Earl Rowe Provincial Park is a busy park in the Ontario Parks system, even though it doesn’t fit the traditional Ontario Parks model of being situated in a natural environment containing: beautiful lakes, extensive forests, rocks or beaches. Earl Rowe is popular because it offers “glamping” or glamorous camping and will appeal to those who don’t want to “rough it”.
Environment: Earl Rowe is conveniently located 95 kilometres from downtown Toronto in a picturesque valley, along the Boyne River. The park borders with the town of Alliston and Earl Rowe Lake is actually a man-made lake. This is a little distracting for someone like me who prefers a quieter and more natural setting when camping. However there are many campers who want to have a more luxurious camping trip and Earl Rowe will appeal to them.
Beach: There are two beaches on Earl Rowe Lake and there is also a swimming pool. The swimming pool resembles a giant splash pad and is great for children. There is a separate fee that you must pay to enter the swimming pool, even if camping at the park. The pool can get quite crowded in the summer and seems to be more popular then the beaches. In fact the lake was closed off for swimming last July when we were at Earl Rowe, due to high levels of pollution.
Biking: The Rainbow Run Trail (11 kilometres loop) is a multi-use trail that is suitable for biking.
Camping: There are 400 campsites that are split between two campgrounds (Riverside and West). Almost half (183) of the campsites have hydro available. There is also an extensive day use area with playgrounds, picnic tables and shelters as well.
Canoeing and Paddle Boats: Canoes and paddleboats can be rented by Earl Rowe Lake. The lake is quite small, so this is a great place to learn canoeing if you have never canoed before.
Hiking: There are five hiking trails in the park and the trails are excellent for beginners because the trails are generally flat and never take you far away from the campgrounds and day use areas of the park. The trails around Earl Rowe Lake are very “stroller friendly” if you have young children. The Lookout Trail (four kilometres) offers a panoramic view and you might even be able to see the CN Tower, 95 kilometres away on a clear sunny day. The Rainbow Run Trail traverses through most of the park, including: the lake, campgrounds, day use areas and other hiking trails.
Shopping: There is a park store and restaurant that is located near the beach. There is plenty of shopping available in Alliston, right outside the park.
In Conclusion: Earl Rowe is a well-provisioned park for those who want glamping, shopping, convenience and day tripping. The park can get very busy and noisy in the summer, especially by the beach and because it is close to Highway 89 and Alliston. This can be a deterrent for some campers. Earl Rowe has plenty of campsites and you can usually get a site at this park on short notice.
My Park Rating: 3.5 out of 5