suspension bridge over river with fall forest on banks

How to use Ferris as a basecamp to explore Northumberland County

Ferris Provincial Park is a hidden gem in southeastern Ontario, only two hours east of Toronto.

It’s best-known for its pedestrian suspension bridge overlooking a panoramic view of the Trent River Gorge and Ranney Falls.

It’s also conveniently located in Northumberland County. This unspoiled region is full of great eateries, rich cultural experiences, entertainment, beaches, and great outdoor adventures.

And that makes Ferris the perfect basecamp to explore it all. Here’s why you need to check this region out:

Your home base: Ferris Provincial Park

Over 150 campsites are available in Ferris’ two campground loops, Valleyview and Bedrock.

Two people setting up a tent

Valleyview Loop has electric campsites and is set atop a forested drumlin. The Bedrock Loop also has electrical campsites available for RVs, and is just a short walk to the playground and day-use picnic areas.

Ferris’ campgrounds offer three conveniently located comfort stations, including one in the Valleyview Loop with showers.

What to do in the park

At Ferris, you can explore over 10 km of trails that take you through forest and riverside settings.

The Ranney Falls Trail follows the original roadway to Ferris Provincial Park before looping back along the river. Here you’ll find the suspension bridge overlooking the trail’s namesake Ranney Falls.

In the fall, the Ranney Falls Suspension bridge leads visitors over a forest of red, yellow, and orange trees displaying the iconic colours of the season. Check the Fall Colour Report before visiting to make sure you get the chance to see this one-of-a-kind view.

trail map

The Drumlin Trail System takes you through mature mixed forest, by small wetlands, and along seasonal creeks that have developed on two elongated hills called drumlins.

Destination: Northumberland County

It’s remarkable how peaceful life gets only two hours outside the city.

Northumberland County is home to several small, sleepy communities including Cobourg (nickname: “Ontario’s feel good town”), Port Hope, and Campbellford.

Drone shot of forest at the top of a mountain
Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

It’s bordered on the south by Lake Ontario, and on the north by Rice Lake, with the Trent-Severn Waterway joining the two.

 Campbellford 

Campbellford is the nearest settlement to Ferris – a meager eight-minute drive away.

Drone shot of Campbellford's downtown and waterfront
Campbellford downtown. Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

And that’s good news for you, because the town offers clothing boutiques, gift shops, antique stores, specialty food shops, and groceries, all enhanced by one-of-a-kind eateries.

Areal shot of a lock
Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

In normal summer months, Campbellford hosts several festivals including the Incredible Edibles Festival or the Campbellford Seymour Fair.

Or visit one of the Westben Concerts at The Barn for live music performances.

 Warkworth and Hastings

The nearby communities of Warkworth and Hastings offer more opportunities for discovery, just over 20 minutes each from Ferris.

Cosseted by seven picturesque hills, Warkworth is both a farming community and a centre for the arts. Two signature Warkworth events are the Maple Syrup Festival and Millennium Trail Lilac Festival.

Drone shot of Hastings waterfront
Hastings, Ontario. Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

Nearby is Hastings, boasting a quaint downtown with a variety of shops, services, and places to eat.

The community lies on the shores of the Trent River, meaning you can spend a day boating, fishing, or swimming on the water.

Cobourg and Port Hope

Cobourg and Port Hope are the two largest communities in Northumberland County. They’re both just over an hour from Ferris, making them great day-trip destinations.

Shot of city hall in downtown Cobourg
Downtown Cobourg. Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

Cobourg exemplifies the spacious, small-town feeling. Here, you can enjoy unique architectural landmarks and great shopping, dining, galleries, and theatre.

The town has a active and diverse waterfront.

Drone shot of the Cobourg harbour
Cobourg Harbour. Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

You can spend a day relaxing on the fine white sand of the Cobourg Beach or watch the sailboats drift by at the Cobourg Marina. Both are only minutes away from restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs (how good would an ice cream be right about now?).

Downtown Port Hope. Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

Many areas of Port Hope’s old town, including the downtown commercial core, remain little changed from the days of Queen Victoria, carefully preserved by the town’s residents.

Like a time capsule, Port Hope captures the flavour of small town Ontario in the late 1800s.

bridge over a river with Port Hope downtown in the background
Port Hope Downtown. Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

Port Hope is now known as a foodie destination, with many restaurants offering locally grown produce on their menus.

 Outdoor experiences

 In Northumberland Country, there’s no lack of access to the outdoors.

two bikers on a dirt trail
Biking on the Trans-Canada Trail. Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

You might want to cycle on Northumberland’s section of The Great Trail (formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail). It’s a 37 km strip running between Ferris and Hastings with spectacular views all along the way.

Alternatively, try the Trent River Truckin’ Cycling Route. On the 64 km route, you’ll explore Warkworth, Campbellford, the locks along the Trent-Severn Waterway, and the stunning Ranney Gorge.

Paddling the Trent-Severn Waterway is also popular. Northumberland is one of the only areas in Ontario that allows you to paddle through a lock and canal system.

two people canoeing through canal
Photo: ©Northumberland Tourism

Of course, Presqu’ile Provincial Park also calls Northumberland County home. Presqu’ile was made for walking, and its views of Lake Ontario attract walkers all year.

lighthouse on beach
Presqu’ile Provincial Park

With its flat terrain, the park is also great for cycling.

Other local trails and conservation areas offer opportunities for hiking and birding, including Seymour Conservation Area, Goodrich Conservation Area, and more.

And finally, because Ferris isn’t able to offer swimming in the park, there are several local spots you can take a dip: Campbellford pool, Seymour Conservation Area, and Crowe River Conservation Area.

To discover more about the area visit Northumberland Tourism.

Ferris Provincial Park is 1.5 hours from Kingston and just over 2 hours from Toronto. Visit our online reservation service to book your visit to Ferris and Northumberland County today.