Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada is on historic ground. It is located about 45 minutes outside of North Bay, which is about 4 hours north of Toronto.
This area was vital to the fur trade traversed by the legendary voyageurs on birch bark canoes along the Mattawa River. The park now protects this waterway for its historic and recreational value. The Mattawa River has been designated as a Canadian Heritage River. (see picture)
Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park
On a Canadian road trip with my dad, I visited this beautiful park and camped for three nights. I had the opportunity to fish, canoe, hike, and enjoy campfires in this pristine northwoods environment. This post highlights the outdoor adventure activities one can enjoy while staying in this beautiful park.
The Amable Du Fond empties into the Mattawa River inside the park. The Mattawa then flows toward the Ottawa River. The park offers great day trips and a base for longer trips to explore these historic waterways. Mattawa is Algonquin and means “junction of waterways.” With a name like that, you can bet there are a lot of canoeing options.
One trip you can take is the Amable Du Fond River, which flows right past the campground. You can paddle a short two mile chute over and over again inside the park or continue on via the Mattawa River. This section can also be tubed, which I am sure is a blast. The water level needs to be in your favor to canoe. It was a little low in September when we visited. The park is also somewhat close to Algonquin Provincial Park, so the canoeing opportunities are endless.
There are several hiking trails in the park ranging in distance. The Etienne system trails range from 2.5 to 9 kilometers and feature outstanding views of the Mattawa River. I hiked the Kag Trail, which is only 2.5 kilometers, but it is a challenging short hike going up and down the entire length. It goes through several ecosystems including a red pine forest, beaver lake, and oak highlands.
We tried our hands on both the Mattawa River and Long Lake. We unfortunately only reeled in small smallmouth bass and rock bass, but one of our group somehow managed to catch two fish on the same cast. While the lunkers eluded us, we did enjoy incredible views, and we did not see another canoe on either stretch. The solitude for a lake and river with immediate road access was enjoyable. We were there during the week, so I am sure it gets busier on weekends.
We enjoyed relaxing campfires each night under a canopy of stars. Our camp had many trees which afforded shade and privacy from our neighbors. The park is huge with over 200 campsites at two different camp locations. I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the bathrooms, and the free hot showers were fantastic. There are also spots for group camping and more remote backcountry camping, so the park accommodates to all types of groups and preferences.
I enjoyed my three days in Samuel De Champlain Provincial Park. Camping inside the park made it easy to access all of the outdoor adventure options the area has to offer.
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