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Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs Provincial Park - main photo of the park

What you'll like:

  • Largest known concentration of Aboriginal rock carvings (petroglyphs) in Canada, depicting turtles, snakes, birds, humans and more; this sacred site is known as “The Teaching Rocks”
  • Visit the Learning Place Interpretive Centre to discover the traditions of the Ojibway people through the teachings of the medicine wheel
  • Visit bright blue/green McGinnis Lake – one of only a handful of meromictic (layers of water that don’t intermix) lakes in Canada
  • Great opportunities for wildlife viewing including Ontario’s only lizard, the Five-lined Skink

Petroglyphs Operating Hours Daily 10:00am - 5:00pm (All gates close at 5:00pm) The park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in the Spring and Fall with the exception of Holiday Mondays.

Camping

Petroglyphs is a day-use only park.  There are no overnight camping facilities.  If you are interesting in camping nearby try Lake St. Peter or Silent Lake Provincial Parks.

Highlights of Things to Do

Visitors to Petroglyphs will find many things to do at the park.  Stop by the Learning Place where you will find out about the central traditions of the Ojibway people through the teachings of the medicine wheel. Then take the trail to the petroglyphs site to see the hundreds of carvings in the soft, white rock. Picnic by the Learning Place or at McGinnis Lake or explore one of the park trails and immerse yourself in nature.

Visitors should register and pay at the Learning Centre. Please note that only cash and debit are accepted at this location.


Just the Facts

 
Hiking
Take only pictures, leave only footprints: don't bring any plants, animals or other natural objects with you. Park regulations prohibit this. For more information on Leave No Trace practices, visit www.leavenotrace.ca.

Ratarat Trail - 1 km, moderate 

Located at the West McGinnis Picnic Area, this short hike meanders through mixed forest and past the beautiful and unique McGinnis Lake. It’s a great area to have a picnic and then go for a short hike.

Marsh Trail - 7 km (2.5 hours) moderate
This trail winds through dense pine forest and marsh and then climbs - steeply in parts - to uplands.



Nanabush Trail 5.5 km (1.5 hours) easy
The trail crosses a variety of terrain from wetlands to rock outcrops. A trail booklet describes native legends: Learn how the White Birch got its black marks, why moss grows on rocks and how the Milky Way was created.

West Day-Use Trail 5 km (1.5 hours) moderate

This narrow trail winds through large pine stands and areas of oak and birch. A bridge crosses an ancient streambed made thousands of years ago.

 
Natural Heritage Education

The Natural Heritage Education team offer evening programs during July and August. Each program begins with showing the award winning film “The Teaching Rocks,” at the Learning Place theatre. Visitors are then led to the sacred Petroglyphs Site. Listen to park guides tell stories generations old, relating to First Nations and theories as to why these carvings were made.

School programs for Grades 3 to university/college level are offered the second Friday each month from May to Thanksgiving. Educators can choose from a program at the Learning Place and petroglyph site (1½ hours) or at the petroglyph site only (1 hour). There are currently no fees for school programs however a school bus or daily vehicle permit must be purchased to enter the park.  School programs must be booked at least one week in advance.

 
Birding

Petroglyphs Provincial Park borders the Peterborough Crown Game Reserve. Birds such as Gray Jays, Wild Turkeys, Ruffed Grouse and various types of hawks are visible in the summer.

 
Other

Petroglyphs Site
A protective building, built in 1984, covers the Aboriginal rock carvings at Petroglyphs. Interpreters are available to help visitors understand these intriguing images. An interpretive brochure about the petroglyphs is available and interpretive plaques are located around the site. Please note that photographing and videotaping the petroglyphs is not permitted for spiritual reasons. Dogs are not allowed in the Learning Place or in the protective building over the carvings.

Amenities

Petroglyphs has all the amenities that a visitor requires to enjoy a day at the park including the inspiring Learning Place Interpretive Centre and picnic facilities for an outdoor lunch.

Just the Facts

 
Flush Toilets

Flush toilets are available at the Learning Place.

 
Barrier Free Access

Paths from the parking lots to the Learning Place and petroglyph site are barrier-free. A parking lot closer to the petroglyph site and Learning Place is available for senior citizens and others who cannot walk long distances.

One wheelchair is available at the Learning Place upon request and another is located at the petroglyph site.

Visitors with baby strollers will have no problem on the paths leading to the Visitor Centre and petroglyph site, however the hiking trails are too rugged.

 
Day Use Area

Picnic tables are located throughout the park.  You can picnic at either the east or west side of McGinnis Lake or by the Learning Place.  Vault toilets are available at McGinnis Lake.

 
Park Store

The Park Store, located in the Learning Place, offers souvenirs and refreshments. Browse through nature books for children and adults, as well as books on rock art and Aboriginal culture. Relax in front of the stone fireplace while enjoying a cup of coffee, tea or cider and a snack.

 
Picnic Shelter

A covered picnic shelter is located at the McGinnis Lake West day-use area.

Park Location

Fire Ban

None

There is no fire ban at this time.

Boil Water

No

There is no boil water advisory at this time.

Beach Posting

No

There is no beach posting at this time.


Petroglyphs Provincial Park

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