Gordon Rock Shelter

A 2.6 km classroom of ancient geology and archeology…


The Gordon Rock Shelter is located in Charleston Lake Provincial Park along the Sandstone Island Trail.  The shelter was formed through time by the elements.  It is composed of sediment laid down by Paleozoic seas over the bedrock of Precambrian rock.   When the seas retreated, the sediment hardened into sandstone and conglomerate.  Over time, the softer conglomerate was worn away by erosion faster than the caprock leaving the sandstone overhang and Precambrian bedrock.

Excavations at the site uncovered artifacts hinting to the overhang being utilized as a shelter. Interpretive material describes the geological and archaeological history of the area and the shelter’s significance

You will easily see why the site may have been utilized as a natural shelter when you witness the cooling shade and protection from the elements it provides. Take a rest here along the trail and imagine how it would have felt to come across such an inviting respite if you had been a traveler many years ago.

Amazing Places, Amazing People

Amazing Places deserve to be explored by Amazing People. We want to see and read all about your visit to the Gordon Rock Shelter.  We’ll post your photos and stories here!  Connect with us

Now you can keep a record of the Amazing Places you have visited.  Download our handy Amazing Places Frontenac Arch Biosphere Checklist


Plan Your Visit

Explore the amazing place with help from local businesses.

Take the guess work out of planning your cycling, hiking or paddling adventure to this Amazing Place with these downloadable trail descriptions from the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network

Hiking: Charleston Lake PP (Blue Mountain Trail & Sandstone Isl.)

Cycling: Charleston Lake Loop

Paddle: Charleston Lake to Lyndhurst  Stop at Boathouse Cove and walk the path to the left to reach the trailhead.

While you’re there, check out the rest of the extensive trail network winding through FAB!

How to get to Gordon Rock Shelter

When you enter Charleston Lake Provincial Park, pay the parking fee and proceed to the parking lot by the boat launch.  Here you can access the trailhead of the Sandstone Island Trail.

Click Here for a trail map of Charleston Lake Provincial Park

How to explore Gordon Rock Shelter

Hiking:  The Sandstone Island Trail is a 2.6 km moderate difficulty trail and the rock shelter is only one of the trails hot spots. Be sure to pick up the interpretative guide or download it here before you  go so you can learn all Sandstone Island has to teach about the historical significance of the Charleston Lake Area.


Partner Sites

Charleston Lake Provincial Park

Friends of Charleston Lake Provincial Park