Driftwood Provincial Park

Wonderland for paddlers and sunset-seekers

Camp

Beginner-friendly

Overnight

A trip to Driftwood Provincial Park warrants a couple of days to make the most of the waterfront and all the activities you can do while you’re there. Drive up from the city or paddle in from upriver. Then spend your days on the Ottawa River and your nights enjoying the spectacular sunsets over the Laurentians.

Driftwood Provincial Park

Driftwood, Ontario 17, Stonecliffe, ON, Canada

Get Directions

Driving time from Ottawa

2.5 hours

Campsites

81

Interlocking trail loops

6

Planning your trip

Love the water? The park is one for you to visit.

Get your morning brew on the road

Even though Driftwood Provincial Park is only two and a half hours from the city, it’s worth setting out early to get the most out of your time and your trip up. The route to the park from Ottawa passes through lots of neat little towns and, even better, there’s good coffee to be found on the drive. Get your first jolt on the road at the Vintage Kettle Coffee House in Renfrew. If you’re still in need of another cup, you can stop in Pembroke at Prince Street Books & Coffee Co. to get a good campsite read and some beans to go.

Paddle in to Driftwood

This park is perfectly placed to be a destination (or a jumping off point) for some great paddle-in camping trips. One of Ontario’s best paddling trips starts in Mattawa (where the Mattawa meets the Ottawa River) and ends in Driftwood Provincial Park. If you do paddle this way, think about staying a few days in the park and exploring the hiking trails and day trips in the area and outside of the park. Driftwood is close enough to Algonquin that heading that way for a side-trip is completely doable.

Stay awhile

If possible, book a site in the Ottawa River Campground. Any site there is a good one, but ideally you’ll want to score one on the water. If you can get them, try for sites 19–21 or 40–47. These sites are riverside and near the ends of the campgrounds so you won’t get as much camp traffic. Throw up a hammock at your campsite for the ultimate relaxing riverside experience.

Paddle it every way

The park is on a bay in the river (which gives the park its name, since the bay often collects driftwood) so the water here is usually more still than the rest of the river. That being said, if you decide to float around on an inflatable or do some paddling, make sure to keep an eye on the current. Driftwood is also a great place for stand-up paddleboarding. Put in at the beach so you can wade in or head over to the boat launch. The Ottawa River is wide and you can enjoy it in a kayak or canoe, just remember to watch out for any other boat traffic.

A spectacular sunset

If you managed to score a riverside campsite, then you’ll get a pretty great sunset view right from your tent or hammock. But it’s only a short hike up the Lookout Trail to add some additional oomph on that view. Take a blanket up the trail and watch the sun sink behind the Laurentian hills on the opposite shore. Make sure to pack up before it gets too dark and bring your headlamps for the hike back to the tent.

Essential gear

A good camping set-up makes all the difference.

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