Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grundy Lake Provincial Park, August 2012

We spent last week at Grundy Lake Provincial Park, near Sudbury.  Grundy is one of my top parks - there is just so much to do.  The weather was a little sketchy, with some rain and cool temperatures, but it didn't slow us down much.

We took a nice day-long trip on Pakeshkag Lake.  The road from the campground to the lake is only about 3km, but it's narrow and rough. The lake itself is not large. At the end of the lake, there's a small waterfall to hump the canoe over into a smaller lake.  For the adventurous, you can then drag the canoe through a tunnel under the railway tracks (or over, as the portage sign suggests - I highly recommend going under the tracks).  Once you're on the other side, there's another waterfall to carry the canoe around, through a patch of poison ivy.  But, if you make it that far, you're on a beautiful lake with a terrific rock to stop on for lunch and a swim.

We paddled up the creek at the end of the last lake, but didn't get too far.  Silly beavers had blocked it off.  It was getting hot and the kids were barking about going to the jumping rocks, so we turned around.

We returned to Pakeshkag Lake later in the week, and went up a different creek, across the lake from the canoe launch. There was lots of moose evidence, but the threatening rain, fallen trees, beaver dams and strong wind turned us around early.  Next time we'll wear bathing suits and lift the canoe over the dams to go farther upstream.

Several mornings we woke up early and went for a sunrise paddle on Gurd Lake.

Every morning we saw a family of six or seven otters in the same spot.

There were lots of loons swimming and flying around Gurd Lake at all times of the day.  We ran into a group one morning.

Gurd Lake has had a family of swans for the summer the past few years.  We've seen them up close the other two times we've been to Grundy, but this time they were a little more cautious. We saw the swans at a distance a couple of times, and closer only once.  In previous years they drifted right by the beach, when it was packed with kids.

On this trip we hiked all three of Grundy's trails, and a bonus one at the French River visitor's centre.

The Beaver Dam trail is the longest one in the park, with two loops.  At the end of the far loop we stumbled on a nest of yellowjackets in some tree roots.  Unfortunately, two of our party came out on the losing side of that encounter, including smallest daughter. She refused to let me carry her though, and walked it off all the way back to the car.

The girls and I returned to the Beaver Dam trail at sunset one evening, hoping to see some wildlife.  We walked the trail to the first wetland lookout, and saw a buck with a decent set of antlers.  He spooked when he saw us and ran into the forest before we could snap a photo.

The Gut Lake trail is the prettiest in the park.  It runs along the lake opposite the jumping rocks.  The first half of the trail is smooth granite, with a beautiful view along the lakeshore.  The second half is forest with a wetland view.

The Swan Lake trail is the shortest one in the park.  It's a nice easy trail over smooth granite and boardwalk.  On our first trip to Grundy we filled several containers with blueberries along this trail, so we were hoping for blueberries this time, but all the bushes were brown and crispy.

At the French River visitor centre, about a five minute drive north of Grundy, we did the Recollet Falls trail. The trail is hilly and very "rocky and rooty" as the kids say. The falls themselves are neat to see though, and we arrived there at the same time a canoe group was starting their portage around the falls.

No trip to Grundy is complete without enjoying some time at the jumping rocks. Smaller kids were jumping from the shorter rocks with life jackets on, and the reckless teenagers were high flying from "King Kong".

The other favourite spot for the kids was the slippery rocks.  There's a spot near the beach in the Red Maple campground where the rocks slope gently into the water. The rocks are covered with some sort of slippery moss. Once you're ankle deep you are going in.  It's very difficult to get out of the water, so much so that someone's tied a rope to a nearby rock. We also swam across the bay to a small jumping rock on the other side for a change of pace.

More photos here:


  1. Terrific write-up and pictures Marc. Grundy is also one of our favorite parks. We go there every year, and it looks like we missed you by one week. Maybe next year ;)

  2. Watch for a red Jeep sporting a canoe on the roof, hauling a trailer full of pool noodles and bicycles, with two girls in the back seat asking "are we there yet?"

  3. Anonymous7:35 pm

    Good to know the slippery rock is still there. It would be over 40 years ago that we swam there. No rope then, we just had to work our way up on our butts. By the end of the summer our bathing suit bottoms were green.