Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2020
Winnie, the black bear that inspired the iconic children’s stories Winnie-the-Pooh, was born in White River, Ontario. Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian and soldier with the Royal Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, purchased the orphan black bear cub from a trapper for $20. He named her Winnie after his hometown of Winnipeg. When Colebourn learned he would be shipped to France, he decided to settle Winnie into the London Zoo. It was here that A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin encountered Winnie. Christopher Robin ended up naming his teddy bear after Winnie, which became the inspiration for Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.
In addition to White River being the hometown of Winnie-the-Pooh, it is also close by White Lake Provincial Park, which offers a range of recreational activities such as hiking, swimming, canoeing, boating and fishing. White Lake also offers car camping in three small campgrounds which collectively contain 187 sites.
We stayed at Pancake Bay Provincial Park the previous night and on our way to White Lake Provincial Park, made a brief detour at White River to stop by the Winnie-the-Pooh Memorial, which is located just off the Trans Canada Highway. There’s a large Winnie-the-Pooh statue along with some signs that explain the history of Winnie the black bear.
From the Winnie-the-Pooh Memorial, it’s about a 30 minute drive to White Lake Provincial Park. We arrived at the park at around 3:30p.m.
There are three hiking trails in White Lake that weave through the forest, along marshes and by lakes. We first hiked along Deer Lake Trail (2.5km, rated easy), which winds through the boreal forest along the shores of Deer Lake and a beaver marsh. Near the trailhead there’s a scenic lookout and viewing platform overlooking Deer Lake.
The trail consists of two loops, a small loop (1.5km) that leads to a viewing platform overlooking Beaver Marsh, and a longer loop (2.5km) that encompasses the small loop and leads all the way around Beaver Marsh too. We opted for the longer loop.
We’re not sure about the easy rating as this trail consisted of a lot of rolling hills. The path was well maintained and marked with numbered signs from 1 to 15.
There were lots of viewpoints of Beaver Marsh and Deer Lake and a few benches along the way to soak in the views.
We then hiked along the Tiny Bog Trail (4.5km, rated moderate), which loops around two large beaver ponds, climbs a sandy hillside of Jack Pines and lowers through spruce lowlands. Poor drainage and low nutrient levels make this area unappealing to most plants. The trail isn’t marked, consists of rolling hills and there are a few benches along the way to take a break or enjoy the views.
At the mid-way point, there’s a junction that leads to a scenic lookout. It’s a short detour to a boardwalk that crosses a bog and leads to a viewing platform.
We saved the shortest and easiest hike for last: Clearwater Lake Trail (2km, rated easy). Unlike the other two trails, there was no map of the trail at the trailhead. But, the trail was clearly marked by blue markers with a white hiker symbol. The trail leads through a pine forest to Clearwater Lake. The hike was relatively short and sweet.
After we wrapped up our hike, we went to check out the beach area. There are actually two beaches for swimming, the main beach located in the day-use area and the other beach located in Sundew Campground. We went to the main beach, which featured a sandy shore and clear water. The swimming area is marked with buoys and apparently has a gradual drop-off.
We left the park just before 7p.m and from here it’s about an hour drive to get to our next destination at Neys Provincial Park.