Valens Lake Conservation Area is a beautiful RV - and tent - campground, conveniently located just outside of Hamilton. Here's our review!
Like Fifty Point Conservation Area - and Christie Lake, Tiffany Falls Conservation Area, Fletcher Creek Ecological Preserve, and more - is part of the Hamilton Conservation Authority, which overseas several amazing parkland properties along the western side of Lake Ontario.
.. And as with Fifty Point, this one plays host to a popular family campground!
Not just for campers, there’s a large beach and multiple picnic areas to accommodate families who may just want to spend a half day enjoying the beauty of the area.
There’s a LOT going on here for outdoor lovers, so let’s get to it!
Campground Name: Valens Lake Conservation Area
Address: 1691 Regional Road 97, Flamborough, ON, N1R 5S7
Website: Valens Lake Conservation Area
Price $44-51 / night, plus 13.27 reservation fee.
Reservations: Hamilton Conservation Authority Reservations
Campground Amenities & Info
Overall, we loved our experience here! While the weather didn’t really cooperate - alternating between oppressively hot and thundershowers during our stay - we did manage to get out and explore a bit.
The whole area seems clean and well maintained. There seem to be a LOT of staff working on the grounds - mowing, working on clearing branches, etc.
Maintenance and clean facilities definitely seem to be a priority here, and we can definitely tell!
Booking our site went quickly and easily online.
The staff was SUPER patient about answering my ton of questions, when we had some last minute timing / logistics issues come up.
(This is our first time bringing our passenger vehicle with us, and we had no idea how that whole process worked!).
Check in at the gate took less than 2 minutes, and that was with me checking in for both myself in the passenger truck, and my husband following in the RV. Quick, efficient, friendly service!
Signage around the park was clear and easy to spot for the most part, and I appreciated the big, obvious notice about poor water quality right at the front gate.
The brochure maps aren’t SUPER accurate, but just in a minorly annoying sense - you’ll get where you’re going, just maybe temper your expectations about things like scale, exact locations, etc.
Cell reception was great for us, both in our campsite, and throughout the park. I do not believe the park offers wifi, though.
There are a ton of washroom facilities throughout the park - At least one within an easy walk of most/all campsites, with many little paths cutting though campsites to make for even more direct access.
While there doesn’t seem to be a central comfort station, there are 3 shower buildings throughout the camping area of the park, each with restroom facilities, and easily accessible from many campground areas.
Every camp site seems to have at least 1 picnic table - Most/all we’ve seen have 2 picnic tables - and a fire pit, with firewood available for sale both at the main gate, and at the camp store located in the middle of the camp ground area.
Note: We didn’t end up going into the campground store during our stay.
Activities and Entertainment
Valens Lake Conservation Area prides itself on being a 300-hectare mecca for outdoor lovers - and they’re not wrong!
Whether you want to play on the beach, picnic, fish, hike, or camp, it’s the perfect spot to spend some of your summertime.
Here are some details about the many activities offered:
There is a large, natural sandy beach and natural swimming area, perfect to spend a sunny summer day at!
Unfortunately for us, our trip happened right after some rain, and the water had dangerously high levels of e. coli - so no swimming for us!
While that’s disappointing, I definitely appreciate when the government is actually diligent about keeping people healthy!
(To check the results of Hamilton beach water testing throughout the summer, you can visit Hamilton's Beach Water Quality Page)
Next time we’re here - assuming better weather and water conditions - we’ll definitely spend some time on the sand, maybe check out the beach store over there, pick up some cool treats... sounds like a plan!
Valens Lake Conservation Area offers around 10 kilometres of trail, with about 3.5 kms of that being a loop around the lake, including a 300-metre wetland boardwalk.
An observation tower - just a short walk from the campground store - offers a stunning view of the surrounding forests, wetland habitats, and the lake itself.
It’s a good place for birding in general, with a bunch of different kinds of birds, ducks, and even owls in the area. If you’re lucky, you may see one of the Great Blue Herons!
The main loop around the lake is accessible through many short access trails from the campgrounds and the main road of the park.
It’s generally fairly flat, with some very small inclines. An easy walking trail for most!
While it’s great for hiking or jogging, you may need to exercise some caution when cycling or cross-country skiing.
There are some sections of roots and branches growing across the trail, just keep your eyes open!
Boating & Fishing
While motorized boats are not allowed on Valens lake, there is a boat launch / dock available for those who want to enjoy the natural areas by non-motorized means: canoe, kayak, paddleboard, rowboat, etc.
Apparently the beach store offered life jackets and boat rental at some point, but we didn’t see anything to that effect during our stay, and Google says the boat rental is “temporarily closed”.
Not sure what that’s about.
Anyway, the area is also known as a fishing spot, with largemouth bass, Northern Pike, and panfish.
Note: It’s a fish sanctuary, with closures as well as voluntary catch and release programs to note. If fishing is your thing, I’d recommend checking their site for more details!
There are no restaurants in the park, but there are PLENTY of picnic areas - both as individual tables strewn about the area landscape, and group areas.
Apparently there are over 1000 picnic tables throughout the park!
There’s also the Powell Pavilion, which seats around 120 people, has a kitchenette, wood stove, patios, washrooms, AND an optional group camping facility out back!
Other Sports & Activities
Volleyball: There are several volleyball nets set up near the beach and main picnic areas.
Geocaching: There are about 2 dozen Geocaches listed on the app, but the vast majority are premium caches - I don’t have a premium membership, so don’t have much to comment here!
Pokemon Go: There are several pokestops and a couple gyms in the park, but most (all) are by the beach and in the main day-use areas. Nothing in the camp grounds.
Valens Lake has over 230 camp sites, including a mix of tent sites, RV sites, group sites, and even radio free zones.
There are even some cabins available to rent - I bet they have lake views, based on where they were situated, up a bit of a hill!
In terms of the RV sites, most have both water hookups and electrical hookups. No sewer, but there is a dump station at the front of the park, and another towards the back.
During a quick pass through the park, most / all of the sites look large. Most are back in, there were some pull-through sites, and the vast majority offered a fair amount of privacy.
We could barely see their set up through the trees that divided the sites, though.
As with the rest of the park, our site was clean and well maintained.
I loved how we were surround by woods, but it was also fairly open - if that makes sense.
Though it seemed there are trails (I don’t think they’re counted as part of the 10-kilometres of trails, though?) through there, we didn’t see or hear anyone out back during our stay.
Valens Lake is one of the few campgrounds I’ve seen locally that offers camping any time of the year - winter camping seems a bit rare, here!
I’ve seen references to bookings being available for the off-season, and also that everything is just a walk in, first-come, first-served basis... so I’m not sure what’s up with that.
Lots of broken links on their official websites 🙁
While the trails aren’t paved, the park seems RELATIVELY accessible, at least if you’re not in a wheelchair.
I was dealing with an achilles injury when I was here, and going through a period of basically NOTHING being accessible (including just getting out of bed!)
So, from my point of view: Paths are fairly wide, fairly flat, mostly well packed, and MOSTLY free of obstacles.
The washrooms and shower facilities are a relatively short walk from the camp grounds.
The garbage facilities/central waste depot is NOWHERE NEAR the camp grounds - we had to drive.
If I had been having a decent time with my foot, I think it was still too far to walk to the beach from the campgrounds - I’d recommend driving.
Pets are permitted in the camp ground and in the park, but must be kept on a leash and never left unattended.
Dogs are not allowed on the main beach, but the brochure mentions asking the park for directions to “pet friendly water areas”.
Posted quiet hours are from 10:30 pm to 8:00 am, with excessive noise banned at all times.
We found it to be very quiet - though it was quite booked up during our stay, we didn’t hear much of anything or anyone, at all.
Related, it’s good to note that there is a full alcohol ban - both on consumption and possession, while in the park.
In the RV sites, it seems like plenty are big enough to accommodate additional vehicles, though an additional vehicle permit.
We were not charged for our additional vehicle, and I’m still not certain of the reasoning, but hey - I’ll take it!
Additionally, some of the tent camp grounds are walk-in only. You’re allowed to load from the road near your site, but then you have to park your car in a nearby parking lot.
Due to my foot situation, we found out that Valens Lake is about a 15 minute drive from the edge of Cambridge, where there are a bunch of restaurants and other amenities - like the Shopper’s Drug Mart we had to visit for a tensor bandage!
Also due to that foot situation, we didn’t end up going far from our campsite for most of our stay, and can’t really comment on local entertainment, activities, and shopping near the park.
We also didn’t order any kind of delivery during our stay.
It looks like we’re only about 10 km away from African Lion Safari, which I loved as a kid. I brought my husband there shortly after we moved to Ontario.
Now that I think about it, that means we’re also pretty close to Abigail's Tea House, which we went to that day. It was FANTASTIC - the owner was super nice, the food was amazing, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone!
We had a really enjoyable stay at this campground, and I can see why they say that it has the feeling of North Ontario.
It’s wild to me that there are areas that feel so remote, and still be just outside of the city!
It’s great to be able to feel like we’re out in the middle of nowhere, woods all around... and not have to blow a fortune on gas to get there.
The whole park is beautiful, well maintained, peaceful, and quiet - we’ll definitely be back!
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!
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