Bonnechere Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: July 2021

Bonnechere Provincial Park is located on Round Lake just south of Algonquin and is reputed to have one of the best sandy beaches in Eastern Ontario. In the early 1800s, the area around Bonnechere was once used for logging and in the spring, the Little Bonnechere River was often jammed with red and white pine logs. Today it offers 128 campsites and 4 rustic cabins and provides a variety of recreational activities including biking, birding, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking and swimming.

We arrived at Bonnechere just before 11a.m. After checking out the Park Store, we set off to hike along the McNaughton Trail (2km, rated easy), which is the only trail in the park.

There are a few access points to the trail. We parked by the mini comfort station and found the trail easy enough as it is well-signed with blue markers. Along the way there are fun facts, or Footprints in Time, that provide more information about the flora and fauna and history of the area. There are 13 of these Footprints in Time and they are marked by posts with interpretive and educational text that are based on the traditional local First Nations way of teaching and explaining Ontario’s history.

The trail follows the Bonnechere River as it meanders through the forest around several tiny oxbow lakes. Shortly after starting, we passed by two log buildings near the depot, which were once used by rangers.

In the mid 1800s, the Bonnechere River Valley produced 15% of Ottawa Valley’s white pine square timber. European settlers were drawn to this area to help harvest the giant white pine. By the early 1900s, the Bonnechere banks had been extensively logged and in the decades that followed, the original pine stands were replaced with mixed forest.

Despite the fact that the trail follows along the Bonnechere River, we couldn’t actually get a clear glimpse of it through all the greenery. The best views of the river are reputed to be along the boardwalk, which was closed when we visited. However, the trail also passes by four rustic cabins which were currently closed when we visited. The rustic cabins are located along the waterfront and ended up providing the best views of the river.

From the rustic cabins, the trail loops around to the road, which you can follow along for a few hundred metres to get back to the entrance of the trailhead. We decided to just hike along a portion of the trail that we already covered, which was slightly longer but much more scenic.

Afterwards we drove to the main beach area to have some lunch. We then changed into our swimsuits to go for a swim. Bonnechere features a nice sandy beach on Round Lake and offers a large swimming area that’s marked with buoys. It’s nice and shallow and has a gradual drop-off. The lake was nice and warm and we were reluctant to get out. But alas, we had other parks to visit.

We changed back into our regular clothes and hit the road again.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

50 thoughts on “Bonnechere Provincial Park

  1. John says:

    Wow, the woods are very beautiful as is the very large lake! The river looks like a very slow-moving river. I wouldn’t get in the lake, no thanks! ❤️☺️🇨🇦

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s always nice to walk through a shaded forest on a hot summer’s day. I would pass on swimming in the river too, especially since it looked marshy. I bet there are lot of leaches lurking in the shallows. Round Lake is a much better option.

  2. Ab says:

    That looks like a lovely day out in Bonnechere, and what a friendly and cheerful name too.

    It looks like a fairly well maintained park and the Sandy beach is always a welcomed site. Nice to see a stand up paddle boarders taking advantage of the calm waters too.

    And congrats on getting another crest! 😊

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We weren’t expecting much from Bonnechere since there was only one short hiking trail in the park and we figured we’d only be here for less than hour. We were pleasantly surprised at how lovely it was and I would totally return. Perhaps to stay in one of their rustic cabins. Round Lake was probably one of the nicest lakes we went swimming in all summer. And yes, I’m glad we got another park badge under our belt. We visited earlier in the summer so had no issues with badge availability. This became more of an issue later in the summer and even the fall.

      • Ab says:

        The rustic cabins really do look great! I would stay in them although it may feel a bit terrifying at night time. 😊

        You made it to the weekend! Congrats!!!

      • Ab says:

        It’s just around the corner! I can’t wait either. We have a short weekend getaway booked. Can you believe it’s been a year since the Ferris provincial park Thanksgiving weekend trip that we both did. This year just flew by?!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That sounds fun!! Where are going? It is very hard to believe that it’s been a year since we went to Ferris PP. I remember we had warm weather that weekend, so hopefully that’s the case for this Thanksgiving long weekend too.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        That’s so exciting! I’ve been to Blue Mountain in every season except for the fall. I bet it’s absolutely gorgeous when the leaves are changing colour. You’ll have to take lots of pictures.

      • Ab says:

        Thanks Linda. I recall the last time going was almost 20 years ago for a day of skiing with friends. So I’m excited to see it with grown up eyes. For sure, we’ll share! And hope you have a fun fall Thanksgiving long weekend too. 11 more days!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        Oh wow. That’ll be neat to see how much you remember about the Blue Mountain Village. It’s expanded quite a bit even since the last time I visited, which was only a few years ago. I love that you have a countdown going!!

  3. kagould17 says:

    The rustic cabins look rustic indeed. Are they reservable in normal times, like a tent site? I can picture the logs floating down the river. The river looks pretty placid, but I imagine it changes in the spring. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m not quite sure why these rustic cabins weren’t open this summer. Not all parks offer them, but you can usually reserve them the same way as a tent site. No complaints as we were able to walk around and get the best views of the river from around the cabins. Thanks for reading. Linda

  4. Melanie Gagon says:

    Looks like a great hike even though there weren’t that many views of the river along the trail!! We love hiking along rivers too- especially so our boys can play and throw rocks in them!!
    The views you had at the cabins and beach of the water look amazing!! Cutest little rustic cabins!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s too bad that the boardwalk portion of the trail was closed, but thankfully we were able to explore near the cabins since no one was staying in them. I love how kids are able to amuse themselves and seem to have an endless supply of energy. I would love to return in the winter and rent one of the rustic cabins. I bet the park looks beautiful covered in snow.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s funny how all we had to do was drive for a couple of hours to find better weather. The rain eventually caught up with us, but I’m glad we were able to go for a hike and swim first at Bonnechere. I’d love to return and rent one of those rustic cabins. While I love camping, sometimes it’s just so much easier (and more comfortable) to stay in a cabin. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s very satisfying to go for a swim after finishing a hike. This was probably one of the warmest lakes we swam in all summer. Usually we stay in the water for about 15 minutes (so we don’t burn), but I think we were in here for a good hour. That’s how much fun we were having.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m not quite sure why the rustic cabins were closed because the cabins at some of the other provincial parks have reopened. Either way, I can’t complain as it was nice to explore around the cabins. I would love to return and stay in one of these.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks!! I’m glad we were able to drive away from the dark skies at Driftwood and enjoy the nice weather and sun at Bonnechere. It was a real treat to swim in the lake as there is a huge beach area and the water was quite warm.

  5. ourcrossings says:

    Looks like a lovely day outdoors, Linda and I love how green the trees are during the summer month! Any signs of autumn yet? The leaves are already changing colours in Ireland, can’t wait to experience the full force of autumn. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day 🙂 Aiva xx

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m glad we had better weather at Bonnechere and were able to enjoy the nice sandy beach and warm water. The leaves are just starting to change colour here in Southern Ontario. This is my favourite time of the year and I can’t wait to get some fall hiking in. Hope you had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying the fall foliage. Take care. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for lovely comment. It certainly feels like summer flew by. Looking back, I’m glad we were able to enjoy the warm weather as much as we could. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost October. Enjoy the rest of your week. Take care. Linda

  6. Island Traveler says:

    Bonnechere Provincial Park is Beautiful. Perfect relaxing blend of Nature’s blues and greens. Haven’t hiked in days. I’m hoping next week. Thank for the adventures and motivation. Take care.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m glad we got to enjoy the nice weather and sun at Bonnechere. The leaves are just starting to turn colour here in southern Ontario and we’re hoping to get some fall hiking in this weekend. Hope you’re able to go on more adventures next week. Have a wonderful weekend. Linda

  7. rkrontheroad says:

    So green. Glad you got a swim in! Would love to stay at one of those cabins. In one of your photos, the reflection looked so still that the trees were perfectly mirrored.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It turns out that this was one of the warmest (and nicest) lakes that we went swimming in all summer. We still talk about this park and how we should return and book one of those rustic cabins. Maybe next year.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. We’ve really embraced exploring more of what’s in our own backyard during this pandemic. There’s no shortage of hiking options, that’s for sure. Enjoy your weekend. Linda

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