CA, Ontario: French River Provincial Park – Recollet Falls

Trying to outsmart the rain, we left Sudbury, where we’ve had our base for four nights, quite late in the morning. Getting to French River park was an easy one-hour drive South from Sudbury (or 3.5 hrs North from Toronto).

French River from the snowmobile bridge

The Visitor centre is near the highway and was closed due to covid situation, but the bridge we’ve seen from Hwy was right there, a two-minute walk, never mind the light drizzle that has just started. The lonely bridge was waiting for us: it is the best outlook point where one can admire the canyon that French river forms here.

It became known as “French River” because of some of the first explorers, and missionaries in this area. Driving quite a bit in this area, we found that there is also a Spanish River, and cities like Espanola, and Spanish, to name a few.

But more impressive were the 2 littles canoes that seem lost in the grandeur of the canyon. Though a relatively small river, it is famous in Canada’s history, serving as major canoe route of the fur trade, reason the French River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 1986.

Canoes on French River

Intense interest in fishing and logging led to the reason it is a protected area now, most of the park has undeveloped back-country campsites, and some remote cottages. And maybe this is the main reason the park attracts hikers, canoers, and boaters, nature lovers who enjoy clear waters, rocky shores, and mature forests.

The spectacular rock formations looked even more impressive under the overcast sky, and we decided to go hiking to Recollet Falls, even tough small drops were coming down from the swollen clouds.

William E Small Bridge – It is the largest snowmobile bridge of its kind in the world, built by the French river snow Voyageurs snowmobile club in 2005. It can carry a large heavy trail grooming machine or over 100 snowmobiles at a time.

Recollet Falls trail begins at the Visitor Centre, and follows the forest along the French River Gorge for 4 kilometers. The nature was all refreshed by the light drizzle and perhaps not only. We had to walk carefully over the slippery rocks, and enjoyed a lot the design and intricacies of the tree roots for most part of the trail.

After about an hour on the trail, we saw the waterfalls, which resembles more like some rapids.

Recolett Falls

That is a great spot to take a rest, and even tough we didn’t really meet people on the trail, we were suddenly surrounded by few small groups. But plenty of space for all of us, as the shore is wide, allowing all of us to keep the distance.

French River from Recolett Falls

We stayed around for awhile, as the two little canoes we saw earlier at the bridge, were just portaging around the falls.

Portaging canoes at Recolett Falls

We watched until they were off on the other side of the falls: father, son and grandson. I guess some boys time😊 isn’t that amazing? We wished them great time!

Continuing the journey on French River

Tip(s) of the day:

* sturdy footwear is recommended, as quite rugged parts of the trails;

* insect repellent is needed for merciless mosquitoes;

* attention to wet surfaces, and the tree roots.

~ visited in August 2020

21 thoughts on “CA, Ontario: French River Provincial Park – Recollet Falls

  1. The Visitor Centre at French River offers an interesting presentation of the Voyageur period when furs and everything that had to be transported passed through the lakes and rivers and roads of the past. It was interesting to visit. Thanks for the hike.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We visited the French River back in August too, also on a rainy day. Maybe our paths crossed. It’s too bad that the visitors centre was closed as I’ve heard such great things about it. I would love to come back one day and try canoeing along the river to see the gorge from a different angle. Looks beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to think this was not our last visit there, hopefully the visitor centre will be open next time. Canoeing in the gorge would give you a totally different perspective for sure, though not sure it is for me LOL
      Thank you for stopping by, have a lovely day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, what a scenic place to explore. It looks amazing even on a rainy day! I would love to go canoeing on the French River and take in all the natural wonders along the way. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day. Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Canoeing is a different thing for sure, giving you a totally new perspective, especially in a canyon. I’m not such a great paddler, but I would love to be able to do that one day. Thank you for stopping by, have a great evening🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I sure enjoyed these photos and narrative on the French River, Christie. What a gorgeous place! I espec. liked the photo from the bridge of the two canoes, for it showcases the size and magnificence of this river.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that too, you can see actually how big the canyon is. I would have liked to explore more this area, for sure the canyon looks totally different from below. I have a photo with the little boy in the canoe and I could see his wonder on his face, but the pic was not very clear.
      All the best, xx

      Liked by 1 person

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