Family Fun in Algonquin Park – Achray Provincial Park
The campsite was booked – the canoes were reserved and the trip was on!
On Labour Day weekend a few years ago, our family packed and were on our way to camp in Algonquin Park. We had been invited to share a few campsites with other family friends for the weekend. This was a good thing because we are not experienced campers; rather we are more experienced cottagers and prefer the comforts of indoor plumbing and electricity. Nonetheless, we had committed ourselves to go – so we did.
We headed out of Ottawa and found our way to the Algonquin Park Portage Outfitters www.algonquinportage.com to ensure that the canoes and accessories that we had rented would be delivered to our campsite on time. Everything was in good order there so we were off to Achray Provincial Park to join our group of friends. Achray is located on the east side of Algonquin Provincial Park, about three hours south west of Ottawa, approximately 9 km west of Pembroke, Ontario on Grand Lake. www.algonquinpark.on.ca/visit/camping/achray-campground.php
We found our campsite and tents we put up and supplies were quickly unpacked. The canoes and paddles and lifejackets were delivered – let the exploring begin! Our first day’s trip was to canoe to High Falls, the Water Slide, and the Barron Canyon. This was a 4hour canoe ride (one way) with a short portage. It was a long for us but when we arrived we were stunned by how beautiful the rapids and falls where. The highlight of the trip was the body surfing at Barron Canyon. The water was warm and high enough to slide down on your back to the bottom!
The next day we canoed and explored Grand Lake in the morning and then after lunch hiked The Jack Pine Trail in the afternoon. This is a 2km trail that takes you to the location where Tom Thomson, one of the Group of Seven’s famous Painters’ was inspired to paint The Jack Pine. This trail begins and ends at the Achray Campground. This location is also one of a series of self-guided historically significant sites featuring the history of the Achray area from 1914 to the present.
This was a special time and vacation for our family for a few reasons. If you have young adult children you will know how difficult it is to get everyone together for a set period of time. They have busy lives, work summer jobs and are preparing to return to school after Labour Day and they don’t always want to hang out all weekend with their parents – but they did and they loved it. We have never camped as a family before so this was an affordable, safe and fun experience that we all could share together – not to mention the weather that weekend was a balmy 28C and with no mosquitoes!
Have you camped at Achray or visited the Barron Canyon or anywhere else in Algonquin Park? We are definitely planning another trip to somewhere else in Algonquin Park this summer – any suggestions for us?