Pinery Provincial Park

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

New Camping Rules for 2023 (7-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 7-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 this park’s popularity, permits will need to be purchased in advance to guarantee park access. This process was started in 2021 and 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, guaranteeing 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.

On a recent long weekend, there were major vehicle lineups waiting to get into Pinery Provincial Park. The bad news is that even if you have already checked in and set up camp if you leave the park for any reason it looks as if you will still have to queue to get back in. Reading through a recent Facebook post I came across two useful tips. (1) Try to arrive Thursday evening when there tends to be less traffic. (2) Make sure you have your groceries and other supplies before getting into the park. (3) If you do leave the park try to plan to get back in the evening when traffic tends to be lighter. Hope this helps make for more fun and less time stuck in traffic. Fact is that parks are getting more popular with a wider range of people wanting to enjoy camping and RVing.

Facebook and Website Links

Official website
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Contact & Other Information

Phone: 519-243-2220
Address: 9526 Lakeshore Road RR2, Grand Bend, N0M 1T0
Opening and Closing: The park is open all year round. Check the official Pinery webpage to discover what facilities or services are available.
Gatehouse: Latitude: 43.24841, Longitude: -81.82342

Activities

Dog Friendly

This is a dog-friendly park with an off-leash exercise area. You can find more information about having dogs at Ontario Parks in our “Dog-Friendly Ontario Provincial Parks” post, which includes a list of parks with specific dog-use facilities.

Winter Activities

As an all-year-round park, there are many opportunities to snowshoe, X-country ski, hike and even camp.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoes are available to rent from the park office. But, it’s always best to call ahead to check opening times and make sure that snowshoes are available.

There are many places to snowshoe in Pinery Provincial Park including ungroomed roads, tracks and trails along with several of the hiking trails. The Park asks you to keep off of slopes and other environmentally sensitive areas. Always good to ask Park staff for advice and in uncertain keep off. It’s also good manners to keep clear of groomed X-country ski trails.

Camping & Accommodation

Car Camping

Riverside Campground sits alongside the provincially significant Old Ausable Channel, offering a variety of sites including electrical, non-electrical, and pull-through options. Each of the campground’s four areas features essential amenities such as water taps, comfort stations, and laundry facilities. Area 1 Riverside remains open year-round, catering to those seeking to experience Pinery in every season.

Burley Campground, operational from May to September, may be a bit farther from the main gate, but its serene setting amidst mature pines and proximity to the beach make the journey worthwhile. These sites are ideal for campers not requiring electricity or pull-through accommodations.

Dunes Campground offers a convenient location within walking distance of the beach, outdoor amphitheater, and Visitor Centre. From May to September, it provides a range of sites including electrical, pop-up trailer, and tent options.

For the preservation of our delicate dune system, we kindly ask visitors to utilize designated boardwalks when accessing the beach, as human impacts can significantly affect its fragile ecosystem.

Dog-Free Camping

Area 4 Dunes Campground is specified as a pet-free camping zone, featuring amenities like water taps, comfort stations, and laundry facilities.

Group Camping

Groups and classes looking to camp at Pinery have the option of selecting from 10 designated group camping sites. Positioned conveniently near day use areas and within walking distance of the beach, these spacious sites cater specifically to tent camping. Each site provides parking space for up to six cars and one bus, along with accommodation for a maximum of 35 campers. Amenities include access to running water, a cold water sink, nearby vault toilets, and on-site facilities such as a fire ring and picnic tables.

Reservations can be made online or by phone.

Radio-Free Camping

Area 3 Riverside Campground is designated for radio-free camping, offering amenities like water taps, comfort stations, and laundry facilities.

Roofed Accommodation

The roofed accommodations at Pinery Provincial Park offer a perfect blend of comfort and immersion in nature. Nestled within the serene landscape of Ontario, Canada, these accommodations provide a cozy retreat for visitors seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Whether it’s the charming cabins tucked amidst towering trees or the rustic yurts offering a unique camping experience, each option promises a memorable stay. With modern amenities and scenic surroundings, guests can unwind in style while still feeling connected to the wilderness. From stargazing on clear nights to exploring the park’s trails by day, the roofed accommodations at Pinery Provincial Park invite guests to embrace the beauty of the natural world.

For more information, click here

Hiking, Biking & Paddling

Hiking

Pinery provides numerous hiking opportunities amidst its stunning natural surroundings. Discover the beauty of Pinery through various trails, such as those tracing the Old Ausable Channel, leading to the beach, winding through the Carolinian Forest, or showcasing the rare Oak Savanna. Many trails feature viewing platforms ideal for observing park wildlife, while benches along several paths offer moments of rest. Additionally, Riverside, most of Cedar, and Heritage Trails ensure accessibility for wheelchair users, enabling all visitors to enjoy the park’s wonders.

See general trail overviews below:

Bittersweet Trail (1.5 km) (Guide Available, Flat terrain, Stairs, Viewing Platform)
Explore the charming Old Ausable Channel in a quest to uncover signs of mammal activity. Optimal times for this adventure are during the tranquil early mornings or serene evenings when many mammals are most active.

Carolinian Trail (1.8 km) (Guide Available, Hilly terrain, Stairs, Pond)
This trail winds through a floodplain forest abundant with Carolinian flora and fauna, thriving at the northern limit of their habitat range. Enhancements like stairways, benches, and viewing platforms enrich the pleasure of observing nature along the way.

Cedar Trail ( 2.3 km) (Guide Available, Flat terrain, All but the extension is wheelchair accessible, Open year round, Viewing Platform)

Explore the enigmatic Oak Savanna, one of North America’s most uncommon habitats, on an immersive journey. This unique ecosystem beckons adventurers with its rare beauty and remarkable biodiversity. As you embark on this trail, you’ll discover an excellent example of an Oak Savanna habitat, teeming with life and ecological wonders.

Venture along the newly extended 1 km trail, which offers a gateway to the tranquil shores of Lake Huron. The path winds through the heart of the Oak Savanna, providing an intimate encounter with its distinctive flora and fauna. Towering oak trees stand sentinel over the landscape, their sprawling branches casting dappled shadows on the forest floor below.

As you tread softly along the trail, keep your senses alert for the sights and sounds of this unique habitat. Sunlight filters through the canopy, illuminating a tapestry of wildflowers that carpet the ground beneath the trees. Listen for the melodic chirping of songbirds and the rustle of small mammals as they go about their daily routines.

Heritage Trail ( 2.5 km) (Guide Available, Flat terrain, Wheelchair accessible, Viewing Platform, 0.6 Km extension)
Winding through the uncommon Oak Savanna habitat, this trail was subject to a prescribed burn back in 1990. The trail guide, marked with distinctive colors, vividly narrates the human history of Pinery.

Hickory Trail (1 km) (Flat terrain, Stairs)
Follow the path winding along the Old Ausable Channel. Keep a keen eye out for the distinctive ragged bark of the Shagbark Hickories and the unique seedpods of the Bladdernut. As you traverse this trail, immerse yourself in the lush tapestry of plant life that surrounds you, experiencing the rich diversity that flourishes in this natural environment.

Lookout Trail (1 km) (Viewing platform, Hilly terrain, Stairs)
From the observation deck atop the dune, you could catch sight of a majestic turkey vulture in flight; be sure to have your binoculars handy.

Nipissing Trail (2 km) (Hilly terrain, Viewing platform, Stairs)
Embark on this adventurous trail, guiding you to the summit of Pinery’s ancient and expansive dune ridge. From this vantage point, marvel at the panoramic vista encompassing the park, the serene expanse of Lake Huron, and the picturesque farmlands nearby. Witness the awe-inspiring resurgence of flora following the meticulously executed controlled burn of 1993.

Pine Trail (0.8 km) (Open year-round, Flat terrain, Stairs)
The thick cluster of Red Pines emerged following a devastating fire in the late 1800s, presenting a stark contrast to the Oak Savanna prevalent in the majority of the park.

Riverside Trail ( 1 km) (Guide available, Flat terrain, Wheelchair accessible, Viewing Platforms)
Transitioning from the arid terrain of upland oak and pine forests to the fertile floodplain of the Old Ausable Channel, this trail teems with a rich array of flora and fauna. Enhanced with benches and viewing platforms, it offers an optimal setting for immersing oneself in the wonders of nature.

Wilderness Trail (3 km) (Guide available, Flat terrain, Stairs to beach, Viewing platform)
The most extensive trail at Pinery guides visitors through the park’s ancient forest, showcasing its rich history. Meandering through a landscape of Red Pine and mixed Oak-Pine woodland, it eventually leads to the picturesque shores of Lake Huron.


Biking


The 14-kilometer Savanna Trail winds through a picturesque landscape, starting from the park store and leading to the traffic circle via a wooded path. It then traverses the left side of the one-way day use road, following the scenic route along the Old Ausable River Channel until reaching Picnic Area 8. Continuing its journey, the trail ventures back into the forest before reaching the Visitor Centre. Emerging from the woodland, it runs alongside the road’s left shoulder, crossing the Store Bridge and concluding back at the park store.

Paddling

We’ve information on our partner website about paddling canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards at Pinery Provincial Park

Maps & Resources

Ontario Crown Land Use Policy Atlas: Most provincial Parks have excellent signage, maps, and marked trails. If you take up back-country adventures, then it’s not always clear. The Ontario Crown Land Use maps are an excellent resource. You might also want to join one or more of these groups on Facebook.
Crown Land Camping Group
Crown Land Camping Ontario
Ontario Parks and Crown Land
Ontario Crown Land Campers
Sharing Ontario Crown Land Camping Spots

The official Pinery website has downloadable pdf maps of ski trails and a park overview.

Local Facilities

Barrier Free

Campsites #608 and #609 at Riverside Campground, along with campsites #45 and #46 at Dunes Campground, and yurts #474 to #481 are all designed to be barrier-free, ensuring accessibility for everyone. Additionally, the comfort stations adjacent to these sites are also accessible.

Moreover, visitors will find accessibility features at various other amenities within the campground, including the Visitor Centre, outdoor theatre, park store, rental building, and canoe dock.

For those interested in exploring the trails, Cedar Trail, Heritage Trail, and Riverside Trail have been designed to be accessible to all.

To assist visitors in navigating rugged or sandy terrain, a three-wheeled chair is available at the bike building, providing an accessible option for exploring areas that might otherwise pose challenges.

Comfort Station(s)

Visitors exploring Riverside, Dunes, and Burley Campgrounds will encounter a centrally located comfort station in each zone, equipped with flush toilets, showers, and laundry amenities. Additionally, vault toilets are conveniently spread throughout the campground for easy access. For day-use visitors, comfort stations with flush toilets are available at multiple spots, including the Park Store area and beach day-use areas.

Day Use


Pinery offers an ideal setting for a picnic getaway. While a beach picnic is delightful, don’t overlook the scenic charm along the Old Ausable Channel (OAC). Numerous spots along the OAC beckon for picnics with picturesque views.

Secure your daily vehicle permit up to five days ahead to ensure your spot for day use at this park.

Visit the Ontario Parks day use page to learn more.

Flush Toilets

Flush toilets are found throughout Pinery, in the camping and day-use areas.

Park Store

The Savanna Shores Nature Store, nestled within Pinery’s Visitor Centre, is a charming gift emporium offering an array of clothing, souvenirs, and books. Operated by the Friends of Pinery Provincial Park, purchases from this store contribute to various projects aimed at enriching interpretive facilities, supporting programs, and conducting essential research and ecological restoration within the park, thereby enhancing its ecological integrity.

For campers and day visitors alike, the Pinery Park Store is a one-stop destination offering a diverse selection of grocery and convenience supplies. From camping gear to grocery essentials and even ice, the store caters to various needs. Additionally, patrons can indulge in hot meals at the small restaurant housed within, featuring a delectable menu including wraps, hamburgers, fish and chips, and more. Recently, scooped ice cream has been relocated to the rental building across from the store, ensuring visitors’ convenience and enjoyment.

Pet Exercise Area(s)

The pet exercise area is located at P1 Dog Beach.

Picnic Shelters

There is a single picnic shelter in Pinery’s day-use area P9. Reservations can be made online or by phone, or by contacting the park directly at 519-243-2220.

Rentals

Explore the park on two wheels with a variety of options available, including mountain bikes, coaster bikes, and children’s bikes. Want a unique experience? Consider trying out a tandem bicycle for two. And don’t worry about the little ones—bicycle trailers and bike attachments are also up for rent.

Discover the beauty of the Old Ausable Channel at Pinery through various watercraft rentals such as canoes, Corcls, stand-up paddleboards, and single or double kayaks.

On weekends when the trails are open, gear up for skiing and snowshoeing with rentals available until 3:00 pm.

Visitor Centre

A trip to Pinery isn’t truly fulfilled without pausing at the Visitor Centre. Operating since 1993, this hub showcases exhibits revamped in 2011, delving into the park’s natural history. Additionally, it houses the Friends of Pinery Park Nature Store and an indoor theatre screening wildlife videos. For inquiries about the park, its amenities, and natural wonders, seek out the Park Naturalist stationed at the Information Desk.

Throughout the winter, the Pinery Visitor Centre remains open on weekends, expanding its hours to daily during the Christmas and March breaks.

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