Petroglyphs Provincial Park
Petroglyphs Provincial Park is one of the most unique provincial parks in Ontario. Visitors can get a glimpse back to a time more than 1,000 years ago, when First Nations peoples created traditional carvings or petroglyphs in the various rock formations located within the park. Petroglyphs Provincial Park holds the largest known concentration of Indigenous rock carvings in Canada. Petroglyphs Provincial Park was established 1976, and in 2002 The Learning Place visitor center opened. Petroglyphs Provincial Park is located in Central Ontario just off of the north shores of Upper Stoney Lake about 45-minutes from the city of Peterborough. With spectacular history, modern uses, ample wildlife, and beautiful hiking trails for everyone to enjoy. The park is also day-use only and there is no camping. There are also strict opening and closing times, so using the park after closing is not allowed. However, there is camping nearby for those who wish to spend a weekend at the park. Visiting during the week is recommended in order to have the best experience.
Petroglyphs Provincial Park is an excellent destination for educational trips, bird/nature watching and hikers. The ‘Teaching Rock’ is one of the few known petroglyph sites located in the Canadian Shield. There is no photography or videography allowed within the Teaching Rock complex. A building now sits over the Teaching Rock to protect the ancient carvings from the elements. The Learning Place visitors center is where you will find a wealth of information about the petroglyphs along with knowledge about the life and traditions of Ojibway People from ancient to modern life.
The presence of a subterranean stream below the petroglyphs site, makes a rumbling sound that was thought to be the voice of a spirit, this may account for its reputation as a religious site and may have been the subject of some of the extensive carvings found here. The present-day forest cover is mainly medium-age pine and hardwoods on shallow soils. The open rock areas have scattered trees and shrubs, while the lower, wetter areas often contain ash or elm forests or willow-alder thickets. Since the early 1960s, most of the park area has been within a timber license area and managed for timber production on a continuous basis. Pruning and thinning of natural and planted white and red pine stands occur on a regular basis. Approximately 130,000 white pine, 250,000 red pine and 100,000 white spruce were planted within the park area and the immediate vicinity.
As the park has been designated a historical park and is limited to day use only the limited additional activities are mainly wildlife viewing and hiking. The trails range in difficulty and length, Marsh Trail is the longest trail in the park and moderately difficult, Ratarat Trail is the shortest most convenient, Nanabush Trail is long but easily, West Day-Use Trail is of moderate difficulty.
Its location at the edge of the Canadian Shield and bordering the Peterborough Crown Game Reserve provides for some dramatic scenery and includes large populations of indigenous animals such as beaver, otter, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, fishers, wolves and many species of birds including woodpeckers, grey jays, wild turkeys, hawks, northern flickers, ruffled grouse and if your lucky enough bald and golden eagles can sometimes be spotted in the winter months.