Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: August 2020
Killbear Provincial Park is located along the rugged shore of Georgian Lake. It offers car camping at seven campgrounds where each campground has its own beach area (except for Georgian Campground). Besides swimming, other activities in the park include hiking, biking, canoeing and fishing.
We spent the previous night at Mississagi Provincial Park up near Elliot Lake. On the drive to Killbear, we made a detour at the French River Provincial Park since it was along the way, and we wanted to avoid the rainfall warning at Killbear in the afternoon. By the time we arrived at the park at 6:30p.m, it had finished raining, but everything was wet outside.
We collected our permit and drove to our site (#771). It was terrible. The previous guests had left all their trash behind. And there wasn’t even a real fire pit. Instead there was some sketchy makeshift fire pit (or fire pits). Also, the two sites across from us were occupied by a group of partiers. I’m getting too old for this.
We contemplated just driving home as Killbear is about a 3 hour drive from Toronto. But we took Monday off and that would seem like a complete waste of a vacation day. We returned to the park office to see if we could switch sites. No problem. The person ended up giving us an awesome site (#442) in a radio-free zone. Sure it was small, but we have a small tent, so we didn’t mind. It was quiet and backed onto a rocky overcrop. Oh, and it wasn’t flooded like some of the other sites that we passed along the way.
We got a fire going and made some dinner. We waited a bit for everything to somewhat dry off before setting up our tent. It got a bit chilly in the evening (13°C) and we went to bed pretty early at 9:30p.m.
Everything was still pretty wet when we woke up. So we decided to start our day off by getting some hiking in. We first hiked along the Lighthouse Point Trail (500m, rated moderate). The trailhead is located just past the Lighthouse Campground. The trail follows the shore before leading to the tip of Killbear Point. There’s a lighthouse here, great views of Georgian Bay and interesting rock formations.
We then hiked along the Lookout Point Trail (3.5km, rated moderate). The trailhead is located beside the entrance to the Blind Bay Campground. The trail weaves through the forest, mostly along a boardwalk, until the trail reaches a junction, which forms a loop. We hiked counter-clockwise around the loop.
The path continues through the forest and crosses over rocky outcrops. There were a few muddy sections, but that’s to be expected considering all the rain from yesterday. The trail then leads to pink granite rocks that provide a nice view of Georgian Bay. There’s even a picnic table here to take a break and enjoy the views. The trail weaves back through the forest and to the junction. From there it’s a relatively easy walk, mostly along a boardwalk, back to the parking lot.
We then returned to our site to make some breakfast and organize the car. Just as we’re finishing up, it starts to lightly rain. We threw everything into the car and waited it out. Luckily the rain shower was short-lived. We then drove to the Day-Use area to hike along the final trail in the park, the Twin Points Trail (1.8km, rated easy to moderate).
By the time we started hiking the weather was clearing up. The trail follows the shoreline through the forest and bedrock ridges, providing sweeping views of Georgian Bay and its rugged landscape. There’s a few benches along the smooth pink rocks that face the water.
Near the end of the trail we came across a deer. Few deer occurred in the Parry Sound area until logging cleared expanses of land, which promised the growth of young trees. Many years later when the forest had grown beyond the reach of the deer, the first deer range management program in Ontario was started here in Killbear. This involved cutting openings in the forest canopy to allow sunlight to encourage new growth, which provides an important food source for deer during the winter. This area is no longer actively involved in deer range management, but deer can be commonly viewed in the park.
After finishing up our hike, we returned to our site and walked to the Sunset Rocks to see the famous windswept pine, which is reputed to be the most photographed tree in Ontario.
From Sunset Rocks, we walked back to our site and took down our wet tent. We left the park shortly after 12p.m. From there it’s about a 3 hour drive back to Toronto. This marks the end of our second Northern Ontario road trip this summer.