we’re headed to Bon Echo Provincial Park this weekend for a 4 day camping trip.

we’ve planned a few camping trips this summer since it’s the first time in a few years that i don’t work on weekends  -YIPEE!

bon echo is a 4 hour drive from our place  – a little bit southwest of bancroft ontario.  the park is known for the 1.5 km long sheer rock face that rises 100 metres above Mazinaw Lake and features over 260 Aboriginal pictographs – one of the largest visible collections in Canada.

Bon Echo PP 117

there a number of hiking trails –

Abes and Essens Lake Trail – 3 interconnecting looped trails:  Clutes 3.5 km (1.5 hours); Essens Lake 9.6 km (4 hours) and Abes 17 km (7 hours) moderate to difficult.
Some sections offer panoramic views that are particularly spectacular in fall.  Hike for a day or camp at one of the five campsites along the trail (campsite reservations required).

Bon Echo Creek Trail: 1 km (40 minutes), linear, easy
Take a leisurely walk along the Bon Echo Creek.

Cliff Top Trail – 1.5 km (1 hour), linear, moderate to difficult
This trail is only accessible by water. A ferry service (fees apply), will take you to the start of the trail. Canoe and kayak rentals are also available. Stairs and a pathway take hikers to the top of Mazinaw Rock to three observation decks overlooking the lake.

High Pines Trail – 1.7 km (1 hour), loop, moderate
Hikers pass a variety of forest and wetland communities including tall pines, groves of hemlock and quiet forest ponds.

Shield Trail – 4.8 km (2 hours), loop, moderate 
Follow a section of the old Addington Road as it penetrates the rugged landscape of the Canadian Shield where you will see hardwood forests, cedar lowlands and a beaver swamp.

Pet Exercise Trail – 1.4 km (1 hour), loop, easy
Let your furry friend off-leash on this designated pet exercise trail.

canoe routes –

Kishkebus Canoe Route – 21 km (6 hours), loop, moderate to difficult
This day paddle takes you past Aboriginal pictographs to the still waters of the nature reserve on the east side of the park.  Please note: there is a 1.5 km portage.

Joeperry and Pearson Lakes
Spend a relaxing day paddling in motorboat free lakes or reserve one of the 25 backcountry campsites. There is a 500m portage from the parking lot to the launch. Joeperry Lake also features a natural sandy beach.

Mazinaw Lake
Launch your canoe or rent one at the lagoon and you can paddle on Mazinaw Lake. Head over to Mazinaw Rock to view one of Canada’s largest visible collections of Aboriginal pictographs.

Mississippi River Canoe Route – 104 km (5 days), 17 portages, moderate
For more information on this route, contact the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority


this is the first time our campsite will be on an island so we’ve had to pack light!  we’ve done a great job to pack tightly and efficiently. gear is gear and there are some things you just can’t get around – tent, sleeping bags, clothes.  food though, food is a big one.

thanks to pinterest i found good lists of foods to pack for camping light.  “instants” like potatoes and oatmeal.  “shake and pour” pancakes.

one trick i liked was “omelette in a bag”.  you add all your toppings and eggs to a steamable ziplock bag and boil in water for the campfire. great idea!


campfire quesadillas.  make ahead and grill in foil.  perfect!


just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you must eat junk.  yes it’s easy to pack and eat junk but it’s just as easy to eat healthy and well!

our camping menu is as follows –

Dinner Saturday  – Instant potatoes, steak, HP sauce, green beans (pre-steamed)


Sunday breakfast – omelette in a bag, pastries, instant coffee


Sunday lunch – grilled cheese and fruit


Sunday dinner – chicken quesadilla, sour cream, salsa


Monday breakfast – fruit, pancakes, instant coffee


Monday lunch – corn on the cob and mac and cheese


Monday dinner – roasted garlic and baguette, lipton noodle packs

Tuesday breakfast – oatmeal, fruit, instant coffee

Tuesday lunch – eat on the road

Snacks – trail mix, brie and jam, marshmallows, oatmeal cookies, rice cakes


as you can see, it’s pretty easy to eat well even when you have pack light and fresh.  we have two meals with meat (we will be bringing a small cold soft cooler).  every meal has fresh fruit or veggies.  we are taking bananas, apples, oranges and cherries as our fruit.  they all have a skin to protect them and clean and easy to eat.  i love to eat berries usually but they are soft, spoil fast and are staining if there is an “accident” in the food bag hahaha.  all the veggies can either be grilled or boiled.


of course we can’t forget the beverages!!!!  tetra packs and plastic bottles are ideal for camping.


wine choices are very limited, in 1L packs anyway, but i found a red and a white from Italy that i’m giving a try this weekend.

I also found some helpful compilations while i was searching for camping food ideas.  one is 22 essential diagrams for camping.  some very helpful information in this one.  the other is just fun tips and tricks for the campsite.

to all my Canadian friends – have a SAFE and FUN Canada Day long weekend!  to the rest of my friends have a safe and fun regular weekend hahaha




  1. I hear ya on not eating crap while camping! I got in a FB debate with my brother in law because I marinated chicken to grill, baked potatoes and cooked peppers, onions and mushrooms in sauce while camping. Apparently that’s not camping food lol I’m going to give those quasadilla sa try when we go camping in 3 weeks! Have fun!

    1. ya, you don’t have eat chips and hotdogs just because you are camping. although most boys look at it differently …they also look forward to peeing outside bahaha luckily for me, my hubby agrees with menu plan 🙂 I’m sure J appreciates your efforts too. I will admit though, I got Chris a can of baked beans as a treat 😉

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