a peek inside the fishbowl

29 Jul, 2021

Camping 2021: Two great trails at Achray Campground

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

A couple of my all-time favourite hiking trails are at Achray. In a previous post I briefly mentioned High Falls. You can canoe in to High Falls, but we chose to pack a lunch and hike. The trail is called “High Falls Cheater Trail” and I don’t think it’s on the official park maps.

High Falls is truly an amazing destination, a must-see if you are in the area.

Imagine, if you will, an oasis in the Canadian wilderness. It is glorious.

The trail to High Falls is about 4.5k. Some of it is flat, some of it isn’t. I’d describe it as a moderately challenging trail.

Hike to High Falls, Achray

Oh, and Mark and the youngest heard a mama bear and her cubs along the way. THAT was exciting, and about as close as I wanted to get to a bear.

It is a pretty trail but the payoff is that oasis I mentioned. It’s part lagoon, where you can jump off a small “cliff” into the water, and part waterslide. (YES. More on that part in a bit.)

We chose the best day to go. It was sunny and bright. Honestly, picture perfect. You could realistically hang out here all day.

High Falls, near Achray

View of High Falls

View of High Falls

Look at me, being all blissful-like! I am an excellent floater, by the way:

High Falls

High Falls is a big place. We got there just before lunch and there were only a few other people there. It got busier in the afternoon but there was still plenty of space for people to spread out.

As I mentioned, on the other side of that scenic lagoon is a natural rock “water slide.” We did not partake in a slide this year as the water levels were really high. If you do go, I recommend wearing a PFD as it will keep your head above water. (We watched a girl shoot down the slide and do a complete somersault – with feet in the air – when she got to the bottom. NIGHTMARE.)

Here’s an older pic from 2015. See the people sliding down the rock? And yes, it kinda hurts your bum a bit. You’re sliding down a giant rock after all.

View of "waterslide" at High Falls

My other fave trail near Achray is Barron Canyon Trail. It’s the best kind of trail in my books:

1) It’s short. In terms of distance it’s only 1.5k.
2) It’s a loop, so there is no doubling back and seeing stuff you’ve already seen.
3) There is a variety of things to see along the way.
4) There are flat parts, and steep parts.
5) There is a wonderful view at the end. You wind up at the very top of a clifftop that looks way down into a canyon. It is a stunning view unlike any other, hence there is …
6) … a very real element of DANGER, since there’s no fence at the top. Once false move and you are a goner. So cool!

Exciting stuff, eh?

We’ve been here a couple times before, as you can see by our “then, then, and now” photo series. (I think you should be able to click on the photos to enlarge.)

Barron Canyon Trail

Mark and S. peek over the edge

Mark and S

While we were at the top of the cliff at one point I happened to look down to see an eagle or hawk of some kind, hitching a ride on a breeze and floating along the canyon. No one else saw it, just me. It was so fleeting that I didn’t even have time to snap a photo but I will always hold that picture in my mind.

View from the top of Barron Canyon


2 Responses to "Camping 2021: Two great trails at Achray Campground"

1 | Sally Dowe Marchand

July 29th, 2021 at 5:54 pm

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Thanks for sharing your camping adventures. It looks so beautiful and peaceful.

2 | andrea tomkins

August 5th, 2021 at 9:00 am

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Thank you Sally! It was so peaceful… very restorative. I look forward to our camping trips every year!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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