few hiking trails that provide sweeping views of the Ottawa River, Upper Ottawa Valley and Laurentian Hills.
Day 1: Sunset
After spending an action-packed day exploring a few provincial parks near North Bay, we finally arrived at our destination for the night at Driftwood. We rolled into the park just after 7:30p.m and checked in at the Park Office. We managed to switch sites and upgrade for one along the water due to a last minute cancellation.
We lucked out as our new site (#121) was not only along the water, but was at the very end of the campground, which meant that we were pretty secluded. Besides having a nice view, the other benefit to being near the water was that the breeze helped keep the mosquitoes away. It also helped dry off our tent from the rain we received the night before while camping at Windy Lake.
We set up our tent to let it dry out while we made dinner. Afterwards we hung out at our picnic table and watched the sun set before heading to bed. It was very soothing to hear the sound of water lapping up against the shore and the occasional piece of driftwood.
Day 2: The Oak Highland Trail
The forecast was calling for rain later in the day so we wanted to get an early start to our day. Soon after waking up, we decided to hike along the Oak Highland Trail, which consists of two connected loops: Riverview Trail (1km) and the Beaver Pond Trail (2.3km). The trailhead is located near the boat launch and day-use area.
We first hiked along the Riverview Trail, which follows along the shoreline of the Ottawa River. After a couple hundred metres we were already rewarded with a great view of the dock and beach area.
The trail is signed with yellow markers, winds up a rocky outcrop and provides a few panoramic views of the water and surrounding area.
The trail connects with the Beaver Pond Trail to form a longer loop through the forest. The turnoff for the Beaver Pond Trail is signed with a blue marker. If we weren’t paying attention, we might have missed it as the path is quite narrow.
The Beaver Pond Trail is signed with a combination of blue markers and what looked like a few legacy numbered posts from #1 to #7. Some of the numbered posts contained some interesting information about the area, but it looks like they aren’t being maintained as they were clearly outdated and a few were missing. We kept a lookout for the numbered posts though as they often led to the best views along the trail.
It became a bit of a scavenger hunt for us to find the numbered posts as they weren’t always easy to spot or located on the main path. Post #7 was the most challenging to find, but was well worth the effort. It leads to a beaver pond, perhaps the one the trail was named after?
By the time we wrapped up our hike, the clouds were starting to roll in and it was overcast. We drove back to our campsite to make breakfast and take down our tent. We initially planned to hike the other trail system in the park, Chevier Creek Trails which consists of four connected trails, but it looked like it was going to start raining. So we decided to move on and hopefully drive to better weather.
My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here