Grundy Lake Provincial Park is one of those places you have to experience in person.
It sounds nice on paper — scenic lakes, sandy beaches, tall pine forests, and lots of great campsites.
But when you start to explore, those features come to life. This is a park that’s more than the sum of its parts.
Born of fiery rock and sculpted by glaciers, Grundy Lake boasts beautiful landscapes including wetlands, upland forests, expansive rock barrens, and several sparkling lakes with sandy beaches.
These features call out to park visitors to come and explore!
Here are 5 must-see wonders of Grundy Lake:
1. Explore the shore
The shoreline of Gut Lake has spectacular scenery that showcases the Precambrian rocks that are the “bedrock” (literally) of Grundy Lake.
These rocks were formed over one billion years ago deep beneath the earth’s crust, and shaped by wind, water, and eventually glacial ice that sculpted and smoothed out the landscape over 14,000 years ago!
The best way to explore this rocky shoreline is by hiking the Gut Lake Trail or paddling down the lake in a canoe or kayak.
Along the way, you can observe the rock sculptures and chatter-marks formed by glacial ice and meltwater.
The glacial ice wore down the mountains that use to stand here (geologists think they may have been as high as the Rockies!), formed over a billion years ago by massive movement of the Earth’s crust.
Take a moment and imagine the earthquakes that occurred, causing huge sections of the Earth’s crust to shift and fold!
All of this action created faults that water and ice eroded to form the park’s lakes — the cliffs along parts of Gut Lake are part of this faulting.
In the summer, don’t forget to stop and admire the magnificent, scarlet-coloured Cardinal Flowers growing along the banks of the river at the south end of Gut Lake.
2. Slip n’ slide on the the Slippery Rock
Spend a day sliding down the sloping rock surface into the water at the Slippery Rock!
This algae-coated rock is a natural slip n’ slide located on the right side of Red Maple Beach. It’s a great spot for kids and adults of all ages to unleash their inner child!
Not only does the algae provide fun for the whole family, but it is also an important source of food invertebrates which are eaten by fish and other aquatic animals.
Even if you’re a good swimmer, remember to always swim with a buddy! The slippery rock surface can make it tricky to get out of the water with ease. Don’t forget that the park has a PFD Lending Program, so you can borrow a PFD free of charge.
Visiting the Slippery Rock around supper time? Take a walk over to the nearby sunset rock located at the Red Maple Lookout and enjoy the setting sun over Grundy Lake.
3. Visit Picnic Island
The paddle over to Picnic Island on Gurd Lake is perfect for families looking for a day trip.
This charming little island has it all: big old White Pines, sparkling waters, and picturesque views overlooking the Gurd Lake wetlands and the rest of the lake.
Wildlife thrive in this wetland complex, making it the perfect place to watch songbirds, loons, and maybe even a turtle or two.
Go in the morning to avoid crowds, watch the beautiful sunrise over Gurd Lake, or listen to the wail of the loon’s echo across the lake.
Best of all, it’s only a short distance away from the Poplar, Trailer, and Hemlock beaches, making it an ideal adventure for first time paddlers.
4. Paddle the wetland to Bucke Lake
Grundy Lake is full of different habitats teeming with life.
Starting at main beach, paddle to the top of Grundy Lake and through the wetland.
Follow the creek as it meanders through the sedges and grasses of the beaver meadow, before widening out into open water at the picnic area at the end of the Beaver Dam Trail.
Stop for a snack on the rock outcrop carved by glaciers before you continue your paddle all the way up to Bucke Lake.
This paddle is not without its challenges! Beaver activity on this route is high, so prepare for two to three beaver dams that you will have to lift over.
Beavers are one of nature’s finest habitat builders! They build dams in an effort to control water levels, so they have a safe spot away from predators to build their home, called a lodge, and have easy access to the nearby trees (the small branches are their food).
Other animals just love it! Beaver ponds and wetlands are hotspots for biodiversity, with many plants and animals calling them home. Next time you see a hardworking beaver, be sure to thank it for the abundance of life it brings to the landscape.
5. Portage a canoe or kayak from Gurd Lake to Pakeshkag Lake
Experience serenity on Grundy Lake’s inland waterways without the need for backcountry camping!
Put your portaging skills to the test and complete the series of two easy and one moderate portage that make the connections between Gurd Lake, Beaver Lake, Pakeshkag, and northern Pakeshkag Lake.
Portages were created thousands of years ago by Indigenous travelers, and later used by the voyageurs of the Canadian fur trade, connecting them to a great network of travel routes that span North America.
Once you reach Pakeshkag Lake, take a moment and reflect on your journey. Admire the landscape of pines and carved bedrock, and how glaciation and history has shaped it.
Visiting Grundy Lake?
It’s so easy for park staff and long-time visitors to Grundy Lake to think of five reasons to visit!
We didn’t even mention birdwatching — there are lots here to spot.
Try stargazing — the skies here are dark and perfect for spotting stars, constellations, and the Milky Way.
Check out the nearby French River Visitor Centre — it’s an award-winning interpretive centre with exhibits on the natural and cultural heritage of the historic French River.
So much to do!
Grundy Lake Provincial Park is situated between Sudbury and Parry Sound, a kilometre off Highway 69 on Highway 522.
It has a full-service campground with over 400 non-electrical and electrical campsites, comfort stations with showers, washrooms, and laundry facilities.
Staff from the park’s Discovery Program lead guided hikes, children’s programs, and evening programs at the amphitheatre throughout the summer.