Presqu’ile Provincial Park is situated along Lake Ontario just west of Prince Edward County. Presqu’ile in French means “almost island” as it is joined to the mainland by an extremely narrow piece of land. It is open year-round and contains one of the largest wetlands along the lake. Presqu’ile also has a long sandy beach making this an ideal spot to swim, hike, and camp.
We’ve been to Presqu’ile three times:
Presqu’ile offers 16km of trails that wind through the various habitats in the park, including forests, wetlands and sand dunes.
(1) Jobes’ Woods Trail (1km, rated easy). The trail winds through the forest and contains a few sections along a wooden boardwalk. This area was once part of a farm settled by Thomas and Ezekiel Jobes in 1835. The part of their farm in this area remained relatively undisturbed by settlement activity and today contains one of the oldest deciduous woodlots at Presqu’ile.
(2) Marsh Trail (1.2km loop, rated easy). The trail follows along a boardwalk through a marsh for the first 800 metres then leads through the forest that was once an old sandbar. There are two viewing towers along the way that provide sweeping views of the marsh, Presqu’ile Bay and the north shoreline of the Presqu’ile peninsula. The trail also features 14 interpretive signs that provide more information about the marsh, how it was formed and changed over time, and the types of animals and plants that live here.
(3) Newcastle Trail (4.3km, rated easy, signed with orange markers). The trailhead marks the start for both the Newcastle and the Pioneer Trail, which form two interconnected loops for those that want a longer hike. In the early 1800s some of the forest here was cleared for the development of the proposed town of Newcastle. When plans for the town were abandoned, settlers built homes and farms on the peninsula. They were later abandoned. Some of the old fields were reforested with conifer plantations while in others succession is occurring.
(4) Owen Point Trail (1.6km loop, rated easy). The trail features five lookouts overlooking the beach and are reputed to provide great views of migrating and nesting shorebirds depending on the time of year.
(5) Pioneer Trail (3.8km, rated easy, signed with yellow markers). The trail meanders through the forest and passes through a meadow.
Other Activities and Attractions
Presqu’ile also offers a variety of other activities and facilities, including:
- A 2.5 km sandy beach along the shores of Lake Ontario.
- Presqu’ile Point Lighthouse, the second oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the north shore of Lake Ontario
- Calf Pasture Point, which features a viewing platform that overlooks Presqu’ile Bay. The marsh here is the largest protected wetland on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is an important area for many bird species.
- Two Visitor Centres, a Nature Centre and a Lighthouse Centre.
There are over 300 campsites at Presqu’ile scattered across 8 campgrounds. We’ve stayed at the Lakeside Campground, which offers non-electrical sites and is also located a few steps from Lake Ontario.