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Presqu'ile

Presqu'ile Provincial Park - main photo of the park

What you'll like:

  • Over 300 car camping sites in a variety of settings from shoreline to forest
  • 2.5 km sandy beach
  • 16 km of trails and paths along shorelines and through woodlands and meadows
  • A migration hotspot in spring and fall, 336 bird species recorded with 130 breeding species
  • 1 km marsh boardwalk trail accessing the largest protected marsh on the north shore of Lake Ontario
  • Two Visitor Centres; Nature Centre open daily in summer and the Lighthouse Centre open daily in summer and on weekends in the spring and fall
  • Daily interpretive programs in the summer
  • Second oldest operating lighthouse in Ontario
  • World class spring bird migration – waterfowl in March, warblers and shorebirds in May.

Camping Experiences

By the Numbers

  • Total Campsites - 394
  • Electrical Campsites - 160
  • Group Campsites - 10

Camping

Presqu’ile is a popular destination for car camping.  It has over 300 campsites in eight campgrounds.  Sites range from shoreline to deeply wooded sites.  Over 150 sites have electrical service.  All campsites are just a short stroll from the cobble and rock shoreline of Lake Ontario.


 

Car Camping

Car camping is available in eight separate campground loops within the greater campground area. The following five sites are open during the full camping season from late April to Thanksgiving weekend in October and are serviced with comfort stations and water taps.

High Bluff Campground has approximately 100 sites; most of which have electrical service. This campground has many open, sunny sites that are popular for RVs. The few sites directly on the water are the most popular in the park. Wooded sites are available in the back of the loop. A comfort station with flush toilets and showers is centrally situated.

Pines Campground is the smallest campground with all electrical sites situated among a Scots Pine forest. It is popular for RVs. A comfort station with flush toilets is centrally located.

Maples Campground has almost 50 non-electrical, spacious sites, in a mixed deciduous-coniferous forest. A comfort station with flush toilets and showers is situated at the south end of the campground.

Lakeside Campground has non-electrical sites, with a few located right on the lakeshore. The Park Campground Hosts are located at Campsite #212. The comfort station is shared with Hidden Valley Campground and not available after Labour Day. Maples Comfort Station is a short stroll away.

Trails End Campground has almost all electrical campsites. This former farm field is now treed with a young forest and shrubs and most sites are nicely screened. Vault toilets and water taps service this campground.

The following three campsites are open from the May long weekend until Labour Day.

Craigs Campground has non-electrical campsites in a wooded area and is radio-free. Vault toilets and water taps are located on the site and comfort stations are a short stroll away.

Hidden Valley Campground has non-electrical sites in a mature forest. A comfort station with flush toilets and showers is located on the west side of the campground.

Elmvale Campground has mostly non-electrical sites with a few having electrical service. Three sites are situated directly on the lakeshore. Most sites are in mature forest, with the ones nearer the lake being more open. Vault toilets and water taps service this campground.

 

Radio-Free Camping

Craigs Campground is designated as radio-free.

 

Group Camping

Presqu’ile has ten group campsites that accommodate various group sizes: Site one - 75, site two - 50, site three - 70, site four - 40, site five - 25, site six - 40, site seven - 50, site eight - 15, site nine - 60 and site ten - 60. There are water taps and vault toilets on each site as well as a garbage depot. The sites are located near a rocky beach and are a 15 to 20 minute walk from the comfort station. Reservations can be made by calling the park directly at (613) 475-4324, starting April 25th.

Highlights of Things to Do

Presqu’ile is an outstanding park for families, nature enthusiasts, photographers, beach goers, walkers or anyone that enjoys the outdoors. Flat, paved, bike and walking lanes along the lakeshore are popular all year. Twelve kilometres of “off-road” trails provide a wide range of experiences. The 2.5 km sandy beach is managed for human recreation at the north end and for wildlife, particularly migrating shorebirds, at the south end.


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.

Presqu’ile was made for walking; its flat terrain and views of Lake Ontario attract walkers all year. A favourite route for many is the paved one-way driving loop (Lighthouse Lane and Paxton Drive) around the peninsula. This road has a designated walking/bike lane and is plowed in the winter. This is still a road however and walkers are urged to be cautious, particularly in the busy summer months. For those wanting a more natural experience Presqu’ile has 12 km of traditional “off-road” trails. All trails are clearly marked with coloured plastic blazes and are cleared of deadfall on a regular basis.

Jobes’ Woods Trail – 1.0 km, 30 minutes, loop, easy
This trail winds through an area that was once part of a farm settled by Thomas and Ezekial Jobes in 1835. This part of their farm remained relatively undisturbed by settlement activity and today contains one of the oldest deciduous woodlots at Presqu’ile.

The trail passes by towering old maples, vernal pools crossed by boardwalks, conifer plantations, and an old field which is filling in with ash trees after a century of use by the Jobes family. An interpretive guide introducing visitors to the ecology of the Jobes’ forest is available at the trailhead or can be downloaded in the maps tab.

Owen Point Trail – 1.6 km, 45 minutes, loop, easy
This trail offers excellent opportunities to see migrating shorebirds along the natural beach and distant views of the waterbird colonies on their island nesting grounds. The trail can be accessed from the south end of the beach or from the west end of High Bluff Campground.

To avoid disturbing migrating birds, the natural beach is closed to foot traffic between ice-out and ice-in, but the trail provides a number of lookouts allowing views of the entire shore. In addition, pets are not allowed on this trail at any time. To protect the nesting waterbirds, access to Gull and High Bluff Islands is closed from March 10 to September 10 inclusive. Gull Island can usually be accessed by foot after September 10 from Lookout #5 of the Owen Point Trail.

An interpretive guide to the ecology of the point and the islands is available at the trailhead or can be downloaded in the maps tab.

Marsh Trail – 1.2 km, 30 minutes, loop, easy
This trail includes 800 m of boardwalk complete with two viewing towers and a teaching platform (great for picnics too!) that takes visitors into the marsh. Sixteen interpretive panels along the trail illustrate the story of the marsh and its inhabitants.  The boardwalk portion of the trail is barrier-free.

Pioneer and Newcastle Trails – 8.1 km, 3 hours, two interconnected loops, easy
These trails lead you through the forests, plantations and old fields found in the heart of the Presqu’ile peninsula.  Along these trails you will encounter a diversity of plants and wildlife in the mature beech-maple forest, old fields and early succession forest which dominate this area of the park.

The Pioneer Trail is 3.8 km and marked by yellow plastic blazes. The Newcastle Trail is 4.3 km and is marked by orange plastic blazes. The trailhead for both trails is halfway along Lighthouse Lane, though there are a number of other access points along both trails.  Both trails use park roadways for part of their length so be cautious of vehicles and monitor children running ahead on the trail.

Lighthouse Foot Path – 300 m, 20 minutes, loop, easy
This loop connects the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre with the lighthouse itself. There are great views of Lake Ontario and Presqu’ile Bay, with waterfowl in winter and spring, and a cool breeze in summer. Interpretive panels illustrate the history of the area.

Cemetery Trail – 300 m, 15 minutes, linear, easy
This path connects the cemetery interpretive panel at the Camp Office parking lot with the site of an abandoned pioneer cemetery. The site itself is marked with a commemorative granite boulder, though no other evidence remains.

 
Canoeing

Presqu’ile Bay and marsh are sheltered enough to allow canoe exploration. Canoes can be put in at the Camp Office viewing platform or at Calf Pasture picnic area. Canoeing in Lake Ontario is recommended only on the calmest days. Please note that during waterbird nesting season you must remain a minimum of 200 m away from the two offshore islands (High Bluff and Gull). Nesting season occurs from March 10 to September 10 inclusive.

 
Swimming

A long, safe, sandy beach is ideal for family swimming. Please remember that there are no lifeguards on duty at the beach so children must be supervised.

 
Boating

Both Presqu’ile Bay and Lake Ontario are accessible to boats. Please note that during waterbird nesting season you must remain a minimum of 200 m away from the two offshore islands (High Bluff and Gull). Nesting season occurs from March 10 to September 10 inclusive.

There is a municipally run boat launch 1 km east of the park entrance.

 
Fishing

The waters of both Presqu’ile Bay and Lake Ontario are accessible by boat for fishing in season. Land-based fishing can be enjoyed at the Calf Pasture Picnic Ground or just outside the park from the Municipality of Brighton’s “Government Dock”.

 
Biking

With its flat terrain, Presqu’ile is well suited to cycling. There is a dedicated walking/bike lane beside the paved 8 km road loop that provides access to picnic grounds, the visitor centres and trails. An unpaved bicycle path connects the campgrounds with the paved loop, beach and Park Store.

 
Natural Heritage Education

Daily slide talks, guided walks, campfire programs, and children’s programs are held in the summer. Guided walks, conducted bird walks and other nature activities are offered on weekends in the spring and fall.



Waterfowl Viewing Weekend in mid-March draws thousands of visitors to see thousands of ducks. Volunteer naturalists are on hand each day to operate telescopes, identify the different types of ducks and point out distinguishing field marks.


Warblers and Whimbrels Weekend occurs on the Victoria Day weekend, the traditional peak of spring bird migration. Bird walks, bird banding and evening programs introduce the elusive Whimbrel and the colourful warblers that pass through the park.



History Weekend, held on the Civic holiday weekend, is an opportunity to relive Presqu’ile’s storied past. Special events, such as old fashioned games, a musical social evening, a boat-building bee and regatta, a BBQ lunch social, history play and historical recreations occur throughout the weekend.

Monarchs and Migrants Weekend, held on Labour Day weekend, offers a chance to see and learn more about migrating Monarch Butterflies, songbirds and shore birds. Park naturalists and guest speakers offer slide talks, shorebird viewing, butterfly tagging demonstrations and special hikes.



Curriculum-based children’s educational programming is offered by Park Naturalists in the spring and fall for schools and other groups courtesy of the Friends of Presqu’ile.

 
Birding

As a major stopover for migrating birds and monarch, Presqu’ile is renowned among birdwatchers as one of the premier birding locations in the province. At least 336 species of birds have been spotted within in the park and 130 species are known to nest here. March for waterfowl, May for songbirds and shorebirds and September for shorebirds are highlight months.

 
Winter Activities

Walking is popular all year at Presqu’ile on the paved road loop with a dedicated walking lane.  Self-grooming skiing is available on the 12 km of trails in the park. From the group camping parking lot, two loops head east and west.

 
Hunting

A regulated waterfowl hunt takes place Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the marsh and offshore islands from the fourth Friday in September to December 20th. Hunting in this park is subject to the Ontario Hunting Regulations. Certain restrictions apply. For more information, contact the park or a Ministry of Natural Resources office.

Amenities

Modern camping facilities offering the luxuries of comfort stations with barrier-free showers and flush toilets are located in four of the campgrounds. Three comfort stations are also available in the day-use area along the beach.

Other amenities include two visitor centres, a picnic shelter (available for exclusive rental) and large day use area.

Just the Facts

 
Comfort Station(s)

Presqu’ile has four newer campground comfort stations and three comfort stations in the day-use area along the back beach.

 
Flush Toilets

Flush toilets are located in the four campground comfort stations, at the comfort stations at the Owen Point Parking lot, Beaches 2 and 3, and at the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre.

 
Barrier Free Access

All comfort stations allow for barrier-free access to flush toilets and showers. The Main Office, Camp Office, Lighthouse Centre and Nature Centre are also barrier-free as is the 800 m marsh boardwalk.

 
Day Use Area

There are extensive day-use facilities and locations at Presqu’ile. The beach, trails, and visitor centres are all accessible to day-users.  There are two main picnic areas; one is a large open, grassy area along the lakeshore.  It is divided by a small strip of forest. This area is serviced by water taps and vault toilets and has numerous picnic tables.  Calf Pasture also has vault toilets and a few tables and is a quiet location for a picnic.  In addition, single tables can be found in a number of quiet nooks throughout the park.  The beach, lighthouse area, Jobes’ Woods Trail and Marsh Boardwalk Trail are all possibilities.

 
Rentals

A new picnic shelter with BBQ (bring your own solid fuel) is available for exclusive rental. Contact the Park Office for details.

 
Park Store

The Park Store sells basic groceries, camping supplies, park souvenirs and fast food. Firewood is available at the Park Store and Camp Office in the summer and at the Main Gate and Main Office the rest of the year.

The Friends of Presqu’ile operate a gift and book store at the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre.

 
Picnic Shelter

There is one picnic shelter in the park which is located in the day-use area by the shore of Lake Ontario. The shelter is available for exclusive rental but if it is not rented it is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact the Park Office to reserve.

 
Visitor Centre

Lighthouse Interpretive Centre

The Lighthouse Interpretive Centre introduces park guests to the fascinating cultural history of Presqu’ile. Come see the lighthouse model, schooner displays and our video presentations on the sinking of the Speedy and the history of the peninsula as told by Jack Atkins, the last farmer on the peninsula. Join us each Friday throughout the summer for history programs on the characters who called Presqu’ile their home. The Lighthouse Interpretive Centre and Lighthouse Gift Shop are open daily during the summer months from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on weekends during spring and fall.

Nature Centre

Visit the Nature Centre and catch a glimpse of the rich, natural history that Presqu’ile has to offer. Get up close to the live frogs, snakes, fish and turtles that call the park home. The Nature Centre is in the yellow house located on Lighthouse Lane between the Group Camp and Lighthouse Interpretive Centre. It is open daily from Canada Day to Labour Day weekend from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Park Location

Campground Maps (online)

Online Map

Park Maps (pdf)

Park Overview - pdf

Campground Map - pdf

Trail Maps (pdf)

Jobes Woods Trail - pdf

Owen Point Trail - pdf

Walking Trails - pdf

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.

Presqu'ile Provincial Park

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