Ever since I was a little girl, the idea of visiting Petroglyphs Provincial Park was something that I had on my unofficial travel bucket list. This park is the location for the historic rock carvings by Algonquin or Iroquoian-speaking people that date back to well over a thousand years ago.
Not only is it special because of its age, but the number of rock carvings – with over 1,200 it’s the largest collection of such carvings in Ontario by First Nations people.
Visiting Petroglyphs Provincial Park is special. For First Nations people it is still a sacred place. This is why, out of respect, we didn’t take photos of the location and the carvings, protected by a glass building.
Summer Visit: Bring Your Bug Spray
Depending on when you visit, you may end up having to swat at deer flies and mosquitoes. Our visited landed at the end of June, and the flies were EVERYWHERE. As soon as we stopped our car, it was enveloped by flies. Quickly opening and closing our door, and wrapping our heads in our hoodies, we practically ran from the parking lot to the nearby Visitor Centre.
Inside is a display of the rock carving images with explanations and content that links it to the First Nations beliefs and way of thinking about the world. It’s a brief reprieve from the bugs, but you know that you need to venture outside once again to get to the petroglyphs.
Once you reach the protective building, you are greeted by park personnel – knowledgeable and very willing to share the story of the rock and it’s special carvings. Our guide spent a good half-hour showing us the special carvings including those of shamans, birds, turtles, snakes, other animals and the Great Spirit.
You learn that the First Nations still visit this rock for ceremonies and consider it a sacred place. It truly feels special when you are on site – almost like an energy that is running through you.
Seeing the rock in person, it’s vastness and the number of rock carvings is worth the discomfort of swatting away flies that want to eat a chunk of you.
Add it to your bucket list!
When to Visit
Visiting Petroglyphs Provincial Park is dependent on when it’s open – usually mid-May through to Thanksgiving weekend (early-October). It’s open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
It is located northeast from Peterborough, Ontario, which also has a the Canadian Canoe Museum.
Have you ever visited Petroglyphs Provincial Park? What did you experience when on-site?