The Pinery Provincial Park is home to breathtaking sunsets, a rare and fragile Oak savanna and over 10km of sandy beaches along Lake Huron. With year round camping, there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore the 14km walking trail. You can also try your legs at 38km of groomed cross-country skiing trails.
GSI Outdoors – Bugaboo Backpacker for 4 people
Durable and easy to clean, these pack into a simple and small form factor.
Ontario is home to a great number of awe inspiring and breathtaking camprounds. As the Ontario Parks reservation system is gearing up for a busy 2021, our household is now fully into camping planning season.
If you’re interested in exploring this wonderful provincial park, the following is a how-to guide to help you make the most out of your trip to the Pinery Provincial Park.
The image gallery above is courtesy of Brian Lasenby
The Pinery Provincial Park on the Map
Trip Options and Ideas for the Pinery
For residents in Southwestern Ontario, the Pinery offers plenty for you to do in 1 day. As the COVID-19 pandemic pressed on this year, we found ourselves visiting often and leaving early in the morning to arrive to the park at opening time (10 am). In doing so, we were able to spend 6 to 8 hours in the park adventuring in various ways.
- Find a day use site along the Old Ausable Channel, grab a book, hang up a hammoc and enjoy the riverside view. This is the easiest way to feel like you’re camping and before you know it, hours will have passed and you’re ready for a little activity.
- Activity options abound throughout the park; so pack your kayak, bike and running shoes.
- The 14km Savanna trail is perfect for a quick bike ride. Be sure to stop at one of the numerous beaches for a wonderful view. Do so just before sunset to experience what National Geographic considers among the ‘Top 10 Best in the World’ .
- The 10km of beach waterfront is a great way to relax as you soak up the sun and splash in the water.
- Are you the ambitious type? Make use of one of the many charcoal bbq grills and fire up supper! Before leaving the park enjoy some Shaw’s ice cream at the park booth.
Weekend or Longer (2 to 4 nights)
So you’re staying a few nights at the Pinery Provincial Park, make sure you come prepared based on the time of year.
- Spring or early summer: Hats and bug spray
- Late summer and fall: Layers and rain gear
- Late fall and winter: A good attitude, skis and snow shoes
Bring your bikes and tackle the Savanna trail in the park. Venturing outside the park into Grand bend via the lovely bike-only path along Highway 21 is recommended for adventurous cyclists. Stop in at The Lake Hound for lunch and enjoy some hearty food with a delicious pint of kombucha.
Do you consider yourself a hiker? The Heritage (2.5km) and Nipissing (2.0km) hiking trails are our favorites thanks to the lookout areas. Here’s the full Pinery Provincial park trail map. These won’t take more than 30 minutes each to hike, so you don’t need to plan full excursions for these. Bring a book and have a read while you look over the Old Ausable Channel.
That kayak you packed? Take it out for a half-day excursion down the Old Ausable Channel. The channel is 14km and it was created as a result of a series of diversions that occurred on the main Ausable River. Bring a lunch, a fishing rod and perhaps a book. Our boys have routinely fallen asleep as we explore the channel, you may too.
Feel like getting in a long run? You can quite easily run a half marathon distance run through this provincial park, and if you want to go even longer, tack on the paved path along highway 21 once you exit the park entrance.
Our camping gear recommendations
We really love our Klymit sleeping pads! These aren’t insulated, but do work extremely well in the 3 warmer seasons. Also, you won’t believe how small these pack up: The size of a tall can of beer. To pack these up as tightly as you can, buy the Klymit Rapid Roll electric pump. It can even double as a source of air if you need to light a fire.
We’ve used our GSI kitchen utensils and cooking set all year long, and we highly recommend both the GSI Outdoors – Bugaboo Backpacker for 4 and the GSI Outdoors – Destination Kitchen Set. My sister recommended these to us and we’ve been using them for a family of 4 for 10 years now. Not a single thing has broken and everything works just like it was new.