Activities,  Places and Spaces

Rocking Rockwood and Power-Camping

You’ve heard of power-shopping. Let me introduce you to the concept of power-camping…. Two nights.  One full day. A trailer. A dog. Our kid and her friend.

That one day included: 

  • geocaching (twice!)
  • swimming
  • canoeing (twice!)
  • fishing
  • hiking, and…
  • a campfire (both nights, actually) complete with roasted hot dogs, polish sausage and smores.  

And that, my friends, is power camping.

Where the heck can you accomplish such a feat? We totally rocked it at Rockwood Conservation Area – an awesome spot 20 minutes outside of Guelph, Ontario that is part of the Grand River Conservation Authority.

Since Rockwood is practically in my backyard, I’ve been there more times than I can count. But I never get tired of the geography and views that make you feel like you’re at least 5 hours North of here.

And I know I’m not alone. Even Disney (Yes. THAT Disney.) Loves Rockwood.  They filmed one of Em’s faves, Camp Rock 2, here.  If this scene looks familiar…

It’s because you might have seen it before in a movie. Maybe in Camp Rock 2.  Or maybe in Cheaper By the Dozen with Steve Martin. Maybe in some other movie or commercial filmed there…. there have been a few!
Aside from giving you the chance to do a fan tour of sites where the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovatto actually filmed scenes, Rockwood offers up awesome opportunities for all ages to try their hand at favorite outdoor pursuits.
Fishing was a success for all of us. Although Alex spent more time taking fish off of the kid’s hooks than doing much of his own angling.  I stopped counting after the girls caught 5 fish each.
And then there is the geocaching. There are a lot of caches to be found in the conservation area, but we had targeted only about four of them to find. I can’t say that we had total success, but the hike and the hunt is always a good time.  In fact, on one of our geocaching hikes Em’s friend found an animal jawbone. That wasn’t part of the cache challenge, but it was seriously cool and sparked a lot of conversation and speculation about who it might have belonged to at one time. (Turns out, it was a coyote. Confirmed by a classmate’s mom, who also happens to be a veterinarian).
Geocaching success!

Where will you go for a geocache? Sadly, this one wasn’t a success.

Even if you aren’t into geocaching, the trails at Rockwood are lovely.  They are not terribly challenging, but the scenery and the area’s unique geographic features are very cool. Caves, cliffs and glacial potholes make hiking in this park very interesting.  

Did I mention the canoeing? Rockwood Conservation Area surrounds a section of the Eramosa River.  Here, the river is as calm as a bathtub, making it an easy paddle. But the rock cliffs, narrow passages and nooks and crannies along the river make it a neat place to explore by canoe.  We took our own, but you can rent canoes and paddle boats right at the launch docks for $12 hour.  An hour is plenty of time to explore this section of the river.

The campsites at Rockwood are o.k. In the serviced area, you get water and electric service on-site. We had a really good spot at the end of the serviced campground  section, with only one neighbour beside us and a site across the road.  It was well treed on 2 sides, and big enough that we didn’t feel like we were camping on top of our neighbour.  The comfort station offers coin-operated showers, and was kept clean and well stocked while we were there.  Be forewarned, though. You can hear the traffic from the two lane highway, and there is a train that passed by at regular intervals.  Be prepared that you’ll hear the faint sound of cars, and the not-so-faint sound of the train whistle. But we knew what to expect and it didn’t cause us any problems.  We spent so little time on our site, the ambient sounds of modern life really didn’t affect us.

Like most campgrounds close to urban life in Southern Ontario, wildlife isn’t a big problem. But be sure to store your food appropriately.  Raccoons are plentiful. And they are smart. They will try to get into your cooler if you leave it out.

As for the more domestic beasts found on campsites…..

All I can suggest is to find a tree farther away from the picnic table to tie the leash.

You Should Go! Here’s What You Need To Know…
Rockwood Conservation Area is busy.  I strongly recommend making reservations before you pack up your gear and head out the door.
Non-serviced tent sites and serviced tent and trailer sites are available.
You can phone to reserve a site or book it on line.  Find out how here: Grand River Conservation Area

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  • walkingon travels

    Ha ha ha! We have not ventured into the world of camping with kids. Maybe one day. But you sure do know how to pack a lot in. Love that the dog got to the food though. Classic! Thanks for linking up to Travel Tips Tuesday today!

  • Gayle Labuz

    Thanks, Steve! A cool thing about Rockwood is that it's this tiny little bit of awesomeness just about 40 minutes outside of Toronto. Really! You could do all the big city Toronto stuff, stay in a hotel AND do Rockwood as a day excursion. All in the same trip!
    Ok – so here's my confession. I totally LED the fan tour of Jonas sights. "Remember when Nick was hiding under the canoe??!"
    "Yes, mommy"
    "It was RIGHT HERE!!!"
    "How do you know, for sure"
    "A mother just knows these things…."

  • Gayle Labuz

    Thanks very much, Allison! I really enjoyed your guest blog at Walkingon Travels today. I have to admit, I've never thought of Utah as a destination point. But I'm starting to change my mind…

  • Steve

    While our family usually eschews all things camping, Rockwood looks beautiful, and the chance to be where the Jonas Brothers filmed their movie would probably be enough to coax my girls out of their usual hotel room. If not then I guarantee your super-cute puppy would do it. Looks like a fun weekend.

  • Jennifer Thompson

    I LOVE camping in Rockwood!
    I'm new to Geocaching,(Jen got me hooked on it)I better book us back up at Rockwood to scout some out!
    Thanks for following me, I've joined you as well!

  • Gayle Labuz

    Thank you, Elena. We have a lot of camping trips planned this summer, so it was great to get a little practice run in at Rockwood. The girls had the magic touch on their rods, that's for sure. We didn't eat any of these fish… they have to get a lot bigger before they can be kept. Catch-and-release was the theme of the weekend! I hope you'll follow along with my blog – there will be many more camping posts coming this summer!

  • Elena

    Sounds so fun! I love camping and haven't been this year yet! I can't wait to take my little one for the first time! Great pics! I can't believe how great the girls are at fishing! That's a lot of fish! Hope you were hungry ;o)

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