The Ottawa Valley is a geographical region spanning throughout Renfrew County. It encompasses the Ottawa river, skirts along the Outaouais through the Pontiac Region in Western Quebec and holds vast landscapes, rolling hills and even a large portion of Algonquin Park! This region of Ontario is truly an adventure lover’s paradise.
Crooked Slide Park is located just outside of Barry's Bay, Ontario this old logging chute is a must see!
Did you know that the logging industry in Ontario was started within the Ottawa Valley? Development in the Ottawa Valley was kickstarted by British Parliament in 1807 with a rising demand for lumber. The Ottawa Valley boasted towering Eastern Pines the size of today's pine located within Cathedral Forest in British Columbia. Timber logging, harvest and trade happened within the Ottawa Valley for over 100 years and still occurs today. Today, modern technology ceased the need for log chutes and rafts but Crooked Slide Park serves as an important reminder of the thousands of loggers who faced many white-water obstacles and obstructions and constructed log chutes just like this one.
How to get to Crooked Slide Park?
From Barry's Bay the drive will take you 14 minutes, head south down Highway 62 towards Bancroft, turn left onto Old Barry's Bay Rd. Proceed 2 kilometres down the road to the parking lot on the left hand side of the road.
As soon as you pull into the parking lot you're greeted with this 10 foot "waterfall" constructed as a means to move logs around the Byers Creek rapids. There is a viewing platform where you can see the full chute in action - in the early 1900's logs were floated 220 feet down the chute before falling 10 feet back into the creek to be carried further down Byers creek before being dumped into the Madawaska River.
Information on this chute is scarce so when we set off for the day we believed we were in for a hike. There is a very small trail onsite taking you to the top of the waterfall. Swimming is permitted in the lake below the falls. The parking lot makes this important part of our history accessible for so many people!
What do in Barry's Bay?
Since you are already in Barry's Bay to see Crooked Slide Falls you should head downtown, grab a coffee from Madawaska Coffee and shop at dozens of unique shops.
You could also hike a nearby trail Gun Mountain, Bear Mountain or the Logging Museum within Algonquin Provincial Park.
Looking to expand your adventure? The nearby town of Eganville has plenty of adventures from Cave exploration, waterfalls, cozy small town charm and more! You can find a complete guide to Eganville here: https://www.withloveduquettes.com/post/mini-road-trip-series-eganville-ontario
Where to stay in Barry's Bay?
The Ottawa Valley is a nature lovers paradise, you won't find many hotel chains but instead the Valley is full of unique cabins, lodges, campgrounds and a few historic hotels.
Located directly within Barry's Bay is the Balmoral Hotel - this hotel is an important piece of the Ottawa Valley's history. Built in 1894 it's hard to imagine the Ottawa Valley today as it was in its glory days! This hotel was a railway station, hotel, restaurant, the social hub for the entire town it even held the post office for a number of years. Rail history was huge in the Ottawa Valley right until 1961. If you are looking for a historic place to stay in Barry's Bay the Balmoral Hotel is for you. Rates average at $125/night, you can find more and book here:
If you really want the Ottawa Valley experience I recommend camping. Waking up amongst the tall Eastern Pines, taking a swim in one of the many sparkling pristine lakes and being completely surrounded with nature makes the Ottawa Valley so special. There are plenty of campgrounds to choose from ranging crown land to from privately owned and Ontario parks.
Some of our family favourites are:
Bonechere Provincial Park
Algonquin Provincial Park
Knotty Pines in Round Lake
Red Pine Campground in Killaloe
Barry's Bay is full of world class resorts, if you are looking to be pampered Spectacle Lake Lodge is a popular destination for couples. https://www.spectaclelakelodge.com/staywithus
Egan Inn located within Eganville has 4 unique rooms located directly above Fifth Chute Coffee with views of the Bonnechere River https://www.fifthchute.com/inn
Deacon Escarpment - these secluded cabins in the forest make a phenomenal base camp to explore the region! 4 cabin's, 3 of them are hike in or shuttle in only to offer you the most seclusion and connection to nature https://deaconescarpment.ca/ not to mention the owners are the kindest humans you'll likely ever meet!
Sands on Golden Lake - this five star resort features luxury vacation suites, three bedroom chalets, cabins and cottages located right on the beach.. what more could you want? https://www.sandsongoldenlake.com/
Planning a trip to Crooked Slide Park Tips and Tricks:
Now that you know what to expect at Crooked Slide park, some fun activities to do nearby as well as plenty of accommodation options I hope you consider a trip to the Ottawa Valley!
From Toronto the drive will take you 3 hours and 30 minutes. From Ottawa by car it will take 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Things to note:
The Ottawa Valley is very rural, you can drive for an hour without running into another town at times. It is important to have a full tank of gas, keep a first aid kit in your vehicle, drive slowly as it is super common to see Moose and Deer in the Valley. Have a fully charged phone and share your route with someone staying back home. If you were to get into an accident it is likely you won't have great cell phone reception, stay with your vehicle and wait for another car to come along if you can.
I hope you're feeling inspired to get out and explore an underrated trail and important piece of Ontario's History!