Rockwood Conservation Area
Rockwood Conservation Area
By Grand River Conservation Authority
Towering limestone cliffs, caves and glacial potholes, including one of the world's largest, are a few of the natural wonders at the Rockwood Conservation Area. You can view them from hiking trails on both sides of the Eramosa River or in a rented canoe. The conservation area has over 65,000 visitors a year from near and far and offers excellent recreational opportunities only a short distance from major metropolitan areas.
161 Fall Street
Rockwood, ON N0B 2K0
Approximate latitude 43° 36' 47" N
Approximate longitude 80° 8' 52" W
Print a map and directions
E-mail conservation area staff or phone (519) 856-9543
Open the last Friday in April to the Sunday following Thanksgiving
Please read our notice about firewood and help protect our trees
Review our Camping Reservation Policy prior to making your online or phone reservation (1-877-558-GRCA (4722))
Alcohol is permitted only on registered campsites, except during the total alcohol ban on Victoria Day and Labour Day weekends
Please note that rock climbing is prohibited.
There is NO beach patrol at GRCA conservation areas. Children are the responsibility of the parents/guardians/adults.
Online reservation system
Or reserve by phone:
Camp sites: Rockwood has approximately 105 campsites in four main campgrounds, including 46 serviced sites (electricity and water), 16 full-service (water, hydro and septic) and 43 unserviced sites. Up to six people are permitted per campsite. Check in is after 2 p.m. and check out is before noon.
Reserve a site: Sites can be booked online or by calling toll-free 1-877-558-GRCA (4722).
Group camping: Four group sites can be reserved through conservation area staff. They are for supervised youth groups or larger gatherings that exceed 10 units and are available by reservation only.
Monthly & seasonal campers: Please call the conservation area directly to reserve your monthly or seasonal site.
Fees: Daily, monthly and seasonal rates are available.
Firewood: Firewood can be purchased from the gatehouse before 9 p.m.
Alcohol: Alcohol is permitted on registered campsites, except for a total alcohol ban on the Victoria Day and Labour Day long weekends.
Waste: Garbage can be left at your site if you are camping or dropped in the hopper by the serviced washroom. Garbage bags are provided at the gate. There are no blue box bins at the conservation area.
Canoeing is one of the most popular activities at the conservation area. Canoes and kayaks can be rented from the beach kiosk on weekends, weather permitting with a $75 cash deposit or a credit card number in case of loss. Check the fee schedule for rental fees. Start your journey at the beach and paddle upstream through small back bays and up to the waterfall created from the upper mill pond and its dam. Paddle boats can also be rented.
Canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals are available daily in July and August (weather permitting). Hours are Monday to Wednesday from 11:00 am to 5:30 p.m. and Thursday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Contact the park for spring and fall schedule (May, June, September and October).
The GRCA and the Ministry of Natural Resources stock the lower pond annually with rainbow trout in an effort to promote fishing.
Carp, bullhead, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are other species that can be found here.
The two main trails provide plenty of scenery including the river's edge and mixed forest. The trails can be accessed from the beach or the mill ruins. The terrain in the Rockwood Conservation Area has high cliffs and steep slopes - exercise caution. The trails have been developed to provide a safe journey through this unique and sensitive ecosystem. While you're hiking on our trail system please respect this unique environment and stay on the trial.
There is a large sandy beach. The area marked by buoys provides a shallower area for swimming. The beach is not patrolled, so parents or guardians must keep a close watch on children at all times.
A life-jacket loaner program is available. Use of the life-jackets is free with a small, refundable deposit. Ask at the gatehouse for information.
Water quality is tested weekly during the summer.
Picnic tables are scattered throughout the conservation area for your use. Open fires are not permitted for safety reasons but visitors can bring along a barbecue.
Rockwood has a unique geological history that has left it with glacial bluffs, potholes and caves. The glacial bluffs were formed during the most recent ice age, which ended 11,000 to 16,000 years ago and range from five to 30 metres deep and seven to 200 meters wide.
The conservation area has over 200 potholes that vary in size and diameter. They were created by hard debris like pebbles and boulders that were left by the Wisconsin glacier and caught in eddies in rapidly flowing melt water.
The cave system is one of the most extensive ones in Ontario and includes stalactites, columns and flowstone. The conservation area has a network of 12 caves.
Throughout the summer, Rockwood Conservation Area offers naturalist-led interpretive programs and activities for families and children. Most are free with your park admission. Contact conservation area staff at the gatehouse
This is the location of the community bulletin board, pay telephone and lost and found. It is the place to purchase firewood (until 9 p.m.), report any problems and concerns and to get further information about the conservation area.
Rockwood is a favourite location for special events such as weddings, corporate picnics and family reunions. Two facilities are available for these occasions - The Pavilion, a large chalet-style shelter with a beautiful view of the beach, and the ruins of a woolen mill that dates back to 1867. The mill, repointed in 2010, has grown popular for family gatherings, wedding ceremonies and wedding photos. For more information on booking the mill, please contact the park.
Attention film and TV producers: with caves, the ruins of an old stone mill, a beautiful beach and glacial potholes, the Rockwood Conservation Area offers a variety of settings for your film and video needs. If you're a locations scout the Rockwood Conservation Area can cut your search time in half. We can offer you a variety of settings in any season for a reasonable fee. For more information on using the Rockwood Conservation Area please contact the area superintendent at (519) 856-9543.
There are three washrooms scattered throughout the park. The main washroom is located in the Pine View area and has 8 pay-showers ($0.25 fee).There is a washroom and 2 showers located in Cedar Valley campground and a washroom at the pavilion above the beach.
Vault type toilets are located throughout the conservation area.
The food concession can be found in the middle of the conservation area above the beach area. The concession is open weekends in June, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. During . July and August, it is open daily 11:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hotdogs, fries cold drinks and Nestle Ice cream treats are available.
Sports and fun
A mini golf course is located near the front entrance and discount rates are available for company picnics and large groups if requested in advance. There is also a playground for children.
Pets are allowed in the conservation area, but not in the swimming area and they must be kept on a 2-metre leash and controlled at all times. 'Stoop and Scoop' applies. This rule will be enforced.
Stores including a grocery store, bakery and hardware store are in the village of Rockwood, beside the conservation area.
The nearest hospital emergency is Guelph General Hospital, 115 Delhi St., Guelph.
Outdoor education programs for school classes are offered in the fall and spring at Rockwood Conservation Area.