Grundy Lake Provincial Park is one of those places you must experience in person.
It sounds good on paper: picturesque lakes, sandy beaches, tall pine forests, and lots of great camping spots.
But when you start exploring, those features come to life. This is a park that is more than the sum of its parts.
Born from burning rocks and sculpted by glaciers, Grundy Lake boasts beautiful landscapes including wetlands, upland forests, sprawling rocky wastelands and several sparkling lakes with sandy beaches.
These features invite park visitors to come and explore!
Here are 5 must-see wonders of Grundy Lake:
1. Explore the coast
The shoreline of Gut Lake has spectacular scenery showcasing the Precambrian rocks that are the “bedrock” (literally) of Grundy Lake.
These rocks formed over a billion years ago deep in the Earth’s crust and were shaped by wind, water, and eventually glacial ice that sculpted and smoothed the landscape over 14,000 years ago!
The best way to explore this rocky shoreline is by hiking the Gut Lake Trail or paddling around the lake in a canoe or kayak.
Along the way, you can see rock carvings and chatter marks formed by glacial ice and meltwater.
Shake marks show where rocks embedded in the glacial ice broke away from the bedrock as the ice slowly moved south.
Glacial ice wore away the mountains that used to be here (geologists believe they may have been as tall as the Rocky Mountains!), formed more than a billion years ago by the massive movement of the Earth’s crust.
Take a moment and imagine the earthquakes that occurred that caused large sections of the Earth’s crust to shift and fold!
All of this action created fault lines that water and ice eroded to form the park’s lakes; The cliffs along parts of Gut Lake are part of this fault.
In summer, don’t forget to stop and admire the magnificent scarlet cardinal flowers that grow along the river banks at the southern end of Gut Lake.
2. Slip and slide at Slippery Rock
Spend a day sliding down the sloping rock surface into the water at Slippery Rock!
This algae covered rock is a natural slide located on the right side of Red Maple Beach. It’s a great place for kids and adults of all ages to unleash their inner child!
Seaweed not only provides fun for the whole family, it is also an important food source for invertebrates that eat fish and other aquatic animals.
Even if you are a good swimmer, remember to always swim with a partner! The slippery rock surface can make it difficult to get out of the water easily. Don’t forget that the park has a PFD loan program, so you can borrow a PFD at no cost.
Do you visit Slippery Rock for dinner? Take a walk to the nearby sunset rock located at Red Maple Lookout and enjoy the sunset over Grundy Lake.
3. Visit Picnic Island
Paddling out to Picnic Island on Gurd Lake is perfect for families looking for a day trip.
This charming little island has it all: large white pine trees, crystal clear waters, and picturesque views of the Gurd Lake wetlands and the rest of the lake.
Wildlife thrives in this wetland complex, making it the perfect place to spot songbirds, loons, and maybe even a turtle or two.
Go in the morning to avoid the crowds, watch the beautiful sunrise over Lake Gurd or listen to the echoing moan of the loon across the lake.
Best of all, it’s just a short drive from Poplar, Trailer and Hemlock beaches, making it an ideal adventure for first-time paddlers.
4. Paddle through the wetland to Bucke Lake
Grundy Lake is full of different habitats teeming with life.
Starting at the main beach, paddle to the top of Grundy Lake and across the wetland.
Follow the creek as it meanders through the reeds and grasses of the beaver meadow, before widening into open water at the picnic area at the end of the Beaver Dam Trail.
Stop for a snack at the glacier-carved rock outcrop before continuing to paddle to Bucke Lake.
This rowing is not without its challenges! Beaver activity on this route is high, so be prepared for two or three beaver dams that you will have to raise.
Beavers are one of nature’s best habitat builders! They build dams in an effort to control water levels so that they have a safe place away from predators to make their home, called a shelter, and have easy access to nearby trees (small branches are their food).
Other animals love it! Beaver ponds and wetlands are biodiversity hotspots, and many plants and animals call them home. The next time you see a hardworking beaver, be sure to thank it for the abundance of life it brings to the landscape.
5. Transport a canoe or kayak from Gurd Lake to Pakeshkag Lake
Experience serenity on Grundy Lake’s inland waterways without the need for backcountry camping!
Test your transportation skills and complete the series of two easy and one moderate transportation that make connections between Gurd Lake, Beaver Lake, Pakeshkag River and northern Pakeshkag Lake.
A short climb through bedrock along the Pakeshkag route
The transports were created thousands of years ago by indigenous travelers and later used by Canadian fur trade travelers, connecting them to a large network of travel routes spanning North America.
Once you reach Pakeshkag Lake, take a moment and reflect on your journey. Admire the landscape of pine trees and carved bedrock, and how glaciation and history have shaped it.
Visiting Grundy Lake?
It’s easy for park staff and longtime Grundy Lake visitors to come up with five reasons to visit!
We don’t even mention ornithology – there is a lot here to detect.
Attempt study of the stars — the skies here are dark and perfect for observing stars, constellations and the Milky Way.
French River Visitor Center
Take a look at those nearby French River Visitor Center – is an award-winning interpretive center with exhibits about the natural and cultural heritage of the historic French River.
A lot to do!
Grundy Lake Provincial Park is located between Sudbury and Parry Sound, one kilometer off Highway 69 on Highway 522.
It has a full service campground with over 400 electric and non-electric campsites, comfort stations with showers, bathrooms and laundry facilities.
The park’s Discovery Program staff leads guided walks, children’s programs, and evening programs at the amphitheater throughout the summer.