Awenda Provincial Park

Location: Penetanguishene Ontario
Region: Southwestern
Character: Natural Environment
Length/Size: 7,203.1 acres

Awenda Provincial Park
By Ontario Parks

Nipissing Bluff drops 60 metres into Georgian Bay. Across the water is Giant's Tomb, an island where the spirit Kitchikewana rests. Below the bluff, sand, cobble and boulder beaches in sheltered Methodist Point Bay offer the best swimming. Like the kettle lake inland, they are signs of a glaciated past. From the shoreline fen to forest bog, on spirit walks and owl prowls, explore a unique convergence of wildlife and geography.

Visit the Friends of Awenda website.

333 campsites located in 6 campgrounds. 102 hydro sites. Sites are shaded beneath sugar maples and red oaks, and are spaced further apart than in many other provincial parks. The Deer, Bear and Snake Campgrounds are designated radio free.

Group Camping
Awenda has three group sites that accommodate 20-40 people. There are water taps and outhouses on site. Anyone can use the sites, though youth groups have priority. Only tents can be used on the sites. Reservations can be made by calling the park directly at (705) 549-2231.

Picnics and Day Use
Relaxing picnicing opportunities are available at Kettle's Lake and also at the park's many beaches, with a view of Gerogian Bay and Giant's Tomb Island. In this natural setting, tables are limited, so remember to bring a picnic blanket. A large covered picnic shelter is available at the Trail/Activity Centre area when it is not being used for interpretive programs.

Electric Sites - 102 sites with electricity

Barrier Free Access - Showers, Flush Toilets, Beaver Pond Trail and P2 picnic area at Kettle's Lake, a non-motorized all-terrain wheelchair is available to borrow free-of-charge at the campground office. Campsites 24, 96, 141, 193, 215 and 295 are barrier-free

Park Store/Woodyard - The Woodyard offers firewood, kindling, and ice. The Friends of Awenda operate The Nature Shop which offers park souvenirs, books, some camping supplies and ice.

Showers - showers are found in the comfort stations centrally located in each of the six campgrounds.

Flush Toilets - flush toilets are found in the comfort stations centrally located in each of the six campgrounds

Laundromat - Yes (in Hawk, Turtle and Bear campgrounds)

Play Area - Yes (in Turtle, Hawk, Bear and Deer Campgrounds)

Boat Launch - No

French Language Services - Yes

Rentals - PFD Loan Service for a $25 refundable deposit, visitors can borrow a properly fitted PRD for themselves and their children. Staff can provide additional information and can outfit visitors with a PFD at the Campground Office. Electrical extension cords for trailer units are also available for a daily or weekly fee. Canoes, complete with paddles and life jackets, are available to rent, by the hour or the half day, for use on Kettle's Lake. Canoe rentals are available from late June to Labour Day.

Beach Trail - 4km return (1.5 hours) easy
This trail takes the hiker along the Georgian Bay shoreline. Giant's Tomb Island is visible from the trail. The contrast between the dry oak-maple forest of the campgrounds and the low, wet birch-cedar-hemlock forest below the bluff can be seen on this trail.

Beaver Pond Trail - 1km (30 minutes) easy
This trail is located in a nature reserve zone Most of this trail is a boardwalk that takes you through an area altered by past and present beaver activity. Along the way you will see the remains of both a building and a bridge from the early logging days. The area also offers views of the dominant Nipissing bluff as well as excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife, wildflowers and many species of birds.

Bluff Trail - 13km (3.5 hours) moderate
This circular trail can be accessed from a number of locations within the park. It travels partly along a high bluff and partly through a low wetland. Views of Georgian Bay from sections of this trail are spectacular, especially during the leaf free season.

Nipissing Trail - 1km return (30 minutes) moderate
The Nipissing Bluff is the dominant glacial feature in Awenda. It is a raised beach created 5,500 years ago by glacial Lake Nipissing. Today a 155 step staircase allows hikers to easily descend 32 metres down the face of the bluff at times providing you with the sensation of being part of the forest canopy.

Brule Trail - 4 km return (1.5 hours) easy
This trail passes through a portion of the park's upland mixed deciduous forest. Lumbering and fires have obliterated the white pine stands so that the majority of trees are now sugar maple and red oak. Lumbering on the peninsula was at its peak in the late 1800s. Since then the forest has been allowed to revert to its natural state but the white pine has been unable to fully reestablish itself.

Dunes Trail - 3km return (1hour) easy
This trail takes you to an ancient dune system. The age of these sand dunes has been estimated at 11,500 years, from the time of the last glacial retreat. The dunes are a very fragile environment and we ask that you do not climb the hillside, stand on the edge of the bluff or climb down the bluff. This will allow plants to reestablish themselves and will help us preserve this area for future park visitors. On the way to the dunes, this trail passes an abandoned farmstead.

Wendat Trail - 5km (2 hours) easy
This trail begins at Kettle's Lake. This lake is thought to be a kettle lake formed by the gradual melting of a large buried piece of ice left by retreating glaciers. Today this area is a favoured nesting spot for the red-winged blackbird and the great blue heron is often seen in the swamps around the lake. The trail passes the foundations of the Brabant farmstead house and barn. Attempts to farm this area in the 1930s and 40s failed due to the poor, sandy soil.

Awenda offers a wide variety of programs for enthusiasts of all ages. Regularly scheduled guided hikes and evening programs from late June to early fall.

Bass, northern pike, pickerel and smaller panfish are commonly found in the waters between Awenda and Giant's Tomb Island.

Awenda's quiet, scenic Kettle's Lake provides an excellent location for canoe exploration on its usually calm flat waters.

Wildlife Viewing
White-tailed deer are plentiful in the park along with small mammals such as porcupine, raccoon and squirrels. In terms of reptiles and amphibians, Awenda's rich diversity of 31 species ranks second throughout Canada. Close to 200 different species of birds have been observed in the park.

Boating enthusiasts will find plenty of room to investigate Georgian Bay. Because of its size and exposed area, Georgian Bay winds can be unpredictable and quick to rise, so use appropriate caution. The closest boat launch facilities are in Penetanguishene. Outboard motors are not allowed on Kettle's Lake.

Awenda features several beautiful and natural beaches on the Georgian Bay shoreline. The most protected and sandiest beach area is at Methodist Point Bay (Third Beach).

Pet Beach
Awenda has designated a stretch of its scenic Georgian Bay shoreline as a Pet Beach. This is the only public beach in the park where pets are permitted. However they still must be kept on a two metre leash and it is the owner's responsibility to clean up after them.

Winter Activities
In winter, Awenda is not open for camping, but its trails and forests are available as a backcountry style experience for the more adventuresome ski and snowshoe enthusiast. Please note that trails are no longer groomed or trackset. All trails begin at the Trail Centre, a heated log cabin. Snowshoeing is popular through the park's many hectares of open bush, however there are no designated snowshoe trails. Dogs are not permitted on winter trails.

For more information:
Awenda Provincial Park
Box 5004
Penetanguishene, Ontario
L9M 2G2