Point Pelee National Park Activity Guides:
Point Pelee National Park
Point Pelee National Park Overview
Tiny yet exotic, this six-square-mile park occupies the southernmost point of mainland Canada. Just south of the 42nd parallel, it's at the same latitude as Northern California and harbors lush broad-leaved forests similar to those in the Carolinas. The marshes (one of the largest wetlands in southern Canada), savannas, and 12 miles of beachfront shelter some 700 plant species.
The small triangular oasis jutting into Lake Erie is a world-class birding destination with hundreds of avian species passing through each spring and fall. More than 380 types of birds have been seen here or, more likely, heard. The park is best known for its great diversity of colorful songbirds and is the warbler capital of North America.
The spring birding season peaks during the first two weeks of May, with the Festival of Birds presenting birding hikes, identification workshops, and guest speakers. Summer is busy with interpretive programs presented by the park and activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, and canoeing. In fall, the birds migrate through again on their way to southern feeding grounds. These fowl are less colorful, but there are more of them and fewer people. Fall also brings the awesome spectacle of the monarch butterfly migration. With the right combination of wind and weather, monarchs congregate en masse, waiting for ideal conditions to carry them across Lake Erie on their journey to Mexico. The park is open in winter with ice-skating on the marsh, cross-country skiing, and special programs for schoolkids during spring break in March.
The short (0.6-mile) Marsh Boardwalk is the most popular of the eight trails in the park. A raised walkway leads into a sea of cattails where frogs, turtles, muskrats, and herons are often seen. You can rent a bike for the 2.5-mile Centennial Hike and Bike trail. There are canoe rentals, along with Freighter Canoe Tours. In addition, the park has a series of excellent picnic areas, all with washrooms and covered shelters and most with beach access. This day-use park has no lodging or camping, but there are accommodations (hotels and campsites) in the nearby community of Leamington. Camping is also available in Amherstburg, and Wheatley.
- Top Ten Spots for Spring Birding
- Central: The Warbler Capital of North America: Point Pelee, Ontario