Halloween at Pinery Provincial Park, Oct 2015

This was our fourth visit to Pinery for their Halloween weekend, and we had a great time!  I was stressing the whole weekend about the rain expected the whole day Saturday, but luckily, it only rained for about 30 minutes total all day!

We arrived Thursday morning, and the park was bare.  We were on site 799, in Riverside 4.  I’d bet there was 2-3 other people there when we arrived.  The weather for Thursday and Friday was awesome!  Sunny, and 16 degrees.  We went on a few hikes, and enjoyed some company Thursday night.  We even got to watch the Arborists taking limbs down way up in the trees.  This occupied my attention for a couple hours!

Friday came, and the weather was just as good.  I started setting up some tarps for Saturday, as there was 60% chance of rain the whole day.  I also enjoyed watching all the trailers pull in, and fill the park!  I would say R4 was at 95% capacity Friday night.  The early arrivers even started setting up their decorations Friday night, we lead to a great walk around the park in the evening.

Saturday morning arrived, and it was raining!  Our guests arrived, and we sat under the tarp for 20 minutes until the rain stopped.  It didn’t rain again until 8pm!  This was unexpected, but we embraced it!  We spent the majority of the day setting up, and even had time to go for a nice walk around the grounds.

The kids started arrived particularly early.  I would say they started around 530pm, and it was fairly bright still.  That’s OK, as we were prepared.  I believe our neighbours counted 290 kids!  After the kids stopped coming, we then walked to the two larger sites.  Site 717 was having a pirate theme, and the trail on the east end of the campground had a haunted trail.

Pinery did a great job hosting us all.  The park ranger were driving around throughout the night.  I think I saw them 3-4 times.

It was a great weekend overall!  I just love everyones mood at this time of year.  Everyone seems that so much happier to be camping in October.

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Algonquin Provincial Park – Pog and Kearney Lakes

Review Date: July 2015

General Information / Location / Address

Algonquin Provincial Park is located… I don’t even think I need to state where this is located, as it’s the most popular park, and everyone knows where it is.  This review is about Pog and Kearney Lake campsites, which is located within Algonquin Park.  It’s located on the middle-eastern end of highway 60.

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

PG.Overview

Entry / Layout

Right off highway 60 (be careful because the turning lane is fairly short), is Pog and Kearney Lakes campground.  The park office is right at the front.  The parking lot is after the park office.  So stop at the stop sign, then continue on to the parking lot, where you park then walk back to the office.  There is no dogs allowed in the park office.  There is ample room to park in the parking lot.

Pog Lake is devided into 3 campgrounds.  Two of them are electric sites, and the one is non-electric.  Each campground has ample vault toilets, and one full service bathroom.  The campgrounds surround an area of Pog Lake, however, unfortunately it’s the worst area of the lake.  The best part of Pog Lake is the North.  It’s the largest, and the deepest.  The south side is ALMOST swampy like.  Although still a beauty.  The main beach is located on the north side of Campground A.

General Discussion

Obviously being in Algonquin Park, this campground is in the middle of a forest, surrounding Pog Lake.  All sites have a forest bed, mostly all covered in pine needles.  The majority of the tree’s here are pine tree’s.  The forest does have some decent shrubbery, but it still doesn’t have enough to make any of the sites private.  You can see through the bush, and for the most part, right into your neighbors site.  Not necessary a bad thing, as depending on what site you are on, you can position your gear to block neighbors.

Campground A  is where I stayed, and will commend most on it.  We booked this campground because it has a few sites that neighbor to the water.  We were thinking we could walk to the back of our site, and swim.  That’s not the case.  Campsites 140 to 128 have a good view of the water, but the water is not swimmable.  It’s fairly swampy here.  It’s great for a canoe or kayak landing.  Each site in this area has a path to the water, and there is a public path between sites 138 and 140.  The best site here for a view is site 130.  It has an amazing view of the lake.  It’s up fairly high from the lake, but there is a steep path to get down to the lake.

The road through Campground A has some up’s and downs (hills).  But nothing a large trailer couldn’t get through.  One thing to note.  There is no “one way” signs here, but the majority of the sites are catered to trucks travelling in the COUNTER CLOCKWISE direction.  The driveways to the sites are angled a bit, and if you’re not facing the proper direction, it’s harder to backup into the site.  When coming into Campground A, I suggest turning LEFT after campsite 157.  Then go down to the end, and turn left or right depending on where your site is.

Regarding sites 124 to 116.  There is a LARGE, and STEEP drop-off to the lake here.  It’s definitely passable tho.  These sites have a GREAT view of the water, but they aren’t very DEEP.  Any trailers would need to be parked parallel to the road.  124 is probably your best bet on this side of the lake.  Some of the sites here even have a fence because of how steep the drop-off is.

Some of the sites on the outer ring, 154 – 128 are fairly unlevel.  If the site is level overall, it may still have some unlevel dips, or holes in the middle of them.  I would suggesting bringing some boards, as you may need to prop a tire up on the trailer.  Another suggestion, if your site is fairly unlevel, I suggest disconnecting your Weight Distribution Hitch before maneuvering into the site.  That way if your truck and trailer are unlevel, it will be easier to disconnect the WDH.  As well, there are some sites that have tree’s in the middle of them, so be careful backing in, etc, etc

I also noticed that sounds carry throughout this park.  I can hear people talking a few sites down.  Could be because of the type of open forest.

The beach here is GREAT!  Nice and wide, deep, and all sandy.  I think they recently re-did the beach.  There is a roped off swimming area as well.  Sites 109 – 112 are right across from the beach.  These sites offer 0 privacy, but it’s really beautiful down here, especially right across from a beach.  See my photosphere below for a full 360 view of what it’s like.

There is a full service bathroom here, with a grass field beside it for any sports that want to be played.

The dumping station is off highway 60, just WEST of Pog Lake.

I didn’t see a park store here.

I noticed that the “Park Warden” says “W.P.S. Park Warden” on the truck.  Most Provincial Parks I’ve been to have Ontario Parks trucks.  I think this park is operated by another company, and just under contract by Ontario Parks.  I noticed this park seems to have some rules that other parks don’t have, including no dogs in the park office.  I also noticed that the W.P.S Park Warden drives by a lot.  Even during the day. They all seem to be friendly, and not trigger happy on violations, but do give warnings.  This place almost felt like a private campground, instead of an Ontario Parks campground. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.  Just want to mention it.

Algonquin Park is a very touristy park.  You will find new campers here, and old campers here.  It’s also a well used campground.  Not sure what that means, but keep it in mind.

They do rent out 30 amp electrical cords if you need them.  $50 holding fee, and $3 per night.  They are 25ft long.

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Below is site 130IMG_20150704_151020 IMG_20150704_135923

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Here is a photosphere of the water behind site 138

Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPSPANO_20150704_144938

Here is a photosphere of the beach area.

Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPSPANO_20150705_161740

Best Campsites

-Site 140 is really large, but has some tree’s at the entrance.  Not sure you can put a trailer through them into the back part of the site

-138 is kinda small, and have a moderate pad slope.

-134 does NOT have a view of the lake.  Too many tree’s blocking it

-132 has a view of the lake, but kinda OPEN.

-130 is amazing. Large, great view of lake

-129 good lake view

-128 is kinda small. good view of lake

-124-117 see above.  not very deep. good view of lake

-127 not very good

-126 is HUGE.  but really open, no privacy.  Good view of lake.

-349-354 nice views of the lake.  Really big.  But right across from vault toilet

Hiking / Biking

Old Railway Trail – This is a FLAT, WIDE trail that goes between Rock Lake/Coon Lake, and Mew Lake.  It’s a VERY easy ride, with no hills.  The path is very smooth, and VERY easy to bike.  It’s such a nice trail.  We went from Pog lake, past Lake of Two Rivers, and almost to Mew Lake.  The section from Lake of Two Rivers, and Mew lake was kinda boring.  It was very hot and dry here.  But the rest of it goes through a nice forest, and behind Lake of Two Rivers.  We found a nice natural beach, right at the back of Lake of two Rivers.  So lookout for this path.

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Below is a photosphere of the beach area:

Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPSPANO_20150705_114025

Pro’s

-Algonquin Park.  It’s beautiful here, and the drive through highway 60 is awesome!

-I like the Pine Forest.  Tree’s are very tall

-Really nice beach area

-Old Railway Trail is a nice easy bikeride

Con’s

-W.P.S?  Kinda strange.  Seems like a private park?

-Forest is kinda open

-The lake is nice, but the area that the campsites surround is unswimmable.  Would be nice to swim right behind your campsite.

Surrounding Area Activities

Algonquin Logging Museum – This place is awesome.  Gives you a great perspective of what logging WAS like, and what it IS like.  And it’s all free!

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A couple photospheres of the logging museum.

Click on the below pictures to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPSPANO_20150705_132348 PANO_20150705_135103 PANO_20150705_135320

 

 

Conclusion

It’s Algonquin Park.  It’s a must visit, at least once.  The park was nice.  We really enjoyed the beach area, and the Old Railway Trail.  The forest was neat, even tho it was open.  We enjoyed camping beside a lake.  The park was a bit noisy, and very busy.  I would suggest researching other activities to do in the park.  There are TONS of trail in Algonquin, so go research, and do some hiking during the day.  If you’re going to drive all the way to Algonquin, mise well see all the amazing sites.  Also keep your eyes open for Moose in the swamps nearby highway 60.

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Arrowhead Provincial Park Review

Review Date: Review coming July 2015

** I’ve included some PHOTOSPHERES in this review.  PHOTOSPHERES are the pictures with “Nate Meyer – View on Google Maps” in the top left corner.  You can use your mouse, and drag 360 degrees around the picture **

General Information / Location / Address

Arrowhead Provincial Park is located just west of Algonquin, and north of Huntsville.  It’s located right along highway 11.  Such a beautiful area, full of lakes, cottages, and trees!  (But not too far from the big city amenities you might need).

Click here to reserve, or view campsites

Entry / Layout

AR.Overview

The entry to the park is right off Highway 11, just north of Huntsville.  It’s a nice paved road, winding through hills, and around Mayflower lake.  After a km or two, you enter the front gate.  Similar to other parks, you park your vehicle in the parking lot, and enter the office.  Arrowhead lake is devided into 4 campgrounds, as seen above.  Each campground is designed differently, which may be confusing and take a little longer to get familiar with.  There are full bathrooms in each campground, usually at the center of each.  The campgrounds surround the south  and west sides of Arrowhead Lake.  The park is fairly large, but all the amenities, and trails are concentrated together, making it easy to explore everything!

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General Discussion

Arrowhead Provincial Park is in the middle of a fairly thick forest, and huddles tight to Arrowhead Lake.  The main road coming in, and connecting the individual campsites is wide, and paved.  It does travel up and down some large hills, so make sure your truck is in the proper gear.  Depending on which area you are going to, you will cross a beautiful bridge showing you the awesome Arrowhead Lake.  The roads going to each campsite are all gravel, and the base of the campsites are mostly forest floor.

I’ll talk about Roe Campground first, as that’s where I spent the most time.  As the paved road comes in, it splits up into 7 gravel roads, with a turn-around at the end, which ends up near the central washroom.  This is a decent design, as the center of all roads is connected with a trail.  One thing to note, if you have a large trailer, your only turn around would be these loops at the end of each road.  They are fairly large, but just use caution.  I also noticed this area has A LOT of pot holes, and they are deep.  The majority of the campsites here are very private, and spacious.  There is a lot of forest spacing between sites, which really helps with the privacy.  Road 7 has a parking lot at the end, which is right at the beach.  (Again just be cautious of trailer size).  There is a trail at Roe that goes right to the beach, and to the Big Bend.  I would suggest getting a site close to the loops on roads 1 or 6.  As then it’s just a short walk to the beach.  There are poison ivy signs on the majority of the loops.  If you want to be near the full services washrooms, then camp nearer to the loops, as there’s trails that will head to washrooms.  There are also “vault” toilets scattered throughout Roe, but these are not your typical vault toilets.  They have water hookups, which all real toilets to be in them, and a concrete floor. There are no smells, and 500% better then a vault toilet.

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I didn’t even go into East River, so can’t comment on what the sites are like.  I did take a walk to Lumby North and Lumby South.  It’s a neat area, as the canopy of the trees completely covers the sun, and it really seems like you’re camping in a dark, mysterious forest.  I can’t really comment much about this area, but picking a sight closest to the beach is always a good idea!  The below photosphere is a road inside Lumby.

Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPSPANO_20150702_121720

Arrowhead Lake isn’t huge, but it’s not small either.  It’s surrounded by deep, thick vegetation, but has 3 distinguished beach areas, and 1 dog exercise area.  The beach on the EAST, closest to Roe, has a large sand dune type hill to walk down before getting to the beach.  The beach is large enough to hold a lot of people, and it’s ALL sand.  Water access is also all sand.  Below is a photosphere showing what this beach looks like:

Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPS2015-07-02(1)

The SOUTH beach is also all sandy, and really long.  There’s a parking lot just above that can hold a lot of cars.  The beach on the EAST side of the lake is a little smaller, but is still a really nice beach.  For a Muskoka lake.. these beaches are fantastic!  The water stays shallow enough for the kids to play, but then get’s deep enough for everything else.
The dog exercise area is out of the way, but accessible by car.  There’s a big enough parking lot for 10-15 cars, but be careful as there are dogs running around in the parking lot.  It has 2 areas of water access, where the dogs can run into the water.  It’s also a suitable spot for pet owners to relax on the beach, while their dogs run around.  I backed my truck right up to the water, and sat on the beach.  It’s also very swimmable here as well.  The floor of the beach isn’t as sandy as the real beaches, but does the trick.  Look below for a PHOTOSPHERE of the dog exercise area:
Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPS

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Below is a parking lot for one of the beaches.

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The below is the Dog Beach, and the picture below that is the parking lot.  There is an additional water access spot to the right.

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 I noticed the Park Officers drive by twice starting around 5pm.  So it’s patrolled, but not overly.

The park store is located right after the office, and it has the traditional park store stuff in it.  Not much candy, but does have chips, pop, and ice cream sandwhiches.  I didn’t buy any firewood here, but there is lots of it!
Make sure you take a walk down to the CENTER of the park.  This is where the road bridge is, and the foot bridge.  It really is beautiful.  There is ample parking here, and two beaches on either side.  You can rent water craft here as well.  It’s just a beautiful spot to sit and relax.  You’ll also see people fishing off the rocks under both bridges.  I didn’t notice any playgrounds for kids, but maybe I just missed it.
Just inside the park, is a road to the Park Amphitheater.  We didn’t see any services here, but check the Park calendar, and go check it out.  Here’s a Amphitheater PHOTOSPHERE:
Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPS
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The Trailer dumping station is located at the entrance to East River.  There is two spots for dumping, and two spots for filling fresh water.  Lots of room here for trailers.  PHOTOSPHERE:

Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPS2015-07-04(1) 2015-07-04

Best Campsites

I can only speak for Roe campground here.  I don’t have specific site numbers, but all sites are fairly private.  Best is to get one closest to the EAST beach area.  The trail to the beach is on Road 1, at the end (loop).

Hiking / Biking

Here is the link to the hiking and biking trails at the park

Arrowhead Lake Trail – This trail is 4.5km long, and goes around Arrowhead Lake.  We hiked it started at Roe campground.  It was a great trail that gave good views of the lake.  We thought we’d find a private swim spot on the trail, but there is not.  This trail is great for biking, or hiking.  There are some steep spots where you might need to walk your bike up or down.  The trail is wide enough for 4 bikes wide.  This trail can be caught from any parking lot, or right from Roe or Lumby campsites. Below are some pics of the trail:

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Big Bend Lookout – This isn’t really a hiking trail, but more of a path to a scenic lookout of a huge sand dune bend in the river.  There is a nice board walk to view from.  Worth the look!  It has a parking lot for 5-6 cars.  Here’s my PHOTOSPHERE of the lookout:

Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPSPANO_20150703_082617

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Mayflower Lake Trail – This is a 1km trail that winds along beside Mayflower Lake.  It’s a more rugged trail, and is only a pathway wide.  There are some steep area’s, but really nothing too hard.  I recommended it!  Here’s a PHOTOSPHERE of a spot I found on the trail:
Click on the below picture to open a 360 PHOTOSPHERE in GOOGLE MAPS2015-07-04


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Beaver Meadow Trail – This trail was closed when I was visiting the park.
Stubb’s Falls Trail – This trail starts at the center of the park (near the 2 bridges), and winds along south of the river to Stubb’s Falls.  It’s a beautiful area, with a great scenic water fall.  The trail then continues north of the river, back to the starting point.  The SOUTH part of the trail is smooth, and wide, and really easy to bike. You can even use a stroller on it. The north part of the trail is a little narrower, and rockier / rootier. There are some some elevation changes and mud holes.  It’s worth the hike, but if you have a bike, or stroller, stick to the south part of the trail.  If you don’t want to take the trail at all, there is a parking lot in East River that’s very close to the falls. As well, be careful on the stairs down to the falls. They are steep, and metal.
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Pro’s
-Beautiful lake, with awesome lake beaches
-LOT’S of trails to keep you busy and in shape!
-A great waterfall to view
-It’s in a great area, close to a big city if need be
-Awesome “vault” toilets

Con’s

-Pot holes!

Surrounding Area Activities

Conclusion

This was a great park!  There are a lot of activities, and trails here.  The beach areas are fantastic.  The dog beach is a great area also.

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