|Parks, Conservation, Nature and Adventure in Prince Edward County|
|World famous Algonquin Provincial Park is only a few hours drive north of Prince Edward County.|
|Presqu'ile Provincial Park
Just to the east of the area you'll also find Presqu'ile Provincial Park which is very well known for it's birding. The peninsula is of major importance for birds during the spring and fall migration, countless species can be observed during these periods.
Links of Interest
Note: This list is by no means exhaustive but it should get you well started.
Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area - There are over 20km of shared use trails in the conservation area. In the winter the trails are used for cross country skiing and in the summer mountain biking and hiking. The escarpment is forested and you'll find hickory, ash, oak and maple. This is a great birding area frequented by ovenbirds, grosbeaks, wood thrushes and many, many more. So don't forget your binoculars. Some of the trails are extremely steep rising over 40 metres, good footwear is required. From Picton the Conservation Area is a short distance along route #8.
Massassauga Point Conservation Area - There are several hiking trails which take you into the Bur Oak Grove and the old Quarry through red cedar forests. You'll also find a cobblestone beach. Watch for raptors, including the ever present red tailed hawk. From Picton take the 4 to the 62, then take the 28 south just before the bridge. From the 28 take Marsh Road a short ways to Davidson, then follow Tops Line and Sunrise. Watch for the sign.
Beaver Meadow Wildlife Conservation Area - The conservation area has hiking trails which will take you through swamp, meadows and forested areas. From Picton take the 10 to the 11, the Conservation Area is on your left a short distance from where you pick up the 11.
Little Bluff Conservation Area - a natural area along the shore, with cliffs that fall off into the bay providing a nice overlook. There are hiking trails or you can just walk the rocky beach. The area is frequented by birders. Take country road 8 from Picton to the where it branches onto the 17, follow the 17 to the "T" intersection and turn right (east) along the 16. Follow it for a short distance to the next "T", where you take the 13 to the right (south). Follow the 13 a short distance passed the intersection with the 10 and you'll find the Conservation Area on your left.
Harry Smith Conservation
Backpackers won't find any long distance trails on the peninsula but there are a lot of opportunities within a few hours drive of the area. The 200km (250km when completed) Oak Ridges Moraine Trail runs from the Niagara Escarpment in the west to the Trent River. The Cataraqui Trail is a 104km mult-use trail stretching from Strathcona to Smiths Falls. The Rideau Trail winds from Kingston in the south, to Ottawa in the north, a distance of 300km in total. The relatively new multi-use Central Ontario Loop Trail (COLT Trail) loops 450km from the Brighton/Trenton area, through Lindsey, then up towards Minden, over to Haliburton, before swings back south and passed Bancroft, following along north of Belleville before heading back to Brighton/Trenton. For something really different there is the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail, which passes just above the peninsula and travels through a number of Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas. Many of the parks and conservation areas have camping. Check before heading out and make reservations in high season to avoid spoiling your trip.
You'll also find backpacking trails in nearby Provincial Parks including:
Prince Edward County is developing a solid reputation for its diving. There are a number of shipwrecks in the area, and some may yet lay undiscovered. There is a local charter available.
There are two areas off Sandbanks Provincial Park in Wellington Bay (outside of the West Lake dunes). The best area in Quinte Isle is probably Main Duck Island about 17km off the tip of Prince Edward Point. Closer to shore check out Pleasant Point, Point Petre and Soup Harbour (just south of Sandbanks), along with Beachcroft Point off Wellers Harbour. Some of the wrecks in the area include:
The Annie Falconer
For more information and transportation to the dive sites contact:
Ducks Dive Charters
Sandbanks - 5km, Easy. Cycle the Woodland Trail from Outlet Beach to Dunes Beach. There are a number of quiet roadways throughout the park as well.
Macauley Mountain Conservation Area - Intermediate to Expert. The conservation area offers excellent mountain biking, mostly single track, right in the heart of Quinte Isle on the escarpment. While there are some easy sections but the majority of the area is intermediate and expert. The trails are maintained by a local club and you can tell by some of the layout they like challenges. Over all a great area to ride, perhaps its only failing is there isn't more of it. The entrance to the conservation area has a large sign with a map of the trials and indications of there difficulty. You can get your own copy of the map, for a fee from the area office.
Belleville Bayshore Trail - 4.2 km, The Riverfront Trail is a short, paved path, that follows the shoreline of the Bay of Quinte, along the waterfront in Belleville. Open to cyclists and hikers the trail will soon be linked to the Waterfront and Trans Canada Trails.
There are six separate road cycling routes on Quinte's Isle which have been mapped out with descriptions. The pamphlets are available from the Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism and Commerce.
Route #1 - 46.3km
Route #2 - 56.5km
Route #3 - 36.1km
Route #4 - 35.8km
Route #5 - 51.7km
Route #6 - 40km
Nearby you'll find several rail trails or multi-use trails where you can ride (hybrids or mountain bikes are the best bet, unless the trail is paved). The Cataraqui Trail is a 104km multi-use trail stretching from Strathcona to Smiths Falls. The relatively new multi-use Central Ontario Loop Trail (COLT Trail) loops 450km from the Brighton/Trenton area, through Lindsey, then up towards Minden, over to Haliburton, before swings back south and passed Bancroft, following along north of Belleville before heading back to Brighton/Trenton. For something really different there is the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail, which passes just above the peninsula and travels through a number of Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas. Many of the parks and conservation areas have camping, check before heading out and make reservations in high season to avoid spoiling your trip.
The dunes area in Sandbanks makes for some interesting paddling and exploration. North Beach is another area with a similar appeal, large stretches of sand dunes protected on one side and open to the lake on the other. Only attempt the exposed west side, which is exposed to Lake Ontario if you're an expert, if the wind is up this can be extremely challenging. Wellers Bay above North Beach has a large dune system which offers protection while you do some exploration. The whole peninsula provides lots of possibilities, which have for the most part gone undeveloped but are recently being explored and documented. There are a multitude of protected routes in the reaches, and for the real experts, the islands along Lake Ontario's shores, could be of particular interest. Lazy paddles are available within the East Lake, West Lake and the short but beautiful Outlet River of Sandbanks.
Prince Edward Region Conservation Authority has programs for discovering the area by canoe and kayak, contact them for more information.
Sandbanks Provincial Park provides canoe and sit-on-top kayak rentals. Contact the park for details.
Note: Lake Ontario is essentially an inland sea and is easily capable of sinking large freighters when things get rough. The exposed areas are better left to the experts to explore.
|Backcountry skiers won't find trails within
the peninsula but can practice their passion at Algonquin Provincial Park a few hours north of Prince Edward County. Sandbanks does allow for winter camping, check with the park for details.
There are no national parks in the region but St. Lawrence Islands National Park is just to the east of Kingston.
|Dog Friendly Parks
Most Ontario Provincial Parks allow you to bring your four legged friend along but they must be on a short leash and they must be cleaned up after.
|Prince Edward Region
Conservation Authorities Near Prince Edward County
|Huts, Yurts and Cabins - Nearby - within a 4 hours drive of PEC
|Back Country Camping
Front Country Camping - Parks in Prince Edward County
Front Country Camping - Parks Nearby Prince Edward County
An almost endless front country and back country camp sites are available at world famous Algonquin Provincial Park which is only a few hours drive north of Prince Edward County.
Private Campgrounds & RV Parks - See Accommodations
Retail & Rental - Nearby
You can rent canoes and play kayaks at Sandbanks Provincial Park.
There are no ski hills in Prince Edward County but Batawa is just to the north of the 401 (above Trenton) a few minutes from exit 525. There are a number of hills and resorts north of Toronto just a few hours drive from Quinte.
Clubs and Associations - Nearby
You can break out the beaver tails in Sandbanks, North Beach and Lake on the Mountain Provincial Parks. You can also take a winter hike with your snowhoes at many of the conservation areas within the peninsula. Always remember to stay off the ski trails.
Dogsledding rides and tours are available in Algonquin Provincial Park only a few hours drive north of Prince Edward County.
There are excellent rafting companies and resorts about 4 hours drive, on the Ottawa River outside Beachburg. Another excellent area is the Rouge on the Quebec/Ontario border. Have a look at our White Water Rafting section for details.
There are excellent white water opportunities on the Ottawa River about 4 hours drive from PEC. Other areas include Minden, the Credit River, the Gull, the Petawawa, and the Rouge on the Quebec/Ontario border. Have a look at our White Water Paddling section for details.
There are no developed climbing areas in Prince Edward County but Bon Echo Provincial Park north of the isle has a significant rock face, a section of which can be climbed. Contact the park for details. If you want to spend a couple of hours on an indoor wall head to the Boiler Room in Kingston.
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