The 10 Best Summer Activities to do in Papineau-Cameron
The Upper Ottawa Valley and Laurentian Mountains rise alongside the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers where the bilingual community of Papineau-Cameron offers visitors looking for new outdoor adventures in Ontario’s northland a heartfelt and warm year-round welcome!
If this is the first time you’re hearing of this small Northeastern Ontario community, that is ok! For outdoors enthusiasts, families or couples looking for a new destination to explore, Papineau-Cameron should be on your itinerary to consider for your next road trip!
1. Ride One of Ontario’s Best Maintained Trail Systems
Papineau-Cameron and the surrounding region is heaven to outdoor enthusiasts who live to ride multi-use trail systems. From historic rivers of the fur trade era to the groomed routes of the Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System (VMUTS) and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs trails, this community’s access to lush forests and scenic landscapes fits the needs of all modern-day explorers.
Bring your ATV, dirtbike or mountain bike – all are welcome on the VMUTS where you will discover over 300 kms of maintained trails winding through old logging roads and streambeds. The sweeping views of the Laurentian Mountain range are breathtaking!
2. Live the River Life on the Upper Valley Waterways
Launching from the Mattawa Adventure Camp, explorers have access to over 100 kms of charted, navigable waterways winding its way through the pine-covered hills of the Upper Ottawa Valley. Explore rocky shorelines, sandy beaches and secluded bays, which appear today as they did 400 years ago when the first European explorers travelled into the area. This untouched section of river is teeming with walleye, pike and bass fishing. Don’t be surprised if hours pass without seeing another boat!
If you’re more of an ATV explorer, signage from your cottage at Mattawa Adventure Camp will lead you right to the VMUTS and to snowmobile trails in the winter. Groups gather here to take advantage of this ideal base camp for outdoor expeditions and memorable getaways.
3. Get Away From it all on Lake Chant Plein
If a pampered retreat is more your pace, you’ll love the Mattawa River Resort, with fine dining at the Cardinal Lodge and spectacular views of the water and mountains. Visitors can enjoy canoeing or kayaking on the same Great Canadian Shield rivers that The Voyageurs travelled.
The Mattawa River Resort also has a reputation for hosting unforgettable four-season business retreats and offers a stunning venue for memorable weddings. The resort offers the only accessible boat launch on Lake Chant Plein with a perfect backdrop for photos. Fish the pristine lake or ride the nearby trails, simply relax during the summer months, or snowmobile and snowshoe during the winter. Campfire memories are made here all year round!
4. Rest After a Day on the Trails
Visitors come from all over to experience the area’s extensive trail network, and these two properties are ideally situated to take advantage of that network in summer or winter.
Stay at the newly renovated Welcome Inn on the shores of Earl’s Lake, wet a fishing line, and enjoy homemade fresh fries and burgers from their famous chip bus. On a gorgeous property by the water, with sprawling green grass and fresh cut lawn in the summer months, there is plenty of room for children to let loose and unwind.
For a pet-friendly alternative, check out the Two Rivers Motel, located in the middle of town with great proximity to restaurants, the trail systems, and things to do on your trip.
ATVers and snowmobilers welcome!
5. Escape to Lazy Rock RV & Campground
Lazy Rock RV and Campground offers quiet, peaceful rest, relaxation and a chance to recharge at a lakeside escape from the busy life and connect with nature. Enjoy fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating and swimming on secluded Taggart Lake.
After a long day, hang out by the fire and stare up at the stars so bright they light up the sky. The RV and tent park offers seasonal and overnight sites, both serviced and unserviced.
Note: If you’re a night sky enthusiast, check out our Night Sky blogs and find resources to improving your night sky photography game!
6. Discover a Crater in Algonquin Park
A day trip to the Brent Crater is just a short drive East along Highway 17; take the Brent Crater Road leading south into Algonquin Park.
Truly a natural marvel from the lookout tower is located just off the road, providing panoramic views of the 3 kilometre wide crater. A self-guided interpretive trail of approximately two kilometres descends from the road to the base of the crater and back. A trail guide is available at the park office and provides all the information you need about the crater site.
The area is filled with activities so book into a local hotel or campground (we’ve included a list below) and enjoy hiking and paddling through nearby Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, or take part in nearby Canadian Ecology Centre’s many outdoor activities.
7. Ride Through Rolling Hills
Check out horseback riding as an active option for beautiful riding experiences in the picturesque forests and fields of Papineau-Cameron! You have two major choices of stables:
- Freedom Acres established in 1996 is a family owned business offering rolling meadows and peaceful forests spread over 46 acres. It is also home of the region’s only equestrian club and hosts a number of English riding shows annually.
- Ladybug Stables is a small well-established riding stable teaching horsemanship from the ground up to riders of all ages. Both offer trail rides.
8. Get Your Game On
Play a round of golf surrounded by Upper Ottawa Valley’s rolling hills and nearby Algonquin Park’s stunning forests at Mattawa Golf and Ski Resort. This is an ATV-friendly resort, and during the winter months you can ride the best network of snowmobile trails in Northern Ontario or snowshoe right on site.
A local fishing hole is about 5 kilometres away at the former village of Klocks where Aumond Creek flows into the Ottawa River. Head south on Highway 17 for 3 km then take the Klocks Road left toward the Ottawa River for 2.8 km. Fish from the shoreline at the mouth of the creek for pickerel or pike!
9. Experience the Art of Slow Travel
Visit the region via the Voyageur Cycling Route: Ontario’s next major cycling tourism experience spanning over 630-km from Sudbury to the National Capital Region. You’ll follow the historic 400+ year-old path taken by the Voyageurs. Traversing three heritage waterways and 200-km of the Trans Canada Trail, the Route celebrates a national significance experienced at a human-powered pace.
Possibly the best part? The Voyageur Cycling Route is set to become part of a provincial cycling network with direct connections to the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, the Georgian Bay Cycling Route, and the National Capital Region allowing adventurous cyclists to string together multiple trail systems!
10. Get Connected with the Area at the Mattawa Museum
If you’re the type of traveller who searches to learn more about the area that you’re exploring, a visit to the Mattawa Museum is a must! Hosting a variety of special exhibits, artifacts, and even a prized original jacket from Anahareo herself.
Situated on a historic site in its own right, the Mattawa Museum is nestled onto the aptly named Explorer’s Point at the meeting point of the Mattawa and Ottawa Rivers. Here, Voyageurs, missionaries and other explorers regularly stopped to camp and repair their canoes.
Read more about the Mattawa Museum in our special feature here!
Enjoy the hospitality of a Papineau-Cameron business today!
- Freedom Acres – (705) 744-2597
- Lazy Rock – (705) 200-0055
- Mattawa Adventure Camp – (705) 744-5127
- Mattawa Golf and Ski Resort – (705) 762-2339
- Mattawa River Resort and The Cardinal Lodge – (705) 744-5020
- Two Rivers Motel – (705) 744-2403
- Welcome Inn – (705) 744-3639
- Lady Bug Stables – (705) 499-2952
Located on the TransCanada Hwy 17 (290 km from Ottawa, 100 km to Temiskaming Que, 90 km from North Bay, and 215 km from Sudbury) Papineau-Cameron’s clean community, fresh air, friendly people and accommodating businesses await your arrival.