PITTOCK CONSERVATION AREA – APRIL 2015
We ended our winter camping season and begun our regular travel season with a weekend at this park. It wasn’t our first visit, we’d camped here in 2013, so we knew what to expect. One of the benefits of this park is its close proximity to home. In under two hours we can be at Pittock. Within two hours of leaving home, we were here, parked, set up and camping! I decided to book the same campsite as the last time, #225. Here are a couple photos:
Pittock Conservation Area is run by the Upper Thames River Conservation Area. It’s one of the few parks that are open this early in the season. There are two other campgrounds run by UTRC – Wildwood and Fanshawe. Their online reservation site is easy to use, but unfortunately, there are no photos of the campsites. There are four campgrounds within Pittock. Areas 1 & 2 are seasonal. Area 3 is overnight with quite a few sites located right on the lake. Most have 30amp and water hookups. Area 4, where we stayed has overnight sites backing onto the lake and seasonal sites in the centre area. It seems like a quiet park, but we’ve never camped here in the peak season, when it would be much busier. One interesting thing to note – there are no 15amp outlets on the power post where the 30amp hookup is located.
So, what is there to do at Pittock? Well, there’s the large reservoir which you can paddle, boat or fish on. We chose to fish from shore and not bring our canoe or kayaks this time. It was still a little early in the season and we knew there would be a stiff North wind on Saturday. Since our site backed onto the lake, we just brought chairs, sat in the sun and fished from shore. Here are some photos!
Besides fishing, we spent the weekend reading in the sun, walking around the park and having campfires. It was a very relaxing, enjoyable weekend for us. We’ve been working hard around the house landscaping the yard and painting inside, so it was nice to slow down! Both Friday night and Saturday night we enjoyed campfires because after all, there is nothing that says camping quite like a campfire!
So what else is there to do at Pittock? There are hiking trails at the park and a disc golf course as well as a swimming pool if you’re here in the summer. Normally we would have been a little more ambitious and hiked, but this time away we just felt like relaxing. So, I can’t really review any trails or the disc golf course.
Here are some photos taken from our walks around the park:
As always, we enjoyed our stay at Pittock. It’s a clean, quiet campground located an easy, short drive from home. Perfect for a weekend trip for us! As mentioned in an earlier post about Pittock, there is a mainline train track located just outside the park. There seemed to be a lot less rail traffic this weekend than when we were last here. No whistles are blown, just the noise of a freight train passing occasionally. The campsites are located close together in Area 4, but at the this time of year with low occupancy, privacy isn’t a concern. In the busy summer months, I don’t think it would be my first choice for a park to stay at due to the low privacy. If you’re looking at sites in Area 3, it is well treed and the sites are smaller. I think we would have had an issue finding a site on the water that would work for our 32 foot trailer in Area3. There is a dumping station with water hookups, including one with a threaded tap. Nice when you want to run a hose to your water flush out connection on the trailer! Here are some links to the park:
PITTOCK CONSERVATION AREA – APRIL 2013
Our first trip out in 2013 was to Pittock Conservation Area in Woodstock. This park is run by the Upper Thames Valley Conservation Authority. We had the park pretty much to ourselves other than seasonals coming back to open their sites. We ended up at a different site than the one we originally booked. Our site #225 backed onto a stand of pines with the lake behind. It was a fair size, however it would be tight for our equipment if the sites on either side were occupied. It also would not be very private at all. For our weekend out, we had no complaints. The site had water and 30amp, but no 15amp service. Here are some more photos of the site and the campground:
Pittock Lake was just beautiful! We spent a few hours fishing from the shore behind our site. I lost track of the score but Dave caught the biggest fish – a carp, and both of us caught quite a few catfish and a perch. At the end of the day, we enjoyed a beautiful campfire while the twilight settled over the lake. Here are some photos of beautiful Pittock Lake.
Saturday morning we went into Woodstock to see how close we could get to the Pittock Dam. There appeared to be no access from the park. The dam was created in 1967 on the south branch of the Thames River mainly for flood control. We found a park with a trail that led along the Thames River to the dam. The river looked navigable for canoes or kayaks in this area. Here are some photos of the river and the dam:
After our trip into Woodstock, we headed back to the park. We spent our time bike riding and playing Bocce Ball. Here are some photos:
We finished off Saturday with a nice barbeque and an evening around the campfire. The music from the seasonal sites got a little loud, but at least things quieted down at a reasonable hour. The view from the campfire pit was awesome! We were facing the lake. What a great view!
We chose Pittock as the park we wanted to try first in 2013, because it was one of the first open and close to home. Not much else was open the last weekend of April. As well, this trip out was planned to test the new trailer and get our minor towing issues worked out. The park itself was nice, very quiet mostly due to the time of the year we visited and the site quality was good. The bathroom that I did use was older but very clean. The dumping station, well, we ran into issues here because of the time of year. The water was not turned on, so I had to bring water from an empty seasonal site across from the dumping station to help flush out the black water tank. As different online reviews stated, there are train tracks that run beside the park. There are four campground areas within this park and all would be equally close to the train tracks.
So, to summarize my review, let’s start with the good points, some of which had to do with it being the first weekend the park was open. First, the site was really nice. It was a bonus that it was on the water, which a lot of the overnight sites are. It was level, grassy and close to the hydro and water hookup. Privacy would be near zero in the summertime. The only reason we had privacy was because we were the only overnighters for a fair distance. The park was very clean, but it’s hard to rate that the first weekend of the year. The staff were very friendly and there were regular patrols starting on the Saturday. The two boat launches looked nice and the reservoir looked pretty nice too.
Now the bad points. First – the train tracks. If background noise is a problem for you, then don’t go to Pittock. The trains are regular. I’m sure it’s a main line. They do not blow their whistles anywhere near the park, it’s just the noise of a freight train passing nearby. We honestly didn’t notice it too much, but our windows were closed at night. The only other negative comment I can make is again, lack of privacy at the sites when it’s prime camping season. This campground is in Woodstock, not up North, so be prepared to look across Pittock Lake and see some development.
We have talked about camping here again maybe next year during the Spring shoulder season. Both of us would really like to kayak Pittock Lake and fish from our kayaks. For a close to home park (under two hours), Pittock was very nice.
Here is a link to the parks website and one to the Upper Thames Valley Conservation Area:
And to my Picasa album for Pittock C.A