Petroglyphs Provincial Park
Petroglyphs Provincial Park
By Ontario Parks
Deep within a forest northeast of Peterborough is the largest known concentration of Aboriginal rock carvings in Canada. Carved into the white marble rock face hundreds of years ago, the 900 petroglyphs depict turtles, snakes, birds, humans and other images. Hiking trails meander through surrounding forests, wetlands and rocky ridges. Explore The Learning Place interpretive centre.
The Gate House is closed. All visitors need to pay and register at the Visitor Centre (Learning Place). Please remember to take note of License plate numbers when registering.
Curve Lake First Nation is responsible for registering all park visitors. Debit and Cash only.
The Learning Place, the long-anticipated interpretive centre at Petroglyphs Provincial Park, opened officially on September 27, 2002.
The centre's purpose is to communicate to visitors the spiritual significance of "the Teaching Rocks" to the First Nations people, and the site's relevance to all people in Ontario. This is achieved with a display containing colourful information panels, paintings, and video. A 20 minute movie “The Teaching Rocks” is shown daily, upon request, in a theatre and the movie is shown at evening programs. Visitors are encouraged to see this movie before visiting the petroglyphs site. This movie is for sale in the park store in English or French in VHS or DVD formats. Children and families will enjoy an activity room with hands-on activities. The Learning Place is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Barrier Free Access
Visitor Centre, paths from parking lots to Visitor Centre and petroglyph site, and the glyph site protective building. A parking lot closer to the glyph site and Learning Place is available for senior citizens and others who cannot walk long distances.
One wheelchair is available at the Visitor Centre upon request, and another is located at the petroglyph site.
Visitors with baby strollers will have no problem on the paths leading to the Visitor Centre and petroglyph site however the hiking trails are too rugged.
Visit the Park Store and browse through various books, clothing, and other unique items. Nature books for children and adults are available as are books on rock art and Native culture. Relax in front of our fireplace while enjoying a cup of coffee, tea or cider and a snack in a tranquil setting.
A protective building built in 1984 covers the Native rock carvings and interpreters are available to help visitors understand these intriguing images. An interpretive brochure on the petroglyphs is available and interpretive plaques are located around the site. Please note that some Native people have requested that photographing and videotaping the rock carvings not be permitted for spiritual reasons. Dogs are not allowed in the Visitor Centre or in the protective building over the carvings.
Yes, at the Learning Place. Vault toilets are provided elsewhere in the park.
The Petroglyphs site is closed during the off season. The entrance is gated, but park roads are accessible on foot. (Do not park in front of the entrance.)
Ratarat Trail 1 km moderate
Follow white markers.
Located at our West McGinnis Picnic Area. This short hike meanders through mixed forest and past our beautiful and unique McGinnis Lake. It’s a great area to have a picnic and then go for a short hike.
Marsh Trail 7 km (2.5 hours) moderate
This trail winds through dense pine forest and marsh and climbs - steeply in parts - to uplands.
Nanabush Trail 5.5 km (1.5 hours) easy
This trail crosses a variety of terrain from wetlands to rock outcrops. A trail booklet describes native legends: Learn how the white birch got its black marks, why moss grows on rocks and how the Milky Way was created.
West Day-Use Trail 5 km (1.5 hours) moderate
This narrow, easy trail goes through large pine stands and areas of oak and birch. A bridge crosses an ancient streambed made thousands of years ago.
Natural Heritage Education
Learning Place Program
A 20 minute video is shown in our theatre at the Learning Place.
School programs for grades 3 to university/college level are offered the second Friday in May to Thanksgiving. Educators can choose from a program at the Learning Place and petroglyph site (1˝ hours) or at the petroglyph site only (1 hour). There are currently no fees for school programs however a school bus or daily vehicle permit must be purchased to enter the park. School programs must be booked at least one week in advance.
Evening Programs occur during July and August. Please contact the park for dates and times.
Journey back in time and have a glimpse of the past. Don't miss your chance to attend these popular 1 1/2 programs. Each program begins with showing the award winning film. "The Teaching Rocks," at our Learning Place theatre. Visitors are then led to the sacred Petroglyphs Site by our Park Staff. Listen to our guides tell stories generations old relating to our Nations First Peoples and theories as to why these carvings were made.
Other Programs- Programs on the park, including the petroglyphs, are available upon request for other groups who book in advance. Please contact the park at (705) 877-2552 to book a program.
Nature related prop talks are offered in July and August.
The park borders the Peterborough Crown Game Reserve and is home to a large population of white-tailed deer. Smaller mammals, such as beaver and otter, and even the occasional wolf are also park residents. Birds such as gray jays, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse and various types of hawks are visible in summer. Come in January and February to see eagles.
Mountain bikes are prohibited on hiking trails but allowed on park roads.
For more information:
Petroglyphs Provincial Park
2249 Northey's Bay Road
This day use park is open 10 am- 5 pm daily from the Second Friday in May to Thanksgiving, with the following exceptions:
The park will be closed Monday and Tuesday in the Spring and Fall. (excluding holiday Mondays)
The park will be open seven days a week from June 20th to Labour Day.
Visitors arriving at the park after 3:30 pm will not have time to see the petroglyphs due to the distance between the front gate and petroglyph site.