Darlington Provincial Park

ALWAYS check Alerts and other information on the official website, as conditions and facility availability are subject to change.

News

New Camping Rules for 2023 (14-night max) – new for 2023 are revised rules about the maximum number of nights you can camp. In this park, if you are camping between July 1 and the Saturday of the Labour Day long weekend, you’ll be restricted to no more than 14-nights at this park. Outside of those dates, it’s still the old 23-night maximum. Ontario Parks promises this will be clear when booking.
Rules for backcountry camping and the roofed accommodation haven’t changed.

Day Use Vehicle Permits: because of the popularity of this park, it’s one that may need permits to be purchased in advance in order to guarantee park access. This was started in 2021 and continued in 2022. There’s no reason to believe that this will be kept for 2023.
If you’re smart, grab the permit before any visit, even mid-week. We found this out the hard way at our local Provincial Park.
You can buy the vehicle permit up to 5 days in advance, which guarantees you access to the park on that day. If you have an annual or season pass, you should still book your permit online, but there’s no extra charge.

Facebook and Website Links

Darlington Official website
Darlington Official Facebook

Information

Phone #: 905-436-2036
Main entrance co-ordinates:  43.8755 -78.777834
Address: 1600 Darlington Park Rd. Bowmanville L1C 3K3
Opening seasons: The main park gate is now closed for the season (2022). However, leaving your vehicle outside the park and accessing trails on foot may be possible. If you are traveling a long distance, confirming this with the park office would be worthwhile. You should be aware that there will be no open facilities and limited staffing.

Activities

Camping & Accommodation

The Darlington area offers three different campgrounds for those who want to get away from it all. Lakeside, Cliffside, and Hilltop Campground offer electrical services as well as a number of sites that accommodate various types of camping equipment – including tents or large RVs/trailers! Barrier-free access is also available here, so no matter what type you’re using, there’ll be a spot where your experience can become truly unforgettable.

The beautiful trails around these areas provide amazing opportunities not only while exploring but if sports like fishing are more up your alley, then check out some suggestions on where they might occur near this reservation hall.

Group Camping

Darlington offers two non-electrical group campsites that can each accommodate up to 15 tents. The sites have water taps and vault toilets on site, but no electricity! You must make reservations either online or by phone ahead of time in order for a permit which includes access to these beautiful areas where you’ll be able to enjoy nature at its finest with zero distractions – just peace & quiet while surrounded by nature

Radio-Free Camping

All the sites in Lakeside Campground are designated as radio-free.

Hiking, Biking & Paddling

Hiking

Burk Trail 1.25 km (30 minutes) moderate
This trail moves through fields, meadows and mature forest past a pioneer cemetery to a scenic lookout over Lake Ontario. Watch for the elusive Coopers Hawk at the bluff and songbirds in the meadows.

McLaughlin Bay Trail 1.5 km (1 hour) easy
As you hike this trail from McLaughlin Bay, you travel through a marsh ecosystem into the transitional zone between wet and dry land. Plants and animals abound here, especially nesting waterfowl such as the Great Blue Heron. This trail links to the wildlife reserve and Oshawa Second Marsh Trails system at the west boundary of the park.

Robinson Creek Trail 1 km loop (30 minutes) easy
Starting and finishing at the Visitor Centre, this trail follows the intermittent Robinson Creek through a forested ravine full of mature willow, Staghorn sumac, maple trees and a diversity of plants and wildlife.

Waterfront Trail 2.6 km (1 hour) easy
A small section of the 350 km, multi-use trail that follows the shore of Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Trenton and passes through Darlington.

Biking

Paddling

The sheltered waters of McLaughlin Bay are ideal for canoeing, whether you are an experienced paddler or setting out for the first time.

Winter Activities

Darlington provincial park is located less than an hour East of Downtown Toronto, with easy access from the 401 near Oshawa. Best reached by car, but public transit is possible with a tricky 35-minute walk from public transit.

Darlington is open for day use year-round for your winter activities. Vehicle permits are required all year. You can get them at the parking lot or buy them online before leaving home. There’s parking available

ring your snowshoes or cross-country skis and enjoy a wonderland experience close to home.
Parking and self-serve permits are available at the main park office. Vehicle permits are required year-round.

This is a great park for snowshoeing, and the Burk Trail is probably the best option, but you can also try McLaughlin Bay Trail and Robinson Creek Trail for an extra dose of scenic winter landscapes. You can also cross-country ski, but there are no groomed trails.
If there’s not enough snow, this is still a fun option for winter hikers who may be lucky enough to spot a variety of wildlife, including coyotes, deer, mink, and rabbits.

Before heading out, you can check snow conditions on the park’s official website.

This park has no equipment rental, so don’t forget your snowshoes, cross-country skis, and snacks.

Being so close to Oshawa, there are plenty of places to get hot drinks, snacks, and meals.

Weather Conditions – if you are looking for weather information or snow conditions, the following list should help you.
Canadian Snow Research
Dark Sky
Environment Canada – weather forecasts, hourly forecast, and weather radar map.
National Weather Service – US Government, but it does include Ontario.
Open Weather Map
Snow Forecast – more relevant for downhill skiing.
The Weather Network has lots of ads, but you get 7 and 14-day forecasts. Snow reports from downhill ski areas but remember they do make their own snow.
Windy.com
We’d love to hear from you if you have any other suggestions – please message us.

Birding

Birding is a popular activity at Darlington. Many species of migratory birds can be seen in the park in the spring and fall. Check out the bird sightings board at the main park office to find out what has been spotted lately.

Maps & Resources

An overview map of Darlington Provincial Park is available on the official website. Quite frankly, the park is compact so it is difficult to get lost.

Local Facilities

If you know of a useful link, Facebook group, or resource that might improve this post, please message us through our contact page. We are always happy to include relevant local business information – just a one or two-sentence paragraph and a link to your website or Facebook page.