French River

Birding

A wide variety of bird species are found along the river. Forest songbirds like Blackburnian Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos are often heard and seen in the towering pines right around the visitor centre.

Boating

Rentals, dock space and launch facilities are available at multiple private marinas.

Canoeing

French River Canoe Route: multiple days, moderate difficulty
There are multiple routes along the French River from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay and interconnecting routes with the Restoule and Little French Rivers. Paddling upstream and downstream is possible in non-flood conditions.

During flooding (usually in early spring), the river at some locations can be 4 m higher than times of low flows. Recollet Falls in the French River Gorge has no passable portage during periods of high flows such as spring runoff.

There are 13 access locations along the river. The majority are private sector tourism operators who will issue permits on behalf of Ontario Parks. Parking and ramp fees are in addition to interior camping fees. French River interior camping permits are also available at Restoule Provincial Park for those entering via the Restoule River.

Reservations are not required.
For information on current water flows contact the park at 705-857-1630 (May to October).

Fishing

Walleye, Small-mouth Bass, and Northern Pike are just a few of the fish species that are found in the river. Fishing is a very popular activity at over 50 lodges and marinas along the French River.

Hiking

Recollet Falls Trail: 4 km, moderate
This trail begins at the Visitor Centre and follows the edge of the French River Gorge, and ends at the historic Recollet Falls. The short portage around the falls has been walked by generations of First Nations, famous explorers, hardy Voyageurs, fur traders and missionaries.

Hunting

Yes except in the nature reserve zone.

Natural Heritage Education

The French River Visitor Centre tells the stories of this historic waterway in the “Voices of the River” exhibit hall. Various interpretive panels, displays and interactive exhibits take the visitor along the length of the river and through time.

Themes include the First Peoples, the Explorers, French Fur Traders and Missionaries, the Canadian Fur Trade, and the French River Today.

Swimming

Yes, but no designated beaches.