Even though the weather is changing, and pretty fast I might add, I’m a huge fan of camping and hiking all year round. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices and lack of preparation. Okay, okay, I know that might be easy to say… until you’re attempting to hike in the middle of a freakin’ snow storm. But, embracing adventures in the outdoors all year long is totally worth it – I promise!
So off on a Fall adventure we went! We packed the car full of some essential camping gear, a ton of blankets, lots of warm clothing (and coffee, of course), and set off for a weekend camping adventure at Earl Rowe Provincial Park. Checking in was super easy and the staff was friendly and accommodating. The campsite was as consistent and enjoyable as all of the Ontario Parks campgrounds that I’ve visited so far. Side note, I actually plan on ticking all of them off of my list one day. Serious goals, my friends. The campsites were a great size, well laid out and in an accessible location. As an avid camper, these are important factors in determining your overall experience!
There are several different campground sites available on site during different times of year, so be sure to check their website. Weekday camping is quite easy to book as well. There’s plenty of mid-week availability throughout the Fall for last-minute trips. It’s also a great way to find a spot at busy parks! If a park appears to be full, visitors can try to play around with different dates, so there’s a lot of flexibility in booking – which is nice. Some of the many activities at Earl Rowe Provincial Park include several kilometres of hiking trails, biking, canoeing, swimming and fishing. Not only are there two large beach areas; East Beach and Westbeach.
After a wonderful sleep in our cozy tent, we got up nice and early to start a fire and make some coffee. There’s something about having a hot cup of campfire coffee after a night of sleeping out in nature that just hits different. If you know, you know. After a hearty, but simple breakfast, we headed off for our pre-planned hike to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. It was so easy to book our Daily Vehicle Permit, which even allowed us to book specific times to visit the park!
New in 2021, Ontario Parks is offering a new service for day-use for visitors at their 17 busiest provincial parks. You’ll be able to get your Daily Vehicle Permit in advance of your visit by booking online for the day that you want to go. Since they are limiting the number of visitors to each park for safety protocols, this eliminates the potential of you wasting your time sitting in a line-up at park gates, only to be turned away because your favourite park is already full.
Mono Cliffs Parks Provincial parks is one of these parks. It’s worth a visit for sure! Located on the Niagara Escarpment and part of the picturesque Bruce Trail, it’s full of rock faces, beautiful trails and lookouts. My personal favourite spot is the 100-foot stairway through the spillway trail that makes its way down the cliff to a wooden bridge that runs right through two rock faces. Another popular fall-viewing trail, which is absolutely worth the hike, are the 30 metre cliffs on the cliff top trail.
All in all, camping and hiking all year round is wonderful. With each season, there’s always something new and exciting to explore. Just be as prepared as you can be – all while enjoying the unpredictable and fun adventures that may arise along the way! Oh, and bring coffee. Always bring coffee.
Photos by Catherine Sugrue
Please note that this is a sponsored post.