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.
30 thoughts on “Killbear Provincial Park”
Too bad about the rain, but it looks like you made the best of As to noisy, messy, thoughtless camping neighbours, I am never quite sure why these groups go camping….to get away from the rules of home, away from Mom? Most who go camping do not wish to listen to loud people or music, they want to hear nature. Glad you were given a better site, rather than just putting up with the nuisance. Thanks for sharing. Allan
One of the reasons I like to camp is to get some peace and quiet and just enjoy being surrounded by nature. Camping next to noisy neighbours kind of defeats that purpose. The people across from us looked like a group of teenagers who had just finished high school. This is why I usually always try to book a site in the radio-free zone!! Glad it all worked out in the end and we were able to move to a much better (and quieter) site.
You guys had some awesome road trips this summer! I’ve enjoyed following along and learning about all these provincial parks. Definitely an area I need to visit someday.
We certainly made the most of our summer this year. It’s been neat exploring more of the provincial and national parks in our home province. I’ve got a few road trips planned for next year, but I’m looking forward to when travel options open up again just to shake things up. You better believe Colorado is on my list!
Can’t wait for you to see this beautiful state!
Me too!! I’m sure the elevation adds an additional challenge when hiking in Colorado, but those views of the mountains never get old.
It does, but if you just take it slow you’ll be fine. And there are some high elevation roads too so you can drive to the amazing views!
Glad you managed to get a better site. I hate people who disturb the peace and disrespect nature! You’re really lucky with the amount of wildlife you have seen on your trips! I get why that tree gets photographed a lot. It’s interesting to run into trees like that
I’m so happy that we were able to switch sites. I’ve slept by noisy neighbours before and it’s never fun. And yes, we’ve had some awesome wildlife encounters on our Northern Ontario roadtrips: black bears, moose, and deer. Ontario has been full of surprises this year and glad we were able to explore more of what’s in our own backyard for a change. Thanks for reading.
There are so many amazing parks in Ontario. We are so lucky! Thanks for another beauty 🙂
Agreed! It’s funny because we’ve visited more provincial parks this year than in all the other years we’ve lived in Ontario combined. I had no idea how much Ontario had to offer in terms of camping, hiking, beaches, wildlife encounters, and more. 2020 has been an interesting year and we’re so grateful that Ontario has so many provincial parks and conservation areas to enjoy.
Same here! Here’s to a less interesting 2021 🙂
What a beautiful park!
It was a nice way to end our Northern Ontario road trip. I easily can see why this park is so popular and that the campsites are usually booked in advance. Thanks for reading.
Lighthouse Point Trail can look tempting with the promise of a lighthouse, and then it turns into a metal pipe. Luckily thanks to your post I won’t be deceived.
Haha, yah. The lighthouse itself was a bit of a letdown, but at least it’s located along the rugged shore of Georgian Bay, which is always beautiful.
Good that you got a better site and were away from the party crowd. I agree. I’m getting much too old for that crap, too.
Your photos are delightful – I love the deer. 🙂
I was so happy that we were able to switch sites. I know the campground was fully booked for the night, but I guess some people didn’t show or left early because of the rainfall warning. I usually try to book a site in the radio-free zone if there is one as I have zero interest in being kept up at night by noisy neighbours. Hard pass.
I’m so glad you are finally getting to Killbear, my favourite park of all time! 🙂 We visited it twice. So beautiful there.
We usually stick to the park so it’s good to learn about the trails. I didn’t even know. Will need to check it out!
Thank you for this post. I can’t wait to go back!
This was my first time visiting Killbear and I can easily see why the campsites get booked months in advance. We’re hoping to return next summer and spend more time at the beach and maybe go jumping off those rocks. The trails are all relatively short and are worth checking out. Something to look forward to for next year. Take care.
Killbear is such a beautiful park. Instead of the Sandy beach, I recommend finding a quiet spot by the rocks and with a towel. So nice. Lots to area spread around. And the rock jumping is so fun! Just be careful. The second time we went this summer the winds were strong and the waves were really strong. I had a very hard time swimming back with T and honestly thought I was gonna drown. lol. Can’t wait to head back again though!
Thanks for the recommendations (and warning about the strong currents on a windy day!). I’m so looking forward to next summer. Have a wonderful weekend. Take care.
Lovely place to visit. But Black bears 🐻 would scare me. Ha!
That would have been fitting to see a black bear at Killbear. While we didn’t see a bear, we did see a coyote and deer. The park has a pretty big campground and the sites are usually fully booked months in advance. I’d be surprised to see a bear given how many people are around.
Apologies if I missed it but… what’s the origin of the name Killbear please?
I did some research on this and Killbear Provincial Park is situated on a peninsula called Killbear Point. It’s a bit unclear why it’s named Killbear. One theory is that it’s based on some story of where a logger killed a bear (or a bear killed the logger). The more likely story is that the First Nations called this point Bear Point because bears regularly swim back and forth from the tip of the point to the nearby Parry Island. It’s a bit of a mystery, but most people think it was just a mis-translation.
🙏The Jumping Rocks in Campground 3 are spectacular 🙏
We missed out on the Jumping Rocks when we visited Killbear last summer. We’re planning on returning in September so we’ll have another chance to check them out!
So pretty!! That deer looks HUGE!! Wow!
That deer definitely looked well-fed! The whole area around Georgian Bay is incredibly scenic. We had such a wonderful time at Killbear last summer that we’re heading back in the fall for a few days, hopefully when the leaves are changing colour.