Driftwood Provincial Park is a cute RV campground on the south shore of the Ottawa River. We had a great stay there - here's what you need to know!
After one of the longest day road trips we’ve taken so far, we pulled up to Driftwood Provincial park, which would end up being an ideal base camp for us, for the following few days.
The drive in was beautiful - loads of gorgeous views of the scenic landscapes that lead up to the park.
The fall colour opportunities were just starting to present themselves - especially after we passed North Bay.
The pristine forest vistas that lined the highway seemed to go from mostly green, to big bursts of flaming colour, right as we left that specific town!
Stretching along the south shore of the Ottawa River, the majority of Driftwood’s campsites are waterfront campsites!
This just might have been the best place for us to view the aurora, had anything happened during our stay.
... it did not. Boo!
Anyway, lights or not, we had a fantastic stay.
Lots to talk about - especially for such a small, understated park! - so let’s get right to it!
Campground Name: Driftwood Provincial Park
Address: 39520 Highway 17 Stonecliffe, ON K0J 2K0
Price Ontario Provincial Parks uses a pricing matrix across all their parks. See 2023 Camping Fees for more details.
Reservations: Ontario Parks Reservations
As always, booking our site was quick and easy through the Ontario Parks online portal.
Signing in when we got to the park was fast and friendly. Something interesting here - it’s a permitless park.
If you do pre-registration online, you can go straight to your camp site and be done with it.
I’m not sure if this also applies to the advanced daily vehicle permits that you can book for the day use area, though.
It certainly wasn’t the giant middle finger of a “map” we got at MacLeod!
Anyway, the signage throughout the park was fine.
Really though, there didn’t need to be much in the way of signage, given the size and layout of this park.
Cell reception was somewhere between “Just OK” and “Acceptable” for the bulk of our stay. Sometimes we didn’t have much / any connection, but that usually just lasted a few minutes.
The park is in a relatively dark area of Ontario, with very little light pollution.
Had there been any activity on the Aurora Borealis front, we would have had an AMAZING view from the back of our campsite, which was more or less facing north over the water.
The camp sites are a mix of electrical and non electrical. As with the vast majority of Ontario Provincial Parks, none of the sites had water or sewer hookups.
There is a dumping station / fill station just before you get to the park office, as you’re entering the park. (That is, it’s just past the office - to the left - when you’re leaving.)
You want to enter from the side facing the park office, and there are 2 fill platforms / 1 dump platform.
It was definitely set up to access from the end that’s closest to the park, on your way OUT of the park.
There are a few recycling bins, and a trailer for your garbage.
None of the trails appear to be wheelchair accessible, but the 200 m trail from the Ottawa River East campground to the day use area would probably be ok with other types of mobility aids, like a boot or cane.
The comfort station is barrier free, as long as you access it from the upper parking lot. (There are stairs from the lower parking lot). There is designated accessible parking at the comfort station.
The washer and one of the dryers were on the ground, the second dryer was stacked on top of the first dryer, and would probably be out of reach to a wheelchair user.
There is also a barrier-free campsite near the comfort station.
Finally, at least one of the other toilets in the campground had an accessibility symbol on it - but I forgot to make note of which one! I THINK it was in the Brumm campground, though.
So far as we could tell, the general rules about keeping dogs leashed at all times probably apply in Driftwood Provincial Park.
Really, the only mention we saw of dogs was a sign at the beach saying they WEREN’T allowed there.
Two of our neighbours had Very Good Bois (or Girls!), that would come over to visit us... much to the chagrin of our neighbours.
They thought the dogs were bothering us, but we enjoyed the very flouffy company!
Overall, the park and its amenities seemed to be clean and well maintained
The comfort station looked really nice - it has showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities.
It had two parking lots - one at the bottom of a set of stairs as you approach the building from the west side of the campground, and another up and around from there.
To get to that parking lot - which does not involve going up any stairs - you have to drive past the comfort station, past 6 camp sites on your right, then turn right on that loop and come back.
The laundry facilities were clean and in good condition. There was 1 washer and 2 dryers, available for $3/load.
There are also flush toilets in small buildings throughout the camp ground.
I’m not sure if they’re all flush, though - some definitely looked to be vault toilets, though my ~allergy~ to outhouses stopped me from taking a closer look 🙂
There’s a cute little camp store at the park office. It was kind of “TARDIS” - looked much bigger on the inside!
You can buy all the usual Ontario Parks souvenirs, along with firewood, ice, and a nice selection of junk food. This is also where you can arrange to rent a canoe, or borrow PFDs.
Day Use Area
There’s a decent sized day-use area on the east end of the park, accessible by a road that goes straight out from the gate house.
Note: There’s a separate road at that intersection that takes you down to the Ottawa campground areas.)
The day use area has a nice little picnic area looking out over the water, as well as a small, sandy beach.
There’s also a small playground - it was taped off, and looked to be undergoing remodeling, maybe?
The beach was closed due to blue green algae for the duration of our stay.
Entertainment and Activity
Driftwood Provincial Park may be small, but it offers a number of recreational activities to partake in:
There are several hiking trails surrounding the park:
The Oak Highland Trail - Moderate
The Oak Highland Trails consist of two loops - a 1 km Riverview Loop, and a 2.3 km Beaver Pond Loop.
The trail involves a steep climb to a lookout point above the Ottawa River.
The Chevrier Creek Trails - Moderate
The Chevrier Creek Trail is a 1.3 km (there and back) trail originating near from the road going to the day use area.
From the end of that section - near the road to the Ottawa campgrounds - it turns into a chain series of 4 joined trail loops.
The first loop is 1.8 km long, the second - attached to the first - is 3.7 km long, the third loop - attached to the second - is 0.5 km long, and the final loop is 2 km long.
I’d been looking forward to exploring all of them, but was still dealing with a knee that had other ideas, after being blown out in Lake Superior Provincial Park.
The hiking trails aren’t really suitable for biking on, but campers are welcome to bike on the main park roads.
Some of them - such as the road from the front office down to the Ottawa campgrounds - would actually be kind of challenging, IMHO. It gets pretty steep!
The calm, clear waters of the Ottawa River - and the sheltered bay that the campground borders - make for some excellent boating! We watched a number of canoes, kayaks, and even a sailboat during our stay.
The park makes a great basecamp for those wanting to explore the Dumoine River - popular as a wilderness canoe route - or the canoe routes in nearby Algonquin Provincial Park.
Driftwood Provincial Park rents out canoes, with rental racks located both in the day use area, and between the two sections of the Ottawa Campground.
All rentals include personal floatation devices, paddles, and a boat safety kit. You can also borrow personal floatation devices - on their own - from the campground.
For those who don’t have waterfront access, there’s a boat launch and small dock in the day use area.
If you have an Ontario fishing license (and/or a Quebec fishing license, depending on where you want to venture!), this section of the Ottawa River has some great fishing opportunities.
Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, and Walleye are all available in the Ottawa River.
If you boat over to the mouth of the Dumoine River (In Quebec, hence the need for a Quebec license!), there’s even more walleye - the spot is known for it.
While the sandy beaches of the park were closed due to blue green algae during our stay (Not to mention it being pretty chilly in late September!), this would be a great place to swim, at another time of year.
The shores of the Ottawa River extend the full length of the park, with a lot of it being easily accessible to campers, right from their own sites.
For those without waterfront access, there’s a small, private sand beach in the day use area.
My husband was absolutely obsessed with a small island that wasn’t far from shore - pretty sure he’d swim out to it, in warmer weather!
This park is known to play host to multiple species of songbirds, including the brightly coloured warblers that nest there.
We didn’t see or hear many birds during our 3 night stay - the chipmunks were the stars of our wildlife show.
The little guys in this park are plentiful in number, and have plenty of attitude!
Be careful when you’re driving, as they DGAF about cars.
They’ll also sit up the trees and tell you off for hours on end - and I think they were actively terrorizing our cats, through the camper windows.
It was all very cute!
As with other provincial parks we’ve stayed at so far, Driftwood PP offers a discovery program in July and August.
It sounds like a fairly standard - if limited - offering, mostly focused on the Discovery Activity Book.
There doesn’t really seem to be a central location for programming at this park, unlike the other parks with visitor centres, amphitheatres, etc.
There are a couple Pokestops and a Gym, all located around the day use area.
While I think one of the stops would be available from the end of the Brumm campground closest to the road, none are in range from the Ottawa Campgrounds.
The stops / gym in the day use area are all accessible from the parking lot, with enough cell phone coverage to be able to make use of them.
We also noticed a decent number of spawns reachable from our camp site, as well as along the length of the Ottawa campgrounds.
The park is a mix of electric sites and non electric sites, spread out across 3 small campgrounds.
Ottawa River West and Ottawa River East campgrounds are non electric, laid out in a long line along the bank of the Ottawa River. Most have waterfront access, and all are non-electric sites.
These sites make up then bulk of the campground, with about ⅔ of the sites located between the two sections.
The Brumm campground is a small cluster of electrical sites in the woods. Most are a short walk from the beach, but none have a waterfront view.
Clearly, we chose a non-electric campsite 🙂
We saw a good mix of different RV sizes, campers, camper vans, pop-ups, and tents during our stay.
Some of the sites in the Brumm Campground are HUGE pull-through sites that look like they could accommodate basically anything.
Our Campsite - #8 - was absolutely perfect!
It was huge, waterfront, and had very easy access to the shore - an easy slope down from the main area of the site.
(Some of the other waterfront sites - especially to the west of us - had more obstructed views).
We enjoyed spectacular panoramic views of the Ottawa River, along with several beautiful sunsets during our stay.
... though I could definitely go without hearing another “I can see Quebec from my yard!” from my husband, ever again. LOL!
There are two group campsites in the park - one just off the road to the day use area, and one at the top of the first loop in the Brumm campground.
We really love the panoramic views of the scenic upper Ottawa Valley, viewed from the waterfront campsites!
It’s a small park, but nice and quiet - very serene. The layout of the campground - with the majority of the sites laid out in a line along the shore - made it feel really cozy and comfortable.
It was our first real time camping without electricity (we’re just going to look past that very short night at MacLeod Provincial Park!), it actually wasn’t bad at all - we’re sure the campground was part of that.
We’d definitely stay here again, if visiting the area!
More Campground Reviews
Want to read some more of what we have to say about the campgrounds we've stayed at? Here are some more reviews!
Chutes Provincial Park
Conestogo Lake Conservation Area
Elora Gorge Conservation Area
Fifty Point Conservation Area
Killbear Provincial Park
Lake Superior Provincial Park
Long Point Provincial Park
MacLeod Provincial Park
Meaford Memorial Park
Neys Provincial Park
Port Burwell Provincial Park
Quetico Provincial Park
Selkirk Provincial Park
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
Turkey Point Provincial Park
Valens Lake Conservation Area
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