Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: June 2020

Since travel options are limited these days, we thought we might as well explore our home province of Ontario. We planned a nine day road trip around part of Lake Superior, which is an area of the province neither of us have visited. We were a bit concerned about the bug situation given that it was still early in the season, but the weather forecast for calling for no (or very little) rain for the week. Besides, it would only build character.

The first stop on our itinerary: Grundy Lake Provincial Park. Below is a map of our road trip with the list of provincial parks we plan on visiting:

Grundy Lake is located 3 hours from Toronto, conveniently right off the Trans Canada Highway. It offers a range of camping experiences from roofed accommodations to car camping at nine different campgrounds and backcountry camping at a handful of canoe-in sites.

We planned to leave Toronto at 4p.m after work on Friday, but it took us so much longer than we expected to pack and bring everything down to the car. It also didn’t help that there were some issues with the elevator in our apartment building and we had to take the stairs down and up a few times. By the time we actually left it was closer to 6p.m.

Traffic was terrible and we arrived at the park just after 10p.m. Within 10 minutes of arriving at the campground, it started to rain, which stirred up the mosquitoes. We had some issues setting up the tent as the cord in our tent pole was loosing some of the elasticity and we ended up having to cut a piece off and tying the ends together. We set up under a tree and for the most part, the inside of the tent managed to stay dry.

We got up just after 7a.m and ate a quick breakfast before heading out to go hiking. There are three small trails in the park, all marked with yellow blazes on trees or rocks, that weave through a diverse range of landscapes, including wetlands, rocky overcrops, and forests.

We started with the Swan Lake Trail (1.5km loop, rated moderate to difficult), the shortest of the three trails. The trail winds through a protected nature reserve and features lovely views of wetlands and rocky ridges. The bugs, which included a mix of mosquitoes, deer flies and horse flies, were out of control. Luckily it was still cool outside and I was able to use my hoodie to cover my ears.

From there it’s a short drive to the Beaver Dams Trail (3.6km round trip, rated moderate to difficult). The trail consists of two interconnecting loops and passes through a dense forest and wetlands. There were a few muddy patches and lots of bugs. We ended up skipping part of the loop as the path looked sketchy (wet and muddy through dense bush, hard pass), so we just walked back the way we came along the boardwalk.

We then hiked along the Gut Lake Trail (2.5km, rated moderate to difficult). The path weaves through a forest and crosses rocky outcrops along the shoreline of Gut Lake. The clouds started to darken and it looked like it was going to rain, but thankfully it never did.

Afterwards we returned to our campsite to eat some lunch and pack up our tent. We then headed to the beach area to check it out. We initially planned to go for a swim, but it felt a bit chilly (both the water and the air) as the sun was no longer out.

We left just before 1:30p.m to head to our next stop on our road trip: Killarney Provincial Park.


18 thoughts on “Grundy Lake Provincial Park

  1. kagould17 says:

    Why does summer in the forest have to be ruined by bugs. Its like they are just waiting there for fresh victims. Oh wait, they are. I got a horse fly nip here the other day. I had forgotten how unpleasant that can be. My perfect summer day is 23 C with about a 15 klick wind blowing. Glad you got out. Just being on the trail must feel so good. Cheers. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I often debate which are worse: mosquitoes, horse flies or deer flies. At least copious amounts of insect repellent can usually (but not always) keep the mosquitoes away, but it seems to have no impact on horse or deer flies. 23C with a nice steady breeze sounds like my ideal summer day as well. And agreed, just being outside (and away from work), even with the bugs, sure felt awesome.

  2. Lookoom says:

    I have not stop at Grundy Lake Provincial Park, but looking at the map and Rivière aux Français, I remember that there is a pavilion with an interesting presentation of canoe travel in the days when rivers were used as highways. The footbridge across the river also offers great views.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’ve heard the French River Provincial Park is stunning. Unfortunately we decided to skip it on our road trip around Georgian Bay and Lake Superior as all frontcountry campsites are first-come, first-served. I would love to go backcountry camping here one day and spend a few days paddling around the park.

  3. ourcrossings says:

    Wow, you guys live in such a beautiful part of the world and these two walks has to be one of my favourite you’ve done so far. I mean, just look at how beautiful the scenery is! Did you get to see any wildlife apart from the mosquitoes? Can’t wait to read more about your adventures around Ontario reagion. Thanks for sharing and inspiring 😀 Aiva

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s still hard for me to believe that some of the provincial parks we visited were in Ontario. And all it took was the pandemic to get us to explore more of what’s in our own backyard. We did encounter more wildlife the further we drove up Lake Superior, including a moose (which we saw on a hike) and two black bears (which we saw from the car)! Thanks for reading.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Agreed, the trail around Swan Lake was easily my favourite hike in Grundy Lake Provincial Park. For some reason, I happen to really like trails that weave around wetlands, marshes and bogs, even though they are a hot spot for bugs. I find these areas incredibly peaceful and scenic.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The whole area around Georgian Bay is incredibly beautiful. The landscape is so rugged and rocky. It certainly makes for very scenic hiking with images of rocky shores and rock formations.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We initially planned to stay at Killbear Provincial Park, but had to change our reservation as the park was doing maintenance in this area of the campground. Instead we switched to Grundy Lake as it still had availability and was along the way of our Northern Ontario road trip. I’m glad we did as I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely this area is. I bet this would be another place that would have good fall hiking.

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