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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 Visitor Centre to discover the traditions of the Ojibway (Nishnaabe) 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 (No vehicle access after 4:30pm. All vehicles must exit before gates close at 5:30pm). 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 (Nishnaabe) people through the teachings of the medicine wheel. Then take the walking path 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 are to register and pay for parking at the Learning Place (Visitor Centre).


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.

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 offers several 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 various understandings as to why these carvings were made.

Guided tours are available for public groups and school groups throughout the operating season.  Group leaders have several options for planning their day; groups may make use of the hiking trails and picnic areas, the group can book to watch the film “The Teaching Rocks” at the Learning Place before going to the Petroglyphs site for a tour.  If a group is on a tight timeframe they may alternatively forego the film and go directly to see the Petroglyphs tour.  Depending on staff availability, a small guided walk-through may be available at the Learning Place in addition to the Petroglyphs tour.  There are currently no fees for group programs however all applicable school bus and/or daily vehicle permits must be purchased to enter the park.  Group programs must book at least one week in advance (preferably earlier) to ensure that a tour will be available.  Groups larger than 30 in number may have split tours to ensure all group members and other park visitors have an enjoyable visit to the Petroglyphs site.  Group leaders should ensure that members of their group/class are prepared to have appropriate respect and appreciation for this spiritually significant site.

 
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 Visitor 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 each of the day-use areas by McGinnis Lake as well as by the main parking lot.

In order to preserve McGinnis Lake’s unique meromictic nature and scientifically significant sediment record, swimming is prohibited and there are no provisions for any other water-based recreation in the park.  A swimming area outside the park is available at ‘Quarry Bay’ municipal beach on Stoney Lake, 1.5km east of the Petroglyphs Provincial Park entrance.

 
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 East day-use area.

Park Location

Park features on this map are representative only and may not accurately depict regulated park boundaries. For official map representation of provincial parks, visit Ontario's Crown Land Use Policy Atlas.

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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