Fall Camping at the Pinery
Camping season doesn’t have to end on Labour Day. In fact, many campers are discovering that the fall season can be the best time to enjoy our provincial parks. Pinery Provincial Park just south of Grand Bend is one of the parks that offers an extended season. In fact, Riverside Campground Area 1 is open year-round for those who would like to enjoy the park in all four seasons. The fall season can offer a quieter experience, with fewer visitors once the cooler weather sets in.
The park is large enough to offer many activities. The Savannah bike trail is a great way to move around the park, as it travels 14 kilometres around the park and is an excellent way to get from the campground to the trails and beaches. It is a combination of well-graveled trails through the forest and a dedicated paved lane on a one-way section of the park’s road system.
Bikes are available to rent, along with canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The Old Ausable Channel is a relaxing paddle and a two-hour rental is just the right length of time to explore the navigable portion of the channel from the rental dock to the bridge upstream and back.
One of the highlights of the Pinery is the extensive hiking trail system. With 10 trails, covering nearly 17 kilometres, there is sure to be a favourite hike. For fall excursions, the Wilderness Trail offers an easy loop that includes a scenic stop that overlooks Lake Huron. The Cedar Trail is another loop that offers a one-kilometre side trail to view the lake, as well as a shorter side trail that takes you to a viewing stand that brings you up close and personal to the Old Ausable Channel and the abundance of flora and fauna that live there.
While the beaches might not entice you to swim or sunbathe in the cooler fall months, the dunes are a fascinating place to observe the natural beauty of the area and Lake Huron sunsets will not disappoint in any season.
Once the snow flies, for the hardiest of campers, the park has 38 kilometres of packed and groomed cross-country ski trails, and snowshoeing is welcome on the ungroomed roadways and trails. Skating and tobogganing are popular throughout the winter, once Mother Nature co-operates. Reservations and event schedules are available at www.ontarioparks.com/park/pinery 9526 Lakeshore Rd, Grand Bend