Hiking and camping in Ferris Provincial Park

The camping and provincial parks season has officially begun in Ontario! We decided to take advantage of a long weekend to go camping in a park we had never been to before: Ferris Provincial Park, near Campbellford, in Eastern Ontario.

In fact, I must admit that since we were a little last minute to book our camp sites, we ended up choosing Ferris Provincial Park since it was one of the only parks in Eastern Ontario where there were still some sites available for camping. In the end, it ended up being the perfect opportunity to explore a park and a region of which we didn’t know much about!

Trent River in Ferris Provincial Park
A quiet morning along the Trent River

A bit of history

Ferris Provincial Park is located on the shore of the Trent River in Northumberland County, Ontario (about three hours from Ottawa, and two hours from Toronto). The lands of the park have been used by early settlers, first owned by brothers Robert and David Campbell (hence the name of the nearby town, “Campbellford”). The property near the river was used for farming, but also served as woodlots and a gathering place for locals who wanted to picnic and hike.


The Ferris family inherited the land in 1920, and when James Marshall Ferris II died in 1960, as he wanted the property to remain in its natural state and be available to the public, the local community and the Ferris family lobbied the government for the creation of a provincial park, and that’s how Ferris Provincial Park was created.

Throughout the provincial park, it is possible to see signs of its history. The park is known for its network of old stone walls (there are nearly seven kilometres of them scattered throughout the park), some of which have been restored to preserve that part of the history of Ferris Provincial Park.

Rock walls in Ferris Provincial Park
Old rock walls along the trail

In addition to its numerous camp sites, the provincial park also has a few hiking trails, of which here is an overview.


River Gorge Trail

A 3.5-kilometre loop. As its name suggests, this trail showcases the Trent River and Ranney Gorge, and offers several viewpoints over them. We started from the “sheep wash”, a place that was used to wash sheep in the river, and which has now been converted into a picnic area. From there, we headed north, towards the gorge.

The trail along the river had a few muddy sections, and a few steeper sections, but nothing too complicated. After a few metres, we arrived at what is arguably one of the highlights of Ferris Provincial Park: the famous suspension bridge over the Trent River. With a length of 90 metres, the bridge offers a superb view of the river and its gorge, and is part of the Trans Canada Trail.

Ranney Gorge Suspension Bridge
Walking across the gorge, a highlight of the provincial park

Then the trail took us back to our starting point, this time passing through the forest. South of the “sheep wash”, the trail makes another short loop, which also follows the river before returning through a clearing. The trail here is a little less steep than in its northern portion, but I liked the views it offers of the river and its lilac-lined sections.

Trent River in Ferris Provincial Park
Beautiful Trent River

Ranney Falls Trail

A 1-kilometre loop. This trail apparently follows the route of an old railway line and offers a view of Ranney Falls. These falls are not very high so not particularly impressive, but the panorama offered on the river (with the suspension bridge that can be seen in the distance) is still very pretty.

Since the loop is short, it pairs well with the River Gorge Trail.

Ranney Falls in Campbellford
Ranney Falls from the trail

Drumlin Trail System

7.2 kilometres of trails. The Drumlin Trail System is actually a network of three interconnected trails (the blue, white and red trails), which allow you to explore the ecosystems of two drumlins up close. Drumlins are small, elongated hills of sediment created by the glaciers. Drumlins are common in southern Ontario, and particularly in Northumberland County.

The trails go through the mature forest that covers the drumlins, as well as through some wetlands. There are also traces of the past of the place along the trails, such as old stone walls. We combined some of the trails to do a loop of about 3.5 kilometres, which we completed in just under an hour.

Drumlin Trail in Ferris Provincial Park
Exploring the nature of the drumlin


Ferris Provincial Park has over 150 campsites, divided into two campgrounds. I must admit that our arrival at the provincial park did not go exactly as planned. There had been heavy rain all day and the campsite we had booked was completely covered in water and mud. In fact, when we tried to get our van onto the site, we got stuck in the mud and it took us some time before we were able to be able to get out.

We were a little discouraged when we returned to the Park Office (we knew that since it was a long weekend, finding another site could be hard), but there, miraculously, we were told that there were a few other sites available, and we were even told that we could choose the one that suited us best, and they could switch our booking for us. We therefore chose a beautiful open site and were able to enjoy our camping weekend and keep our feet dry! We really appreciated the patience and understanding of the park staff.

A van at the campsite of Ferris Provincial Park
After the sun finally came out!

And I really liked about this provincial park, in addition to its pretty hiking trails, was the abundance of lilacs. The lilacs were originally part of the old farms, but they are growing wild today, and they give the park and its campsites a unique look (and smell)! It was really the perfect spring camping trip!

Campground at Ferris Provincial Park
Lilacs everywhere!


  1. What a gorgeous park, Vanessa! The water views are beautiful, and the trails look great for hiking. Thank you for explaining drumlins – I learned something today. Oh, and the lilacs…

    1. Thanks for reading, Kellye! We also learned a lot while we were there, and we did enjoy the smell of lilacs all weekend long!

  2. I’ve been to Ferris Provincial Park a couple of times, but just for the day. I’ve also never been in the spring so it’s good to know about the abundance of lilacs. Glad to hear that you were able to switch sites since yours was wet and muddy.

  3. Another beautiful provincial park! Ontario seems to have hundreds of parks! I would love to have a conversion like you have to travel in, my sister has one and she loves it! 🇨🇦❤️

    1. Yes, Ontario has many, many parks! We are happy with our conversion, it’s such a nice way to travel and explore new regions! 🙂

      1. We converted ours ourselves, so it was less expensive than buying it already fully equiped. It was a lot of work though! But a nice project 🙂

    1. The lilacs were a nice touch to the park (and it smelled so good!) Thanks for reading, Maggie! 🙂

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