An Evening at Rock Glen (Ontario)

As you may have seen from our Instagram, we recently took an afternoon to explore a nearby hidden gem: Rock Glen Conservation Area in Arkona, Ontario. Located approximately 50 minutes West of London, Ontario, (or an hour East of Sarnia/Port Huron) is this gorgeous park complete with forest, boardwalks, camping, and most famously the Rock Glen waterfall and fossil site. Not having explored this natural area together or with our dog before, we decided that a visit was in order.

We went on a Friday evening right after a rainstorm in hopes that the crowd would be limited, as this place tends to be quite busy during the summer months. Fortunately, there were only a handful of people exploring the park, which worked out great for us!

Upon arrival, we paid our admission price of $4 (per car, not per person) and found parking without any issue. At first glance, there is a fun park area for the kids with climbers and slides, but also washrooms and picnic tables and lots of green space. Following the gravel trail from the parking lot, we made our way to the start of the boardwalk.IMG_20170822_071041_660IMG_20170810_090625_930IMG_20170827_201805_098

With our dog in the lead (because of course she knows the way) we headed up the stairs to the first lookout area of the river below. There were lots of great areas around the park to take in the view. Making it down to the base of the waterbed, the water was shallow enough to walk in and many people typically search for fossilized rocks here. As a souvenir with admission price, the park does allow for each guest to take home one fossil each if they so choose. We didn’t do any fossil hunting while we were visiting Rock Glen, but it would definitely be a fun activity for kids!IMG_20170827_201720_100

Making our way back around the boardwalk loop, there were a LOT more stairs. If you plan to visit Rock Glen, make sure that you are in decent physical health, because there is a LOT of stair climbing – even we were feeling the burn by the last few steps. With that being said, this is not a good place to bring strollers, walkers, etc., as its not an overly accessible place in that sense.

The final part of our trek (and not going to lie, the whole reason for this trip) was to visit Rock Glen’s waterfall! Not terribly large, but large enough, it stands at about 35 feet in height. A set of sturdy wooden stairs will take you right to the bottom where there is standing room and oversized rocks that you can perch on to snap a great photo. If you remembered to bring a swimsuit you can swim in the base of the falls. We didn’t, but our dog sure got her paws (and belly) wet. There were a number of people of all ages enjoying the falls and cooling off in its water while we were there.IMG_20170815_081843_919

Overall, Rock Glen is a great little area to spend a half-day exploring. They have a museum open on weekends in the warmer months if interested, and a lot of activities available to tire out both kids and parents, including mini-putt, play equipment, and more. A beautiful little place filled with wildlife, and completely family-friendly, Rock Glen conservation area is definitely a place to add to your list when exploring South-Western Ontario.

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The minor details:
Cost: Park access is $4.00 per vehicle, but this covers entrance, parking, and if you find a fossil in the water, you are allowed to take one home with you. The park is family and dog friendly (keep your fur babies on a leash and pick up after them, though).

Accessible?: Not all of it. Although there is a beautiful boardwalk around the edges of the park, there are a lot of stairs.

Hours: The park hours are essentially from dawn until dusk, year round. If you’re wanting to visit the museum, check out their website for specific hours of opening, as they change throughout the season.

Happy traveling!
–The Calkins’

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