Sometimes you have to go chasing waterfalls… especially if it’s easy.
At Chutes Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, it’s easy – and dog-friendly.
Located one kilometre off Highway #17 in Massey, Ontario, Chutes is the best provincial park between Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie, and the best stop if you’re travelling to either city from Toronto.
Provincial parks are my new road-trip stops, and I’m factoring in travel time to do visit them this summer.
Dog-friendly Chutes Provincial Park
First, my dog Victor is getting older and needs more time out of the car. Frankly, so do I. On a recent road trip north from Toronto to Sault St. Marie, we took time to check out Chutes parks. If I’m in the area again, I’d like to camp. (If I ever camp again – check out our Pancake Bay experience).
Second, I’ve got an annual day-use pass (thanks to Ontario Parks) and will be checking out as many as possible this summer. Let’s declare this the summer of Ontario Parks discovery. (Day-use passes cost $175 for the year or $125 for the summer per car. Worth it!).
Chutes has ALL the components to make this a memorable dog experience:
- a dog swim area
- six kilometres of walking trails
- a fenced-in leash-free (whoot!) wooded park filled with trees to smell and a picnic table for me to sit and enjoy a packed lunched while Victor stretched, stiffed and explored
Where the dog can’t go is the beach along the base of the waterfall rapids – which makes sense because it’s the favourite bathing pool of people and under tow can easily pull small dogs in.
Speaking of waterfalls – there’s a wide winding one complete with viewing platform. An easy gravel trail takes you to the platform stairs. Or you can drive almost all the way there. (Yup).
The dog-run and picnic area are in the day-use zone. Otherwise, Chutes park has 130 campsites, two with RV pull-throughs, no roofed accommodations (some are now dog-friendly at provincial parks), a comfort station with five showers and two bathrooms with flush toilets.
The waterfall alone is worth the stop, though the dog will appreciate a leash-free stretch.
The next stop – heading north along Highway 69 – is French River Provincial Park primarily a day-use only site offering a visitor’s centre with museum, four kilometres of moderate walking trails and picnic tables.
Camping is first-come first serve back-country camping (230 sites) mostly used by birders and those paddling the river. The area is adjacent to a 105-kilometre canoe route once traveled by Indigenous people, French explorers and Voyageurs.
No dog exercise area at French River, unfortunately.
I’m Sherri Telenko, a professional writer for 30 years and travel writer for the last 20. I’m a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America. I’ve lived with cats, dogs, horses and guinea pigs all my life, and I travel almost weekly with my canine companion, Victoria.