Port Burwell Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2021

Port Burwell is located along the shore of Lake Erie and is reputed to be one of the best locations in southern Ontario to see the spring and fall migration of Monarch butterflies, blue jays, dragonflies, hawks, vultures and eagles. It also features a nice sandy beach where the water is warm and shallow and two hiking trails that weave through the different habitats of the park.

We arrived in Port Burwell in the late afternoon and decided to get down to business right away by hiking the two trails in the park. Both are relatively short, so we figured it wouldn’t take us long.

We first hiked along the Ravine Creek Trail (1km, rated easy), which is located in the campground by the amphitheater. The trail leads through a ravine and forest. It is signed with 12 numbered posts that correspond to a brochure at the trailhead that contains information on the local geology, flora and fauna in the park.

The trail connects with the other trail in the park at marker #12. The Beach Trail (1.5km) traverses a 20 metre bluff and is reputed to provide a nice view of Lake Erie. We didn’t see much of a nice view of the lake, but perhaps it’s more scenic in the spring and winter when there are no leaves on the trees.

The trail ends at the road, which provides access to the beach. We instead turned around and walked back the way we came as we planned to just drive to the beach area afterwards. The trail meets back up with the Ravine Trail, which we followed to complete the loop.

We then drove to the Park Store. While they didn’t have any park crests, we did pick up some ice cream instead as a consolation prize. This time we shared. We went with the Bordeaux Cherry.

We walked down to the beach and sat on the sand to eat our ice cream. Afterwards I dipped my toes in the water. I would have loved to go swimming here, but we were getting hungry and still needed to drive to Turkey Point Provincial Park and set up our tent.

Before heading out, we checked out the two lighthouses in the area, starting with the Port Burwell Entrance Lighthouse, which is located at the end of the pier at Port Burwell East Beach.

The Port Burwell Lighthouse is also located near the pier at the mouth of Big Otter Creek. It is Canada’s oldest wooden lighthouse on the shore of Lake Erie and one of the oldest surviving lights in Canada. It was built in 1840 and was operational until 1962. It was used to help navigate the commercial shipping of local timber on Lake Erie.

We hopped back in the car and drove to Turkey Point, our final destination for the night.


My progress on the Ontario Parks Challenge can be found here

40 thoughts on “Port Burwell Provincial Park

  1. wetanddustyroads says:

    No park crests … but ice-cream in stead … that can work! Will you be able to get the crests where it was not available at the parks you visited? And what a bonus to see two lighthouses on your hikes – they are so pretty!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      A lot of the parks sold out of their crests early in the summer. Unfortunately you can only buy them in person at that particular park. There has been talk about how Ontario Parks is considering creating an online store, which would make it more convenient to get the badges we missed out on, but it might take a couple of years to get it up and running. I have a feeling we’ll be back someday. I’m such a fan of lighthouses and it was such a bonus to see two in this area.

  2. kagould17 says:

    Ice cream was a good concession for no park crests, but it seems you luck on obtaining crests ran out mid summer. The question is Did they ever have any? Great to have access to the shore and a bit of history. Thanks for sharing. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was such a bummer that many of the parks in southern Ontario sold out of their crests mid-way through the summer. We always asked if they had any extras, just in case. Turns out many of the parks just do one order of swag for the entire year. I guess they weren’t expecting so many visitors. Hopefully next year we’ll have better luck. Thanks for reading. Linda

  3. leightontravels says:

    Two very different lighthouses there. The wooden one is delightful. Would be wonderful to see it in spring and witness the migration of the Monarch butterflies. Do you have any plans to return to some of the visited parks during a particular season?

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I love lighthouses. It was nice to see two so close together and with such different styles. Agreed, it would be neat to return to watch the migration of Monarch butterflies. We were hoping to start doing some international travel in 2022, but we’ll have to wait and see. Travel restrictions seem to be tightening in Canada (and in other places). So returning to some of the parks we visited this year, but in a different season, is a good back-up plan!

  4. Mike P says:

    Same question, but do you have any suggestions on how to get the crests or the stickers for those times when the park doesn’t have them. Happened to us a couple times.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Unfortunately you can only buy the park crest in person at that particular park. I heard that some people have asked the parks to mail them a crest once they are back in stock, but I’m not sure how successful they were. Some of the park staff mentioned that there’s been talk about Ontario Parks creating an online store, which would make it easier to purchase the park crests that we are missing, but even if it does happen, it might take a couple of years. If this pandemic is still in full force and travel restrictions remain in place for next year, looks like we’ll have another opportunity to pick up some of the missing crests!

  5. Ab says:

    Linda, this looked like such a wonderful outing and the park looks amazing. Love the well-maintained trails, Sandy beach and that charming lighthouse!

    I never appreciated this until I’m older but bird watching sounds lovely. The monarch butterfly migration sounds like such a highlight!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Port Burwell is lovely during the summer. I would totally return someday to check out more of the beaches. Agreed, it would be neat to watch the migration of the Monarch butterflies. If travel restrictions remain in place, it looks like we may have another year of exploring Ontario!

  6. John says:

    Based on the sign on the little lighthouse, I’d rather not try to navigate that channel! The sign for the Ravine Crick Trail has the No Bicycles sign all scratched out. I guess some folks don’t like that! The trail looks very nice, and easy to walk too, a trail that I could walk. 🇨🇦❤️

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I didn’t even notice that the no bicycles sign was all scratched out. That’s hilarious. I guess the bikers weren’t too happy about that. We actually didn’t encounter a single person (hiker or biker) on the trail. I guess they were all down by the beach. The trails around Lake Erie are all short and sweet. The terrain is quite flat, which is perfect for a nice leisurely stroll in the summer.

  7. Little Miss Traveller says:

    That Bordeaux cherry ice cream tub looked so yummy but it was sad that they were out of park crests once again. All this money they are losing without having enough in stock ! Loved the appearance of the lighthouse too!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We figured we might as well buy some ice cream to support the park since they were all sold out of badges. It’s such a great way for parks to make some extra money to deal with the huge increase in visitors this past year. Hopefully next year they can plan ahead and order more.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, it would be neat to see the migration of the Monarch butterflies. It seems like the area around Lake Erie is the best place in Ontario to see it. We’ll have to add this to our list of things to do next year. And yah, the first lighthouse looks a bit pathetic, especially in comparison to the beautiful wooden one!

  8. Christie says:

    Black cherry ice-cream is my favourite😊 It seems there are so many nice parks along Lake Erie! We haven’t really discovered that part of the province yet, it would be lovely to visit this area especially when the butterflies migrate.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We haven’t really spent a lot of time in southern Ontario near Lake Erie either. It’s always fun to explore new parks, especially when the scenery and landscape are so different. I’d love to return someday to watch the migration of the Monarch butterflies. Who knows, if case counts keep climbing and travel restrictions are still strict, we might just spend another year of exploring Ontario again!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        For sure. While it’s been fun to experience a different side of Ontario, it would be nice to get a change of scenery. We were hoping to do some international travel next year, but things aren’t looking very promising at the moment. Sigh. I might just have to plan another Northern Ontario road trip as a back-up plan just in case.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m such a sucker for ice cream. I’m glad we decided to share that time. The cherry flavour was delicious. It was nice to walk down to the beach and eat it along the shore while enjoying the views of the water.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. The second lighthouse is very picturesque. I’m surprised it’s in such great condition considering how old it is. I’ve been thinking of what we can do for a new challenge for next year and one of our ideas is to visit all the various lighthouses in Ontario.

  9. Linda K says:

    What a wonderful park to visit with so much scenery to enjoy! The numbers are a great idea to provide the visitor with information about the flora and fauna. It’s always so great to learn a bit more about an area when going there. I too love that lighthouse photo at the end!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It was a lovely park to visit during the summer to enjoy all the greenery. I appreciate a well marked trail and it’s always nice to learn more about the types of plants that can be found in the area. The second lighthouse was beautiful. I’m surprised it’s in such great shape considering its age.

  10. rkrontheroad says:

    So green and lush. The ice cream looks heavenly. And what better place to arrive at than beach and lighthouse! It would be great to visit when the Monarchs are passing through if you can time it right.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m such a fan of lighthouses. It was a real treat to see two nearby. It’s funny how even though they have the same colour scheme, they come in such different shapes, sizes and designs. And yes, it would be pretty amazing to return and time it to see the migration of Monarchs.

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