Driftwood Provincial Park

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

57 thoughts on “Driftwood Provincial Park

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. I’m glad we were able to upgrade our campsite for one along the waterfront. It’s nice how there were no speedboats while we were visiting as the noise can be a bit obnoxious. It’s too bad about the weather otherwise we would have loved to spend more time exploring the trails in the park. Oh well, I guess this gives us a reason to return!

  1. Ab says:

    That is quite a beautiful park with very scenic lookouts! I didn’t expect that from North Bay to be honest.

    Your campsite also looked wonderful, both the privacy and the location near the water. I’ll have to remember this next time we visit is to ask if there are better sites available due to cancellations. Good tip!

    July seems like such a lifetime ago. 😑 Already counting down to next summer!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      North Bay has changed a lot over the past few years. Its waterfront area is actually quite lovely. It’s also very convenient how there are a lot of provincial parks located nearby.

      The campsite we snagged at Driftwood was awesome. It’s always nice being close by the water and having some peace and quiet. I find that the parks are pretty accommodating and are usually willing to let you change sites no problem, pending availability. We’ve had to do this a few times over the years for a variety of reasons (like the site was slopey, loud neighbours, etc).

      July does feel like it happened a lifetime ago. I’m clearly super behind on my posts. Oh well, this will give me something to work on during those cold winter months. Take care. Linda

      • Ab says:

        It’s nice to have your travels to catch up to over the winter months. It will help the cold months fly by. 🙂 Looking forward to when you catch up to your recent roadtrip. That’ll be something to super look forward to! And fall adventures too.

        Hope you are having a good reentry to work. 1 down, 4 to go!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The Weather Network is forecasting that winter will arrive earlier in Ontario this year. So looks like I’ll have plenty of time to catch up! It’s been a bit of a struggle to get back into the swing of things with work, but hey, at least we’re almost mid-way through the week!

      • Ab says:

        I’m sorry it’s rough. It often is after a long stretch of time away, especially in beautiful nature!

        I’m kinda bummed to hear about the early winter. It really is my least favourite season. 😆 Hopefully it means an earlier Spring.

        Almost halfway done the week!!!

      • Ab says:

        Have you moved to your home yet? If so, congrats and how has it been? And yes, shoveling and lawn mowing gets old pretty fast!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        We moved into the new house in mid-June and I am loving it so far. It’s such a different pace of life compared to when we lived in Toronto. We’re also within a 10 minute walk of the weekly farmer’s market, which has been fantastic. The amount of yard work and housework is never ending though!

      • Ab says:

        Ok, congrats! And sorry if you mentioned this and I forgot. Pandemic memory loss is real! 😆 The yard work never ends. You’re gonna love autumn!!! 🤣 The vicinity to a farmers market is lovely. Enjoy it!!!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Thanks!! The fall is my favourite time of the year. The leaves are just starting to change colour and I can’t wait to get some fall hiking in. The only downside is that the farmer’s market is going to end soon. Hope you had a great weekend.

      • Ab says:

        Before I forget, Arrowhead Provincial Park is worth checking out in the winter. They have these ice skating trails through the woods and trails lit by tiki torches at night. Sounds magical. I plan to check it out this winter.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I love that some parks have embraced winter and are open year-round. We visited Arrowhead in the winter many years ago, but it would be nice to return, especially at night to see the tiki torches. That does sound magical.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m so happy we were able to switch campsites at the last minute and were able to upgrade for one along the water. There’s always something so soothing about hearing the sound of waves along the shore. Plus, the breeze helped keep those pesky mosquitoes away!

  2. kagould17 says:

    Great luck on the campsite change. It looks like a beautiful spot. The forest trail looks very interesting. Maybe the hidden markers are part of the allure. Did you spot any driftwood or was that just a nice name they chose? Cheers. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We certainly lucked out with that last minute cancellation and were able to switch campsites. It’s always nice to overlook the water. There were actually a few pieces of driftwood along the shore from our site. The trails that we hiked along could have benefited from better signage, but at the same time, it was kind of fun to try to find those old numbered posts once we knew what to look for. Thanks for reading. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was good timing when we arrived at the park and could watch the sun set right from our campsite. It’s a lovely area and it would be nice to return someday to check out the other trails in the park. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  3. wetanddustyroads says:

    You really had a nice spot to put your tent up! And a really nice trail … love the narrow walkways that ends with those amazing views over the river! And yeah – another park batch to add to your collection 💌.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to score a campsite along the waterfront. I’m so happy we were able to upgrade sites. The timing worked out perfectly. The trails that we hiked along were quite scenic and provided some lovely views of the river and surrounding area. And yes, it was a real bonus to add another park badge to my collection!

  4. ourcrossings says:

    Sounds like you had a lovely visit. Just looking at your pictures makes me wanna go camping, but as it’s raining nearly every day now in Ireland, our next camping trip is just a mere eight or so months away! I know that camping late in the year means that campgrounds aren’t as busy, there are fewer bugs, and you get to see your favourite landscapes in a different season, but even layering up with plenty of clothes, and bringing that heavy-duty sleeping bag won’t keep the dampness out. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Camping in the rain is never fun, especially when you’re in a tent. Agreed, everything always feels damp. And if you get something wet, it’s impossible to dry. That’s exciting that you have a camping trip to look forward to. Eight months seems like forever, but it’ll be here before we know it. Take care. Linda

  5. Island Traveler says:

    You made my day today. Thanks. Whenever I want to relax, be happy, I close my eyes and imagine being next to nature I love. Today, didn’t have to do that, Nature came beautifully through your post. 🙏☀️♥️

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and lovely comment. Nature is definitely my happy place and helps soothe my soul. I feel fortunate that we’ve been able to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer. Take care. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m glad we were able to snag a campsite along the waterfront at the last minute. It’s always a real treat to be by the water and even better when the campsite is secluded. I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was given we camped here over the Canada Day long weekend.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      There’s always something so relaxing and soothing about being by the water. It was good timing that we were able to upgrade campsites and arrived at our site in time to watch the sun set. I have a feeling we’ll be back.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even when I’m at home I like to listen to white noise to fall asleep and I usually pick something water related like the sound of waves or rain. I find it so soothing and it helps block out the background noise. Needless to say, we got a good night’s sleep at Driftwood. Thanks for reading and commenting. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I feel very fortunate to live by a lot of parks and green spaces. If it weren’t for spending time outdoors I would probably go crazy during this pandemic. I’m sure those views of the mountains never get old. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  6. Book Club Mom says:

    This looks like another good trip. I’ve been noticing your patches. Are you collecting those to document your trips? I’m guessing you can get them at each park? These pictures are also so peaceful – I love seeing the trees against the water.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It sure was. We’re fortunate that we had pretty nice weather during our road trip, which makes a huge difference. Camping in the rain is never fun.

      All of the operating provincial parks in Ontario have their own unique crest, which comes in the form of either a sticker or a badge. Since we’re trying to visit as many parks as we can this year, I thought it would be neat to collect the badges as well. The only issue is that our parks have become so popular this year that many parks sold out of their crests early in the summer. Oh well, I guess this gives us a good excuse to return to some of these place that we were unable to get a badge from!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. I’m glad we were able to switch sites for one along the waterfront as the views were beautiful. It’s always great to spend time in nature to slow down and recharge.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s been fun exploring the different landscapes in Ontario. Driftwood is such a charming provincial park with a small campground and plenty of hiking trails. We ended up leaving early as it was supposed to rain, but I would love to return to hike the remainder of the trails.

Leave a Reply